The Internet is not just some intangible magic that people aren’t aware of. The Internet, the way I see it, is as concrete as touching the keys on this keyboard while I’m writing this paper. I may not be able to physically touch its appearance, but what it has to offer to our society is way more than most of us could have imagined. In this paper I will touch on some aspects of the Internet that have been discussed in the book “Misunderstanding the Internet” and relate certain points to my personal life specifically the topics of abundance and scarcity on the Internet, issues of Internet regulation, and the effect of Web 2.0 has on the future.
“The Internet, as Jarvis so elegantly puts it, ‘kills scarcity and creates opportunities in abundance” (pg. 71). This quote had opened my eyes to how the Internet has impacted on the way I live my day-to-day life. I no longer need scarcity in my vocabulary, if I may be so blunt, but rather embrace abundance like it is the new word for scarcity. We have so much abundance on the Internet; when will “abundance” retire? Business’s, social networking cites, schools, and many, many more physical places have all become virtual. The Internet keeps giving the public more and more of what they want, but when is it enough? And how is it affecting us? When looking at my Internet log I was shocked by how casual I was online. I would rarely look into certain things if it didn’t pertain to my own life, which is quite sad. Even if I came across something interesting, I still breezed by it like I didn’t have enough time for insignificant things that wouldn’t affect me in that moment. This is hard to believe since I have always thought of myself aware of my surroundings, but looking at hard proof I was easily amused by the unimportant “stuff” in my life. This just makes me think that what if one day the Internet become scarce again?
The Internet is a vastly used tool by millions of people who absolutely love it. There is no argument there, but has is the government inclined to step in to regulate certain areas and aspects of it? The book talks a lot about the issues of Internet regulation and when to know enough is enough. According to Kevin Kelly, “No one controls the Net, no one is in charge. The U.S. government, which indirectly subsidizes the Net, woke up one day to find that a Net had spun itself, without much administration or oversight, among the terminals of the techno-elite. The Internet is, as its users are proud to boast, the largest functioning anarchy in the world” (pg. 96) I think Kevin took a very informative tactic when stating “the largest functioning anarchy in the world” because it definitely caught my eye. To say that us, as a society can work together and use our resources wisely without much government regulation is amazing at best, but there are still skeptics wanting to control the Internet because it feels like that is what’s best to reach the Internet’s full potential. According to Friedman, “coercive forms of control will be at best counter-productive and at worst destructive” (pg. 98). The Internet relies on open standards! I thirsts for new and improved data, and awaits for new users to log on everyday. A good example of the government trying to enforce strict policies would be SOPA, which was the Stop Online Piracy Act, meaning they wanted to punish anyone who tried to use materials that weren’t theirs on the Internet. Especially blog cites would be the ones who would get hurt the most because of all the reblogging of photos and writings that many people had no clue where the content came from. The government basically wanted