I wrote this piece a couple years ago and it was posted on my previous blog on Windows Live Spaces. I’ve been indulging myself reviewing some of my older articles, and this one I thought was worth reposting.
I have been quietly, and at times not quietly, in awe of the Internet for some time. I am a fan. An enthusiast. I may be and evangelist. Why? Well…
1 I can become an instant expert on any subject. My profession is computer support, which is really a pretty wide ranging area of knowledge, which changes by the second. So I can Google up an answer to almost any problem in the blink of an eye, and learn what I need to know to solve the issue before me. But, I can do that with almost anything. If I see an actor or actress in a movie, and I can’t remember who they are, or I can remember the last movie they were in, or if they were in an old episode of Star Trek, or whatever, I go to IMDB and have the answer in a flash. Doctor tells me I have "fungal halitosis" or some other malady and need immediate surgery – when I can go online and find out everything I need to know about the condition and treatment options. Looking for a good price on a gadget, clothing, airline tickets, hotel, harmonicas … whatever, I can find it on the Web and have it delivered to my door in 24 hours if I can.
2 Other people have created and shared all this wonderful content. The Internet is basically a gigantic collections of endless gifts freely given by and endless array of contributors. It used to be to get a hold of the specialized knowledge of experts was expensive, if not impossible. Now every expert is online. What are you interested in? There is an active on-line community of like minded individuals waiting for you to join them.
3 Whatever dream you ever held for yourself can be fulfilled. Want to be a writer? Anyone can be a web-published author – start a blog! Write a TV show? A woman in England wrote a web journal about her relationship with her boyfriend. Turns out she had a keen eye for human nature and the gift of wit, got a large on-line following, and was offered a TV show deal for her story. Want to make and sell homemade soap, antiques, custom made musical instruments, write and sell software – whatever. For small bands and performing groups the Net is a boon. Used to take a record deal for you to get a national fan base and big sales. Now you need a Facebook page. The cost of entry to your wildest dreams has just about dropped to zero, not quite, but really, really close. It does help if you have some talent – but there is an audience for you somewhere. The proof is the phenomenal success of YouTube. What’s holding you back? Just go for it!!
Jeff Jarvis wrote the following piece, which was quoted in Good Morning Silicon Valley:
"The Internet doesn’t make us more creative, I don’t think. But it does enable what we create to be seen, heard, and used. It enables every creator to find a public, the public he or she merits. And that takes creation out of the proprietary hands of the supposed creative class.
"Internet curmudgeons argue that Google et al are bringing society to ruin precisely because they rob the creative class of its financial support and exclusivity: its pedestal. But internet triumphalists, like me, argue that the internet opens up creativity past one-size-fits-all mass measurements and priestly definitions and lets us not only find what we like but find people who like what we do. The internet kills the mass, once and for all. With it comes the death of mass economics and mass media, but I don’t lament that, not for a moment.
"The curmudgeons also argue that this level playing field is flooded with crap: a loss of taste and discrimination. I’ll argue just the opposite: Only the playing field is flat and to stand out one must now do so on merit — as defined by the public rather than the priests — which will be rewarded with links and attention. This is our link economy, our culture of links. It is a meritocracy, only now there are many definitions of merit and each must be earned."
— Professor, journalist and blogger Jeff Jarvis