Our latest crisis has produced a different kind of web, and for many of us, a different attitude towards our online lives.
I’ve seen a lot of people thinking differently about the web, and the Internet, lately. We are challenging our assumptions, testing the limits of our technology, and finding new online spaces to relate through and with. In some ways, the feeling on the web today harkens back to the enthusiasm and optimism of the turn of the century. In other ways, it is making us value our time, trimming superficial and shallow connection from our lives in favor of something calmer, deeper. Desirée García calls this Intentional Internet. Her post comments on a similar idea from Jorge Arango, who considers how our attitudes about how we communicate are changing, asynchronously and synchronously, online and offline. His own thoughts stemmed from an article by How to Be Together Apart In the Time of Coronavirus. If you have some time, it’s a wonderful thread of posts to follow.
That Rugged, Durable Internet
Speaking of the Internet, it’s been doing just fine, handling an unprecendented load with very few hiccups. One of the Internet’s founding fathers, Vinton Cerf, recently tested positive for Covid-19. By all accounts, he’s doing fine, but it’s a good time to reflect on what a massive achievement the Internet is. In the 1970’s, Cerf and his colleagues at various research institutions and universities were distrustful of centralized authority. The Cold War raged all around, and monopolistic corporations consolidated power, a prime example being Bell company in the telecommunications industry. So they created a network that was tough, decentralized and adaptable. When they showed their idea for the Internet to Bell, they were ignored. They’re not ignored anymore.
Meanwhile COBOL, a programming language which predates the web, is having itself a resurgence.
The Internet Connects
The web can be a place of colloboration , and at its best, it gives us all a way to deepen our relationships and find new perspectives. But that dissemination of culture has had other effects for the last few decades. Writing in Paper Magazine, Rob Dozier shows us what happens when When White Kids Grow Up on the Black Internet. Using a new generation of Internet native, YouTuber pop stars as a foundation, Dozier explores the way in which black culture defines the landscape and trends of the Internet, only to be redistributed, appropriated, and repackaged by white artists for monetary gain. A couple of months back, that exact thing happened to Jalaiah Harmon, the 14 year old creator of the viral Renegade dance, who was nearly erased from the spread, and excluded from the potential windfall, of the dance that she had created.
What’s A Folksonomy?
I’m doing a bit of research about folksonomies recently. It’s not a concept I knew much about until recently. If you’re looking for a primer, I haven’t found a better one than this from Elyse Graham.
End of an Era
Some sad news, a piece of our history will be gone soon. net magazine, which has been in circulation since 1994, is closing down.