Posts Tagged ‘ internet ’

So you wanna be web savvy

Now as we go further each day into the XXI century it seems that the internet is becoming the most active place in the world. More people go through a website every given day than anywhere else. More people visit their national railway companies website for information about incoming and outgoing trips a day than the actual station itself. It’s cheap, efficient and let’s face facts, you don’t have to spend 10 minutes in a line and another 5 just to find out you’ve missed the last train to your destination just because your operator types slower than your grandma.

Yes sir…..or ma’am ( depending on your preferences ). The internet sure is a swell place. I honestly can’t say myself that I’m all that. After all I’ve only been a programmer for about a year and I still have much to learn. But one thing I was quick to learn is that people have expectations. A few years back if a website could update content without having to recode a portion of the website they were happy. Nowadays it’s all about social media networks,  APIs and real-time updates. We have this strange notion that if we spend 2 more seconds waiting for a site to reload we’ve lost 2 more seconds of our lives. And let’s face it….that’s two less seconds I spend crying in the bathroom crying in shame.

So what turns this…..

into something a bit more comprehensible? Why is it there? What does it mean and more importantly do we need it?

The answer: Of course we do. As society slowly creeps into the technological era we find ourselves in need of constant information flow. From the earliest times a message arriving early or late would mean either victory or defeat to the kings army. Not thankfully we no longer have to wage so many wars but the industrial era brought with it a new kind of war. One that doesn’t use guns. The weapons are bylaws. The soldiers are lawyers, accountants. It’s generals corporate executives. Much smaller wars are waged the same way no matter if it’s in an office building, your local pub or high school. But let’s forget about that for a moment.

Why do we feel the need to constantly be in control. To constantly be informed about our lives as well as the people around us. Is it the sense of control it gives us? Could be…could be. But there is so much more. Evolution creeps up on us in manners we wouldn’t have even imagined even so much as a hundred years ago. As time progresses we become so much more than reliant on technology. We form a symbiosis with it. Our cellphones become an extension of hands, ears and mouths. Computers become an add-on to our brains. The ’90s brought us MTv, video games, the internet. The world was in chaos. From weird hairstyles to new ways of structuring information.

With the web slowly growing it becomes more structured. Today we no longer have to write our information down 50 times a day. Most websites allow you to sign in using your Facebook account, Google account or an OpenID used by many websites including WordPress, Microsoft sites, Digg and many others. We can go faster than ever before, farther than ever before from the comfort of our own homes or that cafe you like so much. But……!

If evolution has thought us anything it’s that when you’re in the water you swim with the sharks. And you either swim fast, fight the sharks or drown and get eaten. The internet holds its own shark pits in many forms. Forum posts about life changing experiences, pop-ups with get rich quick schemes, chat partners asking for your name, birthday and social security number because friends just tell friends these things. Identity theft, fraud, child abduction. There’s no way around it. There’s no way of escaping it. It’s inevitable. Not because there are so many but because in the XXI century you can not ignore the internet. You can’t bypass the internet. You can’t say you don’t use the internet. Everyone uses it in some way or another. So the only thing left to do is to know the internet. To understand how it all works. Why some websites are better than others. Why social media networks are so similar and why some things are best left alone no matter how enticing they may appear to be. But that’s a story left for another time.