The Web Is Our Friend

Here’s the latest in my ongoing essay series, Local Media in a Postmodern World.

The Web Is Our Friend

We’re watching the world change before our eyes in the Middle East as everyday people are picking up the tools of new media to spread revolution against tyranny. Most of us “over here” see this as a good thing, although we fear the vacuum that might result. Good or not is an important question, because this idea that everyday people can connect so easily is at the core of everything that’s disrupting the media world today. If everybody is a media company then the media is everybody.

I’ve dedicated my life to the belief that the Web is a good thing for culture, and I teach that we’ve just begun to feel the ramifications of a genuinely hyperconnected world of human beings. I think it’s going to change everything we know, and if I had the money, I’d invest in that wager.

And so I think it’s appropriate for me, today, to take a trip back and explain why I think the Web is our friend. Insofar as Life moves us upward and onward, it’s important to know where our belief is, for only then will we be free to explore tomorrow.


  1. Terry,

    Great article, but one [seemingly] insignificant comment seems appropriate.

    Most of the communications traffic involved in political change does not traverse the “Web”; instead, it uses the Internet. When we wake in the morning, we typically check email, Twitter, Facebook, and perhaps get a glimpse of the weather — all from our mobile devices. When we tweet, we typically do so from a mobile device. When we make a restaurant reservation or a track a flight’s departure schedule, we tend to do so with a mobile device. When we’re at a politial rally, or demonstrating in Egypt, most communications utilized mobile devices. None of the activities mentioned here use the “Web”, however, all of them use the Internet.

    The web (i.e., the HTML protocol) is fast becoming unnecessary and far less likely to be used to achieve high-velocity communications, awareness, and arbitration. The “Web” has one app; the Internet has many apps. At a global level, we are swiftly adopting an app-centric model. Apps are now how we get stuff done — whether it’s tossing aside a corrupt government, or ordering pizza, apps are the tools of mankind that will shape our lives and the world for the coming decades.

    Apps are far more productive than web pages that run in the one app created for the web, the web browser. Web pages (and web applications) are (in many cases) far less productive. As such, I would assert that [historically speaking], the web was an important stone that many of us have left behind.

    While the Web is indeed a friend, it is an old friend that we’ve moved away from.

    I would

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