What is the internet to you?
by Blake Barnes
Do you use the internet? It’s kind of ironic to ask because if you’re reading this you obviously do but the question has a deeper meaning. As an SEO consultant and technology expert, I spend most of my time online. I began thinking how important the internet is and how my job as a marketer has been transformed by it’s power. Most of us take the internet for granted and treat it as if it’s just something to be used. If we back up and look at it from a more philosophical perspective and define what the internet has become, I believe we can better formulate our response to the question - what is the internet? After examining it from that vantage point, it may even challenge your belief of how you interact with it. It certainly did mine.
If you ask 100 people the simple question, “what is the internet” you’re likely to get 100 different answers. How would you answer? I believe that the internet is the single biggest construction project in human history. The fascinating thing is we didn't even have a plan for what it was to become as we began building it. It was as if there was an intelligent design behind it guiding its creation as we go.
If you imagine the internet as a compilation of questions, thoughts, ideas, emotions, creativity, and inspiration of billions of human beings both dead and alive, its a pretty amazing construction project. According to statistics from www.internetworldstats.com there are just over 7 Billion people on earth and as of now there are 2.4 Billion internet users or, just under 35% of the world’s population. Stop and think about the significance of that for a moment. It’s often been said 2 heads are better than one. If that’s true, what is the value of billions of heads? With collaboration on that scale, literally anything is possible. During the infancy of the internet, no one could have imagined what it has manifested into today. How has it changed your life and behavior? What do you do online now that you used to do in the physical world?
If great minds think alike and you combine all of those great minds in one venue under one virtual roof, removed any socioeconomic or language barriers and aligned people and ideas from all over the world, what becomes possible? Imagine if the ideas and creative process of Plato, Copernicus, Socrates, Einstein, and so on were all digitally documented and expanded upon by a global community? Well the good thing is that all the great minds going forward from here can. With the internet, the more of your thoughts ideas and emotions that are digitally captured the more of a digital essence of yourself will remain with humanity when you’re long gone. Once you upload and publish your thought, it can now be translated into any language, crowd-sourced, dissected, added to, and revised to become an even bigger idea. As that process happens millions of times over and over again across multiple generations, what you believed was just a simple post to the internet has the possibility to become the foundation for something much greater. How humbling to think just one thought or post has the possibility to have such a great impact for generations to come.
The internet, not just one social website alone, but the network of ideas has played a major role in our modern civilization. It has been the venue and forum for everything as simple as shopping to changing entire cultures such as the revolution in Egypt Are we being good stewards of this amazing phenomenon and are we treating it with reciprocity in mind or do we just use it?