Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why This Internet Thing Is Never Gonna Last

It was first published in Newsweek via BoingBoing in 1995, but it’s all over the interweb today: “The Internet? Bah!” — author Clifford Stoll’s funny, grumpy essay on “this most trendy and oversold community.”

Here are some excerpts:

• “We're told that multimedia will make schoolwork easy and fun. … Bah. These expensive toys are difficult to use in classrooms and require extensive teacher training.”

• “How about electronic publishing? … Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.”

• “Then there's cyberbusiness. We're promised instant catalog shopping — just point and click for great deals. … Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet — which there isn't — the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.”

• “What's missing from this electronic wonderland? Human contact. Discount the fawning techno-burble about virtual communities. Computers and networks isolate us from one another.”

Social media are all about forging connections. In fact, for many of us, it’s human contact that keeps drawing us back to the internet today. Yet back in 1995, few of us recognized the potential of social media and social networking.

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