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The Cargo Cult of Business » 7 Wonders of the Internet

7 Wonders of the Internet

Published on 5 Apr 2007 at 12:05 pm | No Comments | Trackback
Filed under The Cargo Cults of Business, Technopolitical, Blogosphere, Networking Technology, Pure Geek, Information Technology, Economics and the Economy, Public Relations and Marketing, Humor.

Our esteemed colleagues over at Network World are developing a list of "The Seven Wonders of the Internet". Here at Cargo Cult, we’ve worked out the list. It is:  <cue drumroll>

1. Making the World’s knowledge accessible: Google. What can we say? Google is now a verb, and is essential. There may be a better search engine than google some day, but whatever it is, it will be the wonder of the world.

We’ll go so far as to say that Google is so far in the lead as a WotW than the rest of these items should be number 12 through 17, not 2 thru 7.

2. E-mail. Fuddy-dud luddite calligraphers notwithstanding, E-mail has done more  to promote person-to-person communication that anything since, and maybe even before, the telephone. Why, one of us now writes to his poor old Mom, regualarly. Lots of people are finding each other and renewing connections that had gone cold over 20, 30, even 50 or 60 years.

3. Wikipedia. Not perfect, but neither were the Pyramids. (One collapsed, you’ll recall.) Wikipedia is an excellent and usually-reliable - and FREE - source of basic info on everything. Need a reference on medieval Bulgaria? Wikipedia has it. Quick check on some obscure technical standard or acronym? Go to Wikipedia.

Again, Wikipedia _might_ be supplanted someday by a free and open variant that addresses some of Wiki’s issues w/o killing it, but whether it’s today’s Wikipedia or some future variant, it’s a wonder of the world.

4. Open news media. Call ‘em news-blogs or whatever, the ease with which citizens can now check on the MSM and correct its errors is a big deal. We are moving toward a world where there are truly zillions of media outifts, where everyone has a printing press, etc. Most importantly, we are breaking down the false distinction that a journalist is somehow distinct from a citizen.

5. iTunes. OK, maybe not an Internet app in the strictest sense, but the way in which technology is busting up the media monopolies is wonderful. We buy the songs we want and listen on our schedule. We buy the TV programs and movies we want and listen on our schedule. We can much more easily find, and support, the artists I like. Try the Wicked Tinkers sometime.

Realistically, we should lump mp3, TiVo, and a bunch of related tech in here as well. You Tube probably belongs in this category, too. It’s where we watch the Superbowl ads - saves over three hours of tedious football.  :)

6. E-Bay, and all the other sites that make commercial markets in things you just couldn’t find or buy, or even know existed to solve some problem you had. As Stewart Brand put it 35 years ago, "Access to Tools".

There isn’t a clear seventh. Some items that do NOT belong on the list, namely MySpace/Facebook, etc. Blah! Zillions of idiots proving their idiocy. It is possible that some wondrous thiing may yet evolve out of this technology, but I’ve seen no sign of it yet……

We would, however, assert that Skype has a good shot at being a WotW. It shows how you could, and should, do VoIP. It’s not quite ubiquitous enough to be a clear list-member yet, but it’s getting there. Don’t have Skype? Get it. Got Vonage or some similar? You poor pathetic loser. It’s 80s tech, dressed up but insubstantial.

-- Oliver
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