Why I am Passionate About The Web
My introduction to computers was not technically remarkable considering that I started out with an archaic machine that my parents bought from a garage sale. Nevertheless, my journey with this wonderfully amazing feat of human endeavour in technology has been nothing but sublime.
My first attempts at programming were by means of a book that came with the computer from the aforementioned garage sale which we used to hook to the TV; less than ideal when compared to my experiences with the web today.
Although I did not fully comprehend at the time, I suppose like with all significant things in life when they occur, my journey was to take me through a trip of discovery and absorbed engagement, enjoyment and fulfilment the moment I discovered the lnternet and the World Wide Web.
Despite not being immediate, it was not long before the realisation hit me that with the web lies enumerable opportunity and within it optimal potential never before imagined. This is why to this day, and increasingly so, I am so passionate about the web.
Perhaps one of the strongest defining characteristic of being human is our need to be connected to others. This need drives a myriad of our activities from affectionate relationships to business and everything in-between. Wherever we are, even if in our own unique way, we seek meaningful connection with others and the web as it has evolved today enables us to express this need in new and interesting ways.
This explains the success and explosion of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, where for some it is almost an obsession to count the number of likes or shares their post receives because it gives us a sense of the level we are connected to those in our circles. Not only is this phenomenon observable in social interactions, but we see it in professional contexts as well, the social platform Linkedin being a case in point.
Connectedness is more than social. It is also functional in an elemental sense with other phenomenon such as Github, the software repository that allows collaboration in software projects at a level never before seen. We are now able to conduct business with individuals or groups across vast ranges of space in real time and coordinate personal or business communications at an ever decreasing cost and ever increasing convenience.
Finding ways to minimise cost has always been a major factor in most of the decisions we make. It, for instance, answers the question of where we are going to live in relation to our commute to work or whether to manufacture locally or outsource parts of business operations to some remote country our clients have never heard of.
The web has helped to reduce the complexity in answering questions of cost by virtue of the fact that it deals in information. With the rise of the web, it has become increasingly cheaper to transport information, to the point of negligible cost. This is a far cry from the days of carrier pigeons or in more recent times, the Post Office.
This decrease in costs of transmission of information is universally accessible to everyone who has the infrastructure to access the web. This has resulted in a multiplying effect for anyone fortunate enough to access this valuable technological marvel.
There are indirect benefits that arise from the decrease in the cost of transmitting information as well. For one thing, efficiency in general gets a major boost as operations run faster and smother.
All participants in an information based society are well informed and this translates to positive results overall for business as well as individuals. This further translates to better project management as well as customer management that improve outcomes for business even further.
Market research and advertising also receive a significant boost that is unimaginable without the Web. At the end of the day, all this translates to better customer service and in turn positive outcomes for business as well as humanity.
Levelling the Playing Field
In recent times, it has become increasingly easier for small businesses and organization or even individuals to break into the market and have just as good an impact as a fairly major player in that market with more resources at its disposal.
This can be attributed to the wide array of professional tools now easily available at comparatively lower prices than, say ten years ago. Although this was mostly true only for IT businesses then, this is no longer the case as it now easily applies to a wider range of organizations. For example computing developments like cloud computing and big data are playing a major role in levelling the playing field for businesses and organizations of all sizes in an ever more connected society.
The Web democratises information and the tools that come with that democratization. The blog post titled Technology: The Great Equaliser explores the power and potential of technology to level the playing field. Just as the introduction of the printing press in the 15th Century democratised knowledge by making it widely available to the general public, the democratization of information and software tools that come along with the Web promotes innovation and results in a major jump in people’s welfare.
With the democratization of information, you do not necessarily need to be a huge player to make a huge impact as similar tools are available to you at a fraction of the cost historically associated with them, and in some cases, like with open source software, possibly for free.
Increasing Engagement and Promoting Transparency
Whatever your business or undertaking, the web increases engagement with your target audience. It is easy to see how this is possible once you consider the fact that what is made available online is accessible to anyone with an online connection- all the time.
Of course, there is necessary work required to bring visitors to your website, but the enormous potential cannot be denied.
An added advantage for society to increased engagement is that the Web is a powerful medium to promote transparency since anything published can be accessible to the general public. This can promote accountability especially for organizations of a public nature such as charities or political parties.
Is It All Gravy?
As passionate as I am about the Web and all its positive attributes, it cannot be denied that there are some negative connotations that come with the concept and perhaps it is not all gravy.
The web has its share of negatives ranging from Internet addiction, child pornography and predatory behaviour, cyber bullying or fraud- the list goes on.
Whilst acknowledging there are negatives, I strongly believe the Web has more to offer in positives just like anything else human society values and it is our collective responsibility as users of this invaluable resource to make the Web safe whilst maximising our ability to reap its positive benefits and minimize negative outcomes.