In what very well likely could be my last blog entry for the Interactive Rams, please sample my reflections on what I have learned in this class about where the internet is headed, and what we should do:
The whole world continues to connect itself with hyperlinks, websites and social networking, drawing together corners and discussions that could not exist without the internet and didn't exist anywhere near this scale before the internet. People can find love (if you believe in match.com), order their groceries, manage their stocks, become ordained ministers, post personal videos, and publish their writing all using their personal computers. None could argue, this freedom gives the masses power, right? Advertisements, pop-ups and spam plague the user's experience, but with a system so fluid and instantaneous, it is virtually impossible to fight all the little things that get in the way of pure information flow. We as users have become creators.
But will people be able to respect the internet and protect the integrity of the information on such an open, free source? The internet allows third parties to create applications and change the face of social networking sites like facebook and myspace. What Jonathan Zittrain calls "generativity", is the ability to create on the internet on multiple levels. "Social, content, physical and logical layers" of the internet can be influenced by any user logging on. Sites like Wikipedia allow content to be changed as users publish. Physical layouts and logical placement of information can be criticized through online networking, "contact us" hyperlinks and digital "suggestion boxes" as available as someone's email account. Social sites have laid the groundwork for people to create an identity online and collect "friends", "followers" and members of different groups that the user belongs to (on or offline). The online identity from social networking will shape social interaction for our generation and those after us.
People must be aware and conscious of how the internet works and what effect they will have on the whole web. It is my opinion that more people are using the internet and less are thinking about it. We must remember to use the internet and not to abuse it. One such problem occurs with social networking applications (individual creators) on sites like facebook and myspace have access to every users private information. The internet is such a leaderless and classless society that the problem and the ingenious of the internet is that ANYONE with know-how can post, send, receive and promote ideas/information.
With this flow of information comes other problems of copyright. Like "who owns mickey mouse"?. Walt Disney isn't going to sue me if I send a picture of Donald Duck in one of my emails, but prominent online authors and poets are not having such an easy time using symbols, characters and images of the past. If a lot of people are seeing something, somebody wants to make money off of it. Who knows where the restrictions and freedoms of the internet are going. International standards must be
One things is sure, the mixing of media is inevitable. The TV and computer will soon be intimately connected to the cell phone and the digital identity people have will be sinonymous with their identity in reality. 3D representation, touch-screen, mouseless computers as well as vocal/video interaction with new technologies and increasing social networking across the globe will prove to bring people closer together and continue to push the boundaries of how people experience the world we have created (and that other world that was here before us, too).
Prediction: By the time I get old, I will be ordering my prescription meds, listening to music, browsing the internet, recording my favorite shows, video chatting with old friends, writing my personal blog and text messaging my friends all from my personal "identity screen", a computer-cable-satellite phone media player that ties your world to THE WORLD(starts at $4,500). And who knows, maybe it will be 3D on my table-- the final frontier in collaboration of media (end of the world to follow shortly...)!!!