The internet can be seen in its maturity with Google, Blogger
It was a time of passion, tycoons and lots of money.
And then the internet grew up.
Today the internet is coming of age, and the beginnings are passing. We are moving out of the violence of development and into the solid, stolid and sturdily usable internet of information.
The internet we’ve known—the internet of the 90s when the thing became an institution and when most of us came of age—was the early internet winning the fight of establishment with all the exploding opportunity newness.
Reaching the public in the 90s, the internet was an economic boom. The military was out and the business of internet was huge.
It was the time of millionaires at 30. It was the time of dropping out of school and starting a company online. It was the time to think hard and make money tapping what hadn’t been tapped.
We called it the revolution. We were hyperbolic, to be sure, but it was a revolution of sorts. The internet was the information revolution, we said, the dawning information age.
Being exciting by the explosion of the thing, we were really into the revolution part of the information revolution. It was about information, sure, but that’s not what happened in the daily business. This was like the oil boom—it was about transportation, yeah, but mostly it was wildcatting and striking it rich and cash.
And that was good. All beginning industries have that time of craziness, when men become rich in a day and an idea marks an age and creates a world. Then the thing grows, quiets and develops. The wildness subsides and becomes established. One forgets that eventually everyone will have a car, that plastics will be common. The violence and shouting pass into the colorful tales of old men, and even Bill Gates becomes old.
In the last few years, we’ve seen the internet growing into a normal, stable thing. We’ve seen it gradually move from that violence and indicate the maturity that will come to this increasingly normal thing we call the internet.
This year, two internet words are joining the dictionary: blog and google.
Google, the name of the world’s premier internet search engine, has become a verb meaning “to search for on the internet.” Google is a solid company not really about fast earnings that figured how to search the vast collection of the online.
Blog, the word produced in the coupling of web and log, is both a noun and a verb. A blog is a thing where a series of posts, logged entries on whatever topic, are put out, collected and archived. To blog is to write one of the series of posts. The most popular blog server is Blogger, with 1.1 million users.
Both words still speak of the zany creativity propelling us all into the information age, but now they’ve entered the dictionary and your children will them common words like plastic, calculator and automobile.
Both Blogger and Google have filled rather technical niches—one archiving bits of internet writing and the other searching the internet—and are but solid and reliable companies. Both companies—and now Blogger has been purchased by Google, guaranteeing reliability and continuing service—are about information.
The cash is fairly limited. There’s money, but no boom and no mansions and no piles of green stuff. Google and Blogger aren’t creatures of the economy; they aren’t the madness of the 90s.
It’s not about money anymore.
Google has virtually given us the greatest library ever, dwarfing the legendary shelves of Ancient Alexandria. Anyone wanting information can turn to the search engine. Like a library, we turn to Google for knowledge, primarily.
Blogging is mostly a profit-free enterprise, the work of people interested in talking about whatever. The analogies are the coffee houses of Addison and Steele. Blogs are just people using the technology to talk, form communities, gather and distribute information for the enjoyment of it all.
Roughly between 12 and 20 Hillsdale students and recent graduates—it’s difficult to tell how many lurk unknown—run personal blogs. That number includes three of the five editors here at the Collegian. Hillsdale students and grads are using this technology to comment on philosophical, social, political, theological and linguistic things. Call it the virtual snack bar. Call it that table at Saga, without the food.
This has nothing to do with fame, money or even business. It’s a hobby and a pastime and a thing educated people do—talk and listen and consider.
The world of the online has calmed down and is calming down. We’re moving past the insane and the strange and the interesting. Recent moves have indicated the growth of the internet into the information technology we always said it was supposed to be.