For a long time I’ve been watching the Internet develop. Though it will likely say more about my age than is comfortable, the reality is that I’ve been around since Netscape Navigator 1.0. Yes, I’m serious. My first email client was Pine. Yes, via Telnet. And yes, I’m still serious.
What I’m trying to say is that I’ve seen the evolution of the World Wide Web. And what’s fantastic is that it’s not the giant corporations that always get the most traffic. The Internet is driven from the bottom, a kind of technological grass-roots organism with life all its own. So the question is: who’s in charge?
Seth Godin‘s book Tribes compares our current social context in light of technology to ancient human groupings of tribes. With the availability of information and the ease of global communication, humanity has begun to connect in this ancient way.
This isn’t to say that we’re forming one giant global tribe. No way. We’re forming millions of smaller tribes in much the same way as our ancestors. For them, tribes were often formed based on location. For us, technology has torn down the barriers of geography and given us the opportunity to connect with that [insert the latest cult classic here] fan from the other side of the globe. So again the question is: who’s in charge?
Again, it’s not the corporations or the politicians or the rich or the powerful – at least not in my view. It’s the people who stand up, regardless of their location – geographically or socially. It’s the people who manage their fear of standing out and instead choose to stand out. It’s the people who take a bold position rather than carefully seeking out and balancing in the center.
So. Who’s in charge? Are you?