The Web Is Dead, Long Live The iPad
At IBM’s Information on Demand Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, in October 2007, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine.
In that interview, we talked most about the economics of the “long tail,” the theory behind which Anderson explained in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.
Anderson has recently returned to the public Internet consciousness with a controversial new article entitled simply “The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet.”
I’ll leave it to you to read the full article, and won’t attempt to summarize the whole thing here. Okay, well maybe just a little bit.
Long tail short, the article goes like this: The Web was too hard for people to use, the moneyed Internet interests saw this and also needed a way to cordon off their plot of Internet farmland so they can sell their crops, and the rest of we little itty bitsy consumer sharecroppers will soon be marginalized by the large Internet agricultural interests.
Or something to that effect.
Michael Wolf, media insider and writer, writes in his own sidebar comment to the Wired piece:
This development — a familiar historical march, both feudal and corporate, in which the less powerful are sapped of their reason for being by the better resourced, organized, and efficient — is perhaps the rudest shock possible to the leveled, porous, low-barrier-to-entry ethos of the Internet Age. After all, this is a battle that seemed fought and won — not just toppling newspapers and music labels but also AOL and Prodigy and anyone who built a business on the idea that a curated experience would beat out the flexibility and freedom of the Web.
It’s this idea of curation, of the widespread embrace of needing a tour guide-like experience to the Internet, that is leading us to this precipice. But Anderson suspects a whole bunch of people have already jumped, consequences be damned.
The Web’s too hard, too complicated, he seems to argue on behalf of we Internet Everymen/women!
I want my iPad and iPhone apps! I want my Netflix! I want them now, and I don’t want to have to work to get to where I need the Information Superhighway to take me! Wah!!!!
It’s understandable. And inevitable.
And with the recent Google/Verizon talks around wireless access, pretty soon, it’s going to get even better (or worse, depending on your views of net neutrality).
We’ll all be able to get first, second, and maybe even third class tickets for our trip across the digital frontier.
Me, I’m going old-school.
Put one of these twenty-something punks in front of a telnet or gopher terminal in front of me and tell them to go find their illicit Lady Gaga video using a command line and watch them just squirm in GUI withdrawal.
That’s my idea of a good time.
I’ll be riding in back in third class with the FTP session, the DOS prompt, and the chickens, with the nice old lady selling tacos and beer.
It may not be as easy to get there, but it’s a certainly a much more interesting ride.
Just let me carry my iPad in case the conductor loses his way and we need to access Google Maps.