“The universe is a continuous web. Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers.”
― Stanley Kunitz
Can you remember what it was like before we had the world wide web?
It being, for me at least, having to wade through a pile of books to find the one book (if I had it), which was usually quite a hefty one like all the others, which would answer a question for me.
Perhaps I knew what I was looking for, perhaps I only had a vague idea of it, what wasn’t vague or unknown was that this search would take a long time and might cause paper cuts, headaches and screams of frustration (usually at myself as much of what I looked up then and still look up now is stuff I have learned and somehow can’t recall when I need it).
I also suffer from the need to double and triple check what I think I know. In those days, pre-www, that was a nuisance. These days, it’s a different kind of nuisance as I get distracted by other information which is connected to that which I want to know or confirm, and several hours later I’m reading about the Baltic Anomaly and I have no idea how I got there but it’s fascinating. If only I could remember what I was actually doing and why.
These days, if I want to know something, look something up, a quick tapping of the fingers on a keyboard or pad, a hasty search of the internet (and some self control), and voila!
This www is my brain (better than my brain), and has changed how I use the brain that I have.
The answers which I find may not be exactly what I’m looking for and may be debatable (Did the person or people who created this Wiki or other knowledge page really know the facts or is this one of those all year round April Fool’s Day pages), but I feel a sense of relief in knowing that I don’t have to know everything (or anything) because someone else out there does, and I know enough to search and find them.
It’s a wonderful creation. An amazing city of the world. The most magnificent web a spider ever wove. Touch it at any point and it quivers, bringing to you the world and anything you want to know about it without actually having to go there yourself.
Want instant internet success and popularity – Answer a question which no one else has answered but for which everyone wants an answer. However, be warned – Make your answer a good one or you’ll unleash the dark and tangled side of the internet.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
― Walter Scott
The world wide web connects us all. News can travel faster than time and reach us before the News media knows about it and has to play catch-up. Those butterfly wings flapping in some location far from us, as long as it has wifi, can affect us all before the air in the flap dies down and the tiny specs of dust on which such movement unsettles finds a resting place.
Sometimes this power we all have is used for good, and sometimes that’s debatable.
Take the story of ‘Donglegate’, of which I hadn’t heard until I read a magazine (old style access to information), but many people heard about it as it was unfolding and many people weighed in on it using the internet. I’m not weighing in on it so do a search if you want to know about it. It does sound a lot like a cautionary tale, similar to the ones ye olde children’s books used to have, and be told and retold to warn children of venturing into such territories without being aware of the consequences of their actions.
This power we have, we’re still getting used to it and learning about it, as it is learning about us. It’s a gift which may also have a price that sometimes feels like a curse if you’re on the unpopular end of it. But the old order changes bringing with it the same old stuff it had when it was the old order. A very human touch, causing the web to quiver. Yet it there is something new which slowly evolves the old.
These interesting times, are more interesting each day with each click.
Tomorrow there is an eclipse. I’m fairly certain I’ll miss it for many reasons, but someone somewhere won’t miss it, will capture it and share it. One click, a quick search and I will see what I missed. And therefore I won’t have missed it.
“Never hurry and never worry!”
― E.B. White