Blog Assignment- Week 5
Barners-Lee Ch. 9-12
Group A, 2/20
The World Wide Web finally happens, takes off, catches on, and the innovation curve (under Diffusion of Innovations Theory) proceeds: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, Laggards. Means of navigating the Internet for the public unfolded in an interesting manner, and the beginning of Chapter 9 effectively enlightens readers of how it all unfolded. I had no idea.
On page 106, Berners-Lee says, "In one fell swoop, the web had become a major market." The story of Netscape going public first, before Windows95 and its paired browser, is profound. Demand was obviously overwhelming as the cost of one share jumped rapidly from $28 to $71. Astronomical numbers like 38 million shares on the market and Netscape being worth $4.4 billion after one day is impressive. The response was initially greater than I had imaged it was. "IPO" or initial public offering is a term I didn't previously know, but watching Netscape achieve the largest IPO in history surely must have been satisfying for Tim Berners-Lee.
These numbers representing money is significant. The World Wide Web could now be recognized for much more than information and communication. This booming "all the rage" response proved the World Wide Web could symbolize infinite potential and wealth. On page 107, Berners-Lee writes, "Certain people felt that commercially motivated material polluted the Web. I had little time for this point of view. The Web was designed as a universal medium. A hypertext link must be able to point to anything. Information that is put up for commercial gain can't be excluded." I was highly impressed by his acceptance of others being motivated by capital gain although he was not. His perspective is consistent with page 1, "The vision I have for the Web is about anything being potentially connected with anything." True that the commercial world is reality and part of the concept of anything.
Berners-Lee talks about being raised differently than many Americans. There's a painful paradox in our culture: Live your passion and do what makes you happy VS Earn a prosperous living and achieve financial success. I absolutely feel tugs and pressure from both polar ends of these ideals. On page 107, Tim states, "What is maddening is the terrible notion that a person's value depends on how important and financially successful they are, and that that is measure in terms of money." There is a definite communal ethos online where attention and Internet fame (views/responses) creates a sense of success. But it's refreshing to remember that the American belief of money measuring success is not regular or even the norm across the globe.
Question 1: Do you believe Berners-Lee, as an author and speaker, intentionally persuades us to believe he is a likable, honorable, and humble man? After all, his mention of family on page 108 makes me perceive him as utterly selfless, "It can be occasionally frustrating to think about the things my family could have done with a lot of money." His use of rhetoric is impressive in that I have a clear image of what kind of person he is, and this man is likeable. I'd probably vote for him in an election.
Question 2: I've heard that purpose lies at the intersection of passion, potential, and profit. Do you think Tim Berners-Lee, the innovator himself, achieved purpose through his invention of the World Wide Web?