Conclusions to History

September 22nd, 2016

It’s strange to think that we have, as a group, successfully covered the history of internet in three weeks. Well, to be exact, a condensed overview of the history. While I can’t claim that I understand everything in the readings perfectly, I’ve certainly come a long way from when I first walked into the class, having never considered the internet as a product from the past. In fact, describing the internet as a product brings everything more into perspective for me, as I can consider it with respect to technological products of current day.

In my life time, I have seen the iPhone evolve from the first generation to the seventh; I have seen its advertisements cataloguing the types of changes made; I have watched the demonstrations put on before new releases; I have seen video reviews made by consumers of the product. The internet, in a sense, went through the same phases, but in a slightly less straightforward and commercialized manner. Rather than having clearly labeled periods where each new “edition” was strictly highlighted as distinct from the previous, the internet evolved much more gradually. From readings, it appeared that the changes made to the systems were in fact not driven by the pressure to create new additions within a set time frame, but motivated simply by the desire to improve upon the user experience. At the same time, the internet, at least during its initial stage, was less about exposing its usability to those outside of the technology circle. As opposed to Apple which made a conscious effort to break down complex technical jargons into terms understandable to its consumers, the internet had a much different audience, one that had more experience with the product itself. In this sense, the earlier internet community was a bit more “exclusive,” as it really wasn’t designed with the entire population in mind. Similarly, the releases and demonstrations were less about garnering day-to-day users as they were towards proving that the internet actually works! Unlike Apple, which already has a strong brand name built, the internet in its earlier stages had to prove itself and its feasibility. In my opinion, the internet had a greater “barrier” as no similar products have really existed before.

I’m not sure if the workers of the internet ever foresaw the incredible influence it would have on our present day, whether from a social or economic standpoint, but it would be interesting to delve into these different sides in the upcoming weeks and to examine how they have evolved with respect to the evolution of the internet.

One Response to “Conclusions to History”

  1. Mike Smith said:

    You’re spot on. As the NY Times described in the following article when talking about some recent hacks, “the Internet was built for openness and speed, not for security.” Who needs security when everyone knows everyone else on the network? Who needs security when the network grows beyond every early user’s imagination?

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