last post for 2013
I was trying to think about something to write for the last post of 2013 here, and my mind goes back to how the internet used to be in the pre-video era. Or to be more specific, pre-YouTube.
YouTube started in February 2005 but people didn't know about it until 2006 (which is when I started using it). The site gained popularity very quickly because it was one of the first to offer free video hosting.
Internet prior to YouTube was way, way different.
In 2004, which is now 10 years ago, the #1 thing to do was MySpace. It started off just like YouTube where it was introduced in 2003 and after about a year, everyone was using it.
And if you're thinking, "Didn't people use Twitter then?" No, because that didn't exist until 2006.
Facebook did exist in 2004 but it was in its infancy at the time. MySpace is what ruled the internet land, at least in America.
In '04, everyone was still using "regular computers." No tablets, no smartphones as we know them now, and in fact a ton of people were still using tube-type computer monitors. Wired computers, mind you. Yeah, wireless routers were around but most people didn't have them because they were so expensive.
Did mobile internet exist in '04? Yes, but just barely. Basically, nobody had it. If you wanted to go online, you had to plop yourself in front of a PC or laptop, connect a network cable or a phone line and do it that way.
Blogging was still a very new thing. The word blog is now in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but I don't think it was in there in '04.
Because MySpace didn't do instant messaging until much later, and because cell phone texting still wasn't the norm it is now, people used AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger a lot.
What hasn't changed on the internet in 10 years?
IRC, forums and email. Those are still the same as they were a decade ago.
Concerning IRC, it's still popular with the nerdy/geeky crowd, particularly for Linux support. Is it popular anywhere else? Not really.
Concerning forums, those are still as strong as they ever were.
Consider this: Facebook is basically nothing but a huge forum. It may not look like your typical forum and have many advanced features, but in the end, it's a forum.
Was MySpace also a forum? Yes. Any time you see a "community" where people can post messages in threads, that's a forum.
As long as the internet exists, forums will exist. Whether they're simple or advanced systems, people like to publicly converse with each other. And a forum is the best way to go about that.
As for email, it's actually improved quite a bit since 2004 - if you know how to use it the right way (as in with a mail client and never in the browser).
What will be the norm in another 10 years?
Tough to say.
For technology, nobody will have PCs. Instead we'll probably all have phones that we can dock into a laptop shell whenever we want a "big" computer with a regular keyboard and mouse.
I seriously doubt anyone will be using hard drives in 2024. By then, we'll be able to buy multi-terabyte memory cards for cheap just like we buy 32GB memory cards for cheap now.
I predict that in many parts of the world, wired internet will become a very rare thing, replaced by 100% wireless as new long-range technologies are being researched right now and should be readily available in 2024.
I also predict that in some parts of the world, internet will be considered a public utility rather than a luxury. Right now, we all pay for our internet subscriptions because it's considered a "non-essential" thing. In the future, I can see that being changed to where it is considered essential (most likely when everything goes long-range wireless). Instead of paying direct out-of-pocket, it will be paid for by taxpayer dollars instead. Ultimately, you still pay for internet, but it will be paid indirectly via the taxes you pay instead of directly to a cable or phone company.
As far as interaction between people is concerned online, that's going to be interesting.
If you're wondering what will happen after Facebook, the answer is nothing. Facebook is The Last Great Social Network. And by "Great" I don't mean "good" but rather "big."
If you're thinking Google will be The Next Big Thing, they won't because they already are The Big Current Thing. What people know Google for is search. Just search. That is Goog's bread-and-butter product. Google Plus just exists for an easier means of people to identify themselves via a G+ profile, meaning it's not meant to be The Next Great Social Network, or at least not in the way I see it.
Social Web as we know it now won't exist in 2024. Yes, there will be forums and such scattered throughout the internet as there always have been, but as far as The Big Social Network is concerned, it's not happening. Why? Because it's not profitable. And whatever doesn't make money doesn't last on the internet - with one exception. If the whatever-it-is is a genuinely good, useful and vital tool for communications, it does stick around.
And that brings me to email.
Email will still be around in 2024 because to date there has been absolutely nothing introduced that's been any better. Many have tried, but all have failed. The decentralized method of the way email works is as good as it gets. It is to date the best way on the internet to get a message from A to B online.
The biggie however, starting in 2014, is this:
The death of the dot-com
Web addresses are going to change in 2014. A ton of new names are coming. Dot-cars, dot-inc, dot-music, dot-site, dot-web, dot-love, dot-photo, dot-video, dot-fail, dot-win, dot-sucks (yes, really), dot-wtf (again, yes, really) and many, many more. TONS of them.
One thing that has always bothered me about the internet is the fact we are so stuck on dot-com, and I very much welcome the new names that are coming.
I really, really want to see the popularity of the dot-com die. And I'm hoping all the new names coming in '14 will shove dot-com into obscurity permanently.
Hopefully, it will come to be that well before 2024, the dot-com will finally lose its popularity. That would be great, because it has very much worn out its welcome mat.
Happy New Year, all.