Remember the days when you had to fax something to someone to get a reply? Or perhaps even make your way over to the post office? You should — it wasn’t all that long ago. Back when email was only beginning to seep its way into mainstream culture, I recall asking my mother, who was sitting at our home computer emailing her colleagues, “What do you mean your computer is talking with another computer?” Mind you, those were the days when her desktop setup was roughly the size of a garbage dumpster and I was too busy playing ‘Pitfall’ on my Atari to bother with her compute box.
Needless to say, I never imagined I’d have a blog. In fact, only a couple of years ago (OK, months) I was still teasing my friends about their online postings and rants. “Why would anyone read what you, some no-name dude in Toronto, think of a local indie band?” I’d ask. (My friends are used to my teasing by now.) They assured me they don’t blog because they expect thousands of web surfers to flock to their posts, but because they like feeling like they’re part of a bigger online community.
Seems a lot of people are in the same boat; everyone and their best friend’s cousin is blogging these days. Turns out people really do care what other people think — no matter how trivial or seemingly niche. The reason I’ve got blogs, and the Internet as a whole, on my mind these days is, of course, because realscreen has just revamped its entire website.
As coincidence would have it, I just stumbled across the July issue of Vanity Fair, which contains a fascinating piece called “Inventing the Internet: An Oral History.” (Check it out if you haven’t yet.) There’s one particular quote in the piece from Tom Anderson, one of the co-founders of MySpace, that stuck with me. As I know you know (since you’re Web-savvy enough to be trolling blogs like this one), MySpace is the world’s largest social network, and has an estimated 110 million active users (at least that’s the number cited in the article). Anyhow, here’s the Anderson quote:
“MySpace is a lot like a cell phone. When it came out, people were asking, Why would I have to carry a phone with me wherever I go? Now they can’t imagine not having it.”
The same is true of the Internet in general. It’s hard to imagine not being able to research using it, or send emails, or ever read another blog. To my indie band-loving, blogging-obsessed friends: next drink’s on me, and I’ll stop teasing you. For now.