WWW, etc...

There was a time before the Web was mentioned in the same sentence as the "business model", before the first crop of Internet multi-millioners, before the .com domain names outnumbered the .edu names, when it was possible to be wildly enthusiastic about the potential of the Internet, and especially the World Wide Web, to transform individuals and nations, to dream about the coming great internetworked society. Then the graduate students and college kids, who tested the limits of HTML and HTTP and experimented with online communities of interest, went off to start their own companies and promptly forgot the language of idealism. Now public debate about the World Wide Web is mainly driven by such topics as how to make money off the Web, or negative characterizations such as the supposedly collapsing infrastructure and security holes.
Perhaps the Internet is simply maturing. Perhaps the Web pioneers have grown up and suddenly started to worry about mortgages. I have lost much of the idealism of my younger days. However, nothing came to replace it, and I am forcing myself to reimagine the future and to rekindle the passion I have possessed earlier. While I have not been able to recapture the feeling I often had in the early days of the Web -- that of witnessing a revolution -- the following thoughts are still a good antidote to the spiritual malaise of loosing sight of the future, the possibilities. Putting these thoughts on the Web is part of the process of regaining idealism.


kL