It helps to sit back and take in how prolific the web has become- no it does not reach every world citizen and there are divides, indeed, but to lose sight of how it permeates culture and digs deeper all the time– well it means something to me to acknowledge it. What is ordinary today was really not even thinkable maybe 8 years ago. And it boggles the mind to flip the time frame forward and try to imagine where it will fling us.
So not to drop down to the grandparent’s muttering of “I can remember slugging 10 pounds of raw HTML in bare feet through the snow”– I can distinctly remember when we did not see URLs on every ad, when people looked up phone numbers in this strange wast of paper known as “the phone book”, when booking a trip meant having to talk to a travel agent, music was bought in manufactured defined collections that needed to be paid for in person at this place called a “record store”…. okay, its getting boring.
It rang into focus on my travel today for a short visit to Austin. On the Supershuttle van this morning, the driver was talking about his social networking start up site he was convinced will take him away from driving blue vans, a woman passenger had a job in the northwest as a “Web Communications Director”, and myself was there also making a living from this web monkey business. At the airport I saw more than just a few people, that by physical guestimates, I would not typically put in the geek category, intently focused on pecking messages on their blackberries. Lots of them. I felt really old fashioned with my mobile phone that only made phone calls and less than 1 MP images. When I was waiting to leave the NMC office at the end of meetings today, from one neighboring office a woman was yelling in a high pitched voice, “JUST TEXT ME THE DAMN DIRECTIONS!”. In the other office, a tax consultant, I was fairly sure the receptionist was picking out avatar outfits from a rather pink looking web site.
None of these are really remarkable, but it is considering the web as part of our lives is really just approaching the life cycle of almost (depends how you count) as a generation. The Full Webness is coming of Age, and I wonder if we really, really, REALLY, are ready.
“When I was a web kid, I wrote HTML font tags by hand in a blizzard…”