On The Internet

Content Over Context

I am writing this message on a machine in a place and at a time, and that has little relevance.

What matters is that you are reading this message, and what would matter even more would be if this message somehow made you think something interesting or new.

We share and connect using this thing we call the ‘Internet’, but really it seems like just another iteration of the kinds of communication and sharing that has been going on since some Cave-dude first scrawled a writing on a wall.

We articulate our perspectives on the world and toss them out there in hopes that maybe the scratches and squiggles will create a bridge between my mind and yours.

One of the most powerful things about the Internet is that it allows us to take the act of message creation and sharing to a scale like never before. The cost of creation is close to zero, as is the cost of sharing and consumption…

And our distribution methods are getting better and more seamless. These words could theoretically reach a billion people within a matter of hours if the message resonated strongly enough for each of you to share it with someone else.

Sharing Is Human

Why do we share? Why did that caveman draw?

I think it has something to do with a human need to know that we aren’t alone here on earth, and also because we are naturally drawn to understand the world around us.

No matter how many times we connect with someone new, no matter how far along we scratch at the surface of the infinitely impossible problem of trying to understand our world, we will keep striving to make new connections and to explore the world around us.

This act of connecting and learning is one of the central pieces of what it means to be human. It allows us to create a common understanding and resonance with other people out there taking taking this same exciting journey.

‘Internet’ = ‘Equality’

One of the things I have been most excited about lately is taking the concept of sharing and connecting to the next level: our current social networking concepts are old-school, and most simply replicate our existing off-line relationships.

The democratizing power of this medium of sharing and expression is that the ‘Identity’ of the author is less relevant than the resonance of the message. While you are in the flow of reading the message, I could be a 47 year old writing in Calcutta as much as I could be a 29 year old writing in Cambridge.

Ultimately, I think sharing content in ways above and beyond our traditional social structures is what makes this next iteration of ‘social networking’ on the ‘Internet’ so exciting.

What is pretty rad is that this is simply an expression of the *Dream* of Dr. King, and it is something that the market is creating for us.

The Internet lets us hack-the-system to connect and share in ways that are revolutionary, and the fact that our natural tendency is to ignore creed and ethnicity makes me deeply hopeful about the innate nature of humankind – deep down we are more interested in the content of the minds and their ability to relate to us than we are about any of the other ‘filters’ on which people fixate.

By having a more accelerated and efficient filtering process between the various different in-person connections that we share, each of these moments can be more potent, rich, and more fulfilling.

As we continue to optimize these connections, our lives are are becoming more creative and ultimately more productive in ways that are fundamentally altering what it means to be human…and that is a pretty sweet thing.

Just what the next level of connecting and sharing will look like remains to be seen. In the mean time, thanks for taking a moment to ride along with me.

5 thoughts on “On The Internet

  1. Nicki Brøchner Nielsen

    Interesting post, but I think you might be a little bit to much in love with the internet ;D … the internet is and has always been a tool, a tool for communication. That was the intension from the beginning and that is how we still use it. Now in regards to why people share, I think that the answer is not in the need for community even though I will give that humans have that need, but we get that fulfilled somewhere else.

    Now the whole idea of sharing comes with the recognition that we can’t in anyway productive produce all goods and services that we need our self therefore we divide the production of the services and good between us and share.

    I know that the kind of sharing you are talking about it share with a community and then get a sense of belonging and a idea of identity, but I don’t believe that the internet in some special way have given us that. It is just a tool of mass communication in the same way as Radio, TV and Newspapers is, or was.

    Reply
  2. Dave Post author

    Appreciate the thoughts…I think the key for me is that the stuff we communicate *about* – life, sports, music, whatnot – is where the interesting aspect of the kind of ‘sharing’ I have in mind takes place.

    By having conversations around the content that we previously just consumed in a more dynamic manner, we learn from one another and have a more rich experience of life.

    The ‘Internet’ in my mind is nothing special in any fundamental sense…it just represents a transition point in the cost/speed/efficacy of our communications and conversations.

    Reply
  3. Vicki

    Nicki & Dave:

    No. :)
    And I mean that in the nicest way.

    The Internet (which I have known since the early 80′s, long before it became synonymous with The Web) is so much more than “just a tool of mass communication in the same way as Radio, TV and Newspapers is, or was.” Because radio, tv, and newspapers were, and are, one way. The Internet is two-way.

    We listen to the radio, read the newspaper, sit and stare vapidly at television. But on the Internet we talk. No one shares in the “old” forms of communication media. The Internet allows us to have a conversation.

    Reply
  4. Anthony Tsung

    Dal, Thanks for the vote of confidence. Love the content. Yea, I really see the internet as an global equalizer

    I’ve set up a Trading Fraternity at the secretalpha.com site. Sign up on the main page and you are apart of the SA network and access to the daily market video I am pushing out to members trading in the markets. It comes out daily promtly at 9pm.

    Thanks

    Anthony

    Reply
  5. Sarah Stuart

    Love your answer Vicky and totally agree with the two side of internet, that’s exactly what makes it unique, more or less like the phone, cell or iphone that really don’t have any substitute.
    And i think people can share whatever in the internet and that’s what makes it beautiful in terms of the diversity of subjects and people you can find at any time! :) I love that in it. Diversity.

    Sarah

    Reply

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