The World Wide Web is twenty-five years old today, just beginning to feel the full weight of adulthood. According to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web and the author of the first web browser, “the underlying Internet and the WWW are non-hierarchical, decentralized and radically open. The web can be made to work with any type of information, on any device, with any software, in any language. You can link to any piece of information. You don’t need to ask for permission. What you create is limited only by your imagination.”
We’re so used to the internet as a vital part of our lives that it seems impossible that it’s so new. I got my first computer and first taste of the internet in 2007. Even then, the internet seemed old, and I felt as if I were jumping too late on the bandwidth wagon, but at that time, the internet was only eighteen years old, still just a youngster feeling the first stirrings of freedom. We now have music downloads, ebooks, videos available at a touch of a button. Anyone can publish anything on the web, anyone can promote whatever they wish, anyone can write a journal and maybe even be read. Odd to think that this is just the beginning. I cannot even imagine what the future of the internet will be and how it will affect us.
My computer, so awesomely powerful in 2007, is getting slow — not because of age but because of the proliferation of video ads. By design, I’m sure, ads load first, which means that the content comes long after everything else appears. If it weren’t for the slowness of my computer, I wouldn’t mind the ads — I’d just ignore them. I don’t much of anything anymore, except for the basics, and I seldom buy anything just to buy it. It is interesting, though, how ads dog us — a friend mentioned in a blog comment that he is reading Long Man, and now wherever I go, I see an ad for that book. It makes me wonder if in the future, the internet will be mostly ads with any content buried beneath a string of product links.
As long as I have my small corner of the web (this blog, of course!), I’ll be happy. How I access this blog in the future, however, will be a different matter. I like PCs with its unvirtual keyboard (as long I can attach a mouse to the computer), but PCs are going the way of vacuum-tube computers. I’m not interested in tablets, and phones, no matter how smart, are difficult to use to write a blog. As for voice activated software, no thank you. I like silence. Still, progress beckons whether I wish it to or not, and who knows, someday there will be a device I like as well as I do my PC.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.