Kaladeiskop Teknologi Internet 2009

A Decade of the Internet

The decade did not begin auspiciously for the Internet; it opened not with a bang, but a bust. However, the 2000 dot.com bust, far from signaling the end of the Web, served as a much-needed “reset” for an industry run amok. Gone were websites with great ideas, fistfuls of cash, and no long-term business plan. (Webvan, Pets.com, Kozmo.com, anyone?) The new crop of sites to emerge from the ashes were sleeker, more nimble versions of their predecessors

Over the past 10 years, the phenomenal growth of the Web has fundamentally changed the way we live, work and communicate. In November, a Pew Research Center study showed some startling changes in how we use the Internet:

- 2000: 46% of adults used the Internet
- 2009: 77-79% of adults use the Internet

- 2000: 5% of households had broadband
- 2009: 63% of households have broadband

- 2000: 0% connected to Internet wirelessly
- 2009: 54-56% connect to the Internet wirelessly

And with all good things come the bad: The more connected we’ve become, the harder it is to “unplug” and spend time in "real life," rather than cyberspace. It would be nearly impossible to recount all the ways the World Wide Web has impacted society, but at the most basic level, it's changed the way we live our daily lives.

Now, a look back at what a decade of the Internet hath wrought…

How we live
Thanks to e-commerce giants like Amazon, eBay and Zappos, shopping on the Internet can feel like you stepped into one of those cash cubes, except instead of cash, all kinds of goods are flying around – books, clothes, golf clubs, TVs, cameras, antiques. Need to sell your house? Forget the agent and sell it yourself. Need that hot Herve Leger number for a last-minute red-carpet appearance? Rent it online. Sure it’s fun to try on shoes at the mall, but it’s even more fun when shoes come to your doorstep. With free shipping.

According to eBay, $60 billion worth of goods was sold on the site in 2008, or “$2,000 every second.” A recent Pew survey shows that “the number of online adults who have used online classified ads has more than doubled in the past four years.

However, huge growth in online classifieds such as Craigslist has been matched by a correspondingly huge decline in newspaper classifieds. The newspaper industry is taking a beating from the shift to online ads, and the current recession is only making things worse. The Newspaper Association of America reports that revenue from classifieds plummeted 29.7 percent in 2008. As The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle succinctly put it — the Internet ate the newspaper:

Craigslist ate the classified ads. eHarmony stole the personals. Google took those tiny ads for weird products. And Macy's can email its own d*** customers to announce a sale.

Even the Internet (and a recession) isn’t big enough to eat brick-and-mortar stores, though, judging from the crowds on Black Friday. Because let’s face it — sometimes even the convenience of “click to buy” just isn’t as satisfying as camping out overnight to get a laptop for $179.99.

For every e-commerce site that survived the bust and flourished, however, there was a site that flamed out in spectacular fashion. A look back to the future to see the Internet's biggest dot-com flops, courtesy of CNET TV:

How we talk
There’s no doubt that email was a communication game-changer: It broke down the barriers, allowing people to reach out to each other at any time, in any place. But the relaxed, informal nature of the Web has also blurred social norms, creating almost an entirely new “language,” one that many are still trying to figure out.

Emailing, texting, blogging, updating and tweeting have all but replaced “old-fashioned” modes of communication. Nowadays, even Miss Manners is getting in on the action, daintily dispensing advice (via the Internet, of course) on proper email etiquette.

Eva Ingvarson, former Editorial Director of Evite, told Yahoo! News that “while people have long used social planning websites like Evite to organize events around their wedding, like bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners, it's becoming increasingly common for people to plan less formal weddings online.”

Even death isn’t immune from today's more relaxed standards: “I'm finding it increasingly common to see public forums where people express condolences after a person has died,” says Ingvarson. “While some may find comfort in this shared experience, there's also an impersonal element to posting a note online rather than sitting down to write a permanent expression of condolence.”

The recent explosion of social media sites makes even email look creaky and old-fashioned in comparison. Traffic on micro-blogging site Twitter surged 700% over last year, according to comScore. In March, YouTube announced that it “surpassed 100 million viewers for the first time.” A recent Nielson report found that in August this year, 17% of the time people spent on the Web was spent on social networking and blog sites, up from just 6% a year earlier:

This growth suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used, said Jon Gibs, vice president, media and agency insights, Nielsen’s online division. While video and text content remain central to the Web experience – the desire of online consumers to connect, communicate and share is increasingly driving the medium’s growth.

And lest you think it's all about the youngsters, recent surveys show that Facebook and MySpace are full of gray hairs. This spring, Inside Facebook reported that the "fastest growing demographic on Facebook is still women over 55." Twitter is graying as well; a comScore survey found that the average age of Twitter users is between 25 and 54 years old.

Meanwhile, some of the antics that play out over the Internet prove that we’re never too old to act like children. Celebrity blogs like Popsugar and Justjared revel in the shiny, pretty side of celeb gossip, while racier sites prefer to air celebrities’ dirty laundry. Earlier this year, blogger Perez Hilton and Demi Moore engaged in a Twitter war over how her daughter Tallulah was dressed at a party.

Even award-winning authors aren’t immune to virtual brawls — Alice Hoffman let loose her inner teens, lashing out on Twitter at a reviewer who gave lukewarm props to her latest work.

Is this the future of how we communicate with each other? Telling your spouse you want a divorce … on Facebook? Inflicting 25 Things That People Don’t Want to Know About You on unsuspecting friends? In exchange for the “six degrees of separation,” we may have just created a new level of navel-gazing.

But leave it to the Internet: There’s now an app that will help you save yourself from … yourself! Can’t stop yourself from tweeting, updating or blogging? "Freedom" will do it for you: The program, developed by grad student Fred Stutzman, will block your Internet access for up to eight hours.

Stutzman told The New York Times, “We’re moving toward this era where we’ll never be able to escape from the cloud. I realized the only way to fight back was at an individual, personal level.”

The dark side
For every miracle of convenience that the Internet brings into our lives, there is a corresponding nightmare: identity theft, harassment, libel, fraud, to name just a few. Because most of us access the Internet from the comfort of our homes or cubicles, there's an illusion that what we write and do is private and safe.

In 1995, a quaintly prescient movie called “The Net” came out, with the ominous tagline: “Her driver’s license. Her credit cards. Her bank accounts. DELETED.” In it, Sandra Bullock plays a software engineer whose identity is stolen by nefarious criminals. Nowadays, identity theft is a very real issue, spawning a whole industry (complete with annoying commercials) based on monitoring your credit health and identity.

Online fraud can range from more and more sophisticated phishing scams on social-networking to a simple fake Craigslist ad: One Tacoma woman came home to find her house stripped of pretty much everything, including the kitchen sink. "In the ad, it said come and take what you want. Everything is free," homeowner Laurie Raye told the Seattle Times. "Please help yourself to anything on the property."

Even more troubling is evidence that the Internet is the new battleground for hostile nations: In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that the nation’s electrical grid had been hacked by “spies from China, Russia and other countries.” In July, North Korea reportedly launched a massive cyber attack in South Korea and the United States, hitting the White House, Pentagon and other “high-level institutions,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.

In 2008, Russia and Georgia’s real-life conflict spilled into cyberspace: Georgia accused Russia of launching a series of cyber attacks directed at government websites, just as it sent troops into Georgia. Security experts warn that the age of “cyber warfare” is upon us, and that the Internet’s anonymity can make it nearly impossible to find the culprits.

Joe Stewart, a director at computer security consulting group SecureWorks, told The New York Times, “The truth is, we may never know the true origin of the attack unless the attacker made some colossal blunder.”

Libel vs. free speech
Journalists have long used their First Amendment rights to protect themselves against stories they’ve written. Now, thanks to the ease of the Internet, anyone can write whatever they want about anyone else and reach millions of people.

In this Wild West atmosphere, the law is struggling mightily to keep up technology. Ten years ago, badmouthing your landlord was just “venting”; today, badmouthing your landlord on Twitter will get you sued. In August, a judge ordered Google to reveal the identity of an anonymous blogger who called Vogue cover model Liskula Cohen a “skank” on a blog called, naturally, “Skanks in NYC.”

Name-calling aside, personal attacks can sometimes escalate to actual threats. Studies show that women on the Internet are increasingly the targets of sexual threats, first in chat rooms in the ‘90s, and now in the blogopsphere. In a 2007 case that that garnered international headlines, blogger/Web developer Kathy Sierra suspended her blog and canceled public appearances after weeks of online threats, including photos of her with a noose around her neck.

For teens and young children, the Internet can be just as treacherous. Despite age limits for sites like Facebook and MySpace, there’s no way for any website to verify. Studies show that while 38 percent of pre-teens and teens have online profiles, experts are conflicted over how young is too young, reports CNN.

Several high-profile cases show that even for teens, there can be legal consequences for what they do and say online. “Sexting,” or sending racy photos and texts to each other, is popular phenomenon, but for one Florida teen, sexting landed him on the state’s registered sex offender list. In Ohio, the ACLU has gotten involved, asking the state to stop prosecuting juveniles for sexting. Jeffrey M. Gamso, head of the ACLU of Ohio, told Cinncinati.com, “Local officials are twisting the law to prosecute those they were meant to protect. A conviction for sexting can do far more than teach a lesson – it can ruin a life.”

In 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide as a result of an elaborate MySpace bullying hoax, perpetrated by her 49-year-old neighbor, Lori Drew. The "landmark" cyberbullying trial was closely watched by legal experts, who decried the indictment as setting a ‘scary’ precedent. Wired.com reported that after local prosecutors couldn’t find any laws that had been broken by Drew, the Feds stepped in, charging her with felony computer hacking. (Drew was later cleared of all charges.)

Whether the law can keep up with a rapidly evolving Internet community remains to be seen, but in the end, it can only do so much. Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, tells CNN:

The law is only good at policing the most extreme invasions and the most outrageous cases. It can't take the place of good manners, social norms and etiquette – the kind of thing that has always governed negotiations about face-to-face behavior.

What now?
In 2000,Microsoft founder Bill Gates shared his thoughts about the impact of the Internet in the future:

Just as the telephone, electricity, the automobile, and the airplane shaped our world in the 20th century, the Internet will shape the early years of the 21st, and it will have a profound--and overwhelmingly positive — impact on the way we work and live.

Recently, Pew took a survey of leading Internet figures on technology’s role in 2020; their outlook wasn’t as rosy. Two of the survey’s key findings predicted a mixed bag of results:

- The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.

- The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.

For all the Web’s ability to empower and engage users, there’s still something that you can’t download, Digg, upload, tag, tweet, update, or blog: a real-life, in person, human experience. Let's hope that as technology makes the world smaller and smaller, we remember that the world is still out there — beyond the keyboards, servers and computer screens.

-- Lili Ladaga

Baca Juga Tulisan Ini :

0 komentar:

Post a Comment

beloved visitors, terima kasih atas kunjungan Anda
tinggalkan pesan bila Anda berkenan

BloggerTheme by BloggerThemes | Design by Pius Sujarno | Midified by Arek Palopo