The Internet is never more frightening and unpredictable as it is now. Witness yesterday as a largely typical day: the President of the United States brings Twitter to a standstill not with his choice to step away from a Climate accord, but a typo. Hours later his mistake is still the news, whilst the British General election debate is viewed and commented on by millions simultaneously not simply via their TV’s but a dazzling array of social media platforms. The clever politicians already grasp that it isn’t just about the quotes that will make tomorrow’s newspapers: pick the right sound byte and it’ll can become a Meme before the average person’s boiled their kettle and the Debate is over. Once upon a time, online was just for academics and gamers: not any more. Now, this is the place that Governments fear and want to control, that they’ll blame from everything from extremism to bad press for themselves. It is also the place advertisers desperately need to monetise, with the data you willingly (and often without realising) hand over becoming as valuable as the Bitcoin currency hackers favour as their extortion reward of choice.
As a result, there has never been a better time to learn how the Internet can truly work for you.
For most, getting the best out of their virtual world largely involves shutting off the noise of objectionable souls they don’t want to hear, laughing at cat pictures and watching porn. We all know what the Internet is good for, but when was the last time you truly challenged yourself using it? Honestly, at the end of a hard day you’d rather switch off and watch Netflix, I understand this completely. The reason why I’m launching the Internet of Words is to try and make people consider the possibility that perhaps there could be more to the World Wide Web than esports and Seniors React to Anything videos on You Tube. Education isn’t only possible, but should be always be encouraged. I’m hoping to use the raw materials around me and present both knowledge and information by combining the present and past, to present a new view on the future.
However much certain people moan over how bad the Internet is, and that they don’t like what it is becoming, it is their ignorance and arrogance which fuels the very negativity they perceive. There is immense good to be found here, if you will only take the opportunity to stop and think. That’s the first main objective of my project: learning to think objectively, so that when something is viewed that could be considered as objectionable, time is taken to understand what it is and why it has been presented. Often, as was the case with the Presidential typo, it was a mistake that eventually got deleted, but not before it fuelled the creativity, frustration and disbelief of millions of people. If the right person can do that with just 140 words as their limit, think what could be possible if you wrote more. The problem is, of course, most people don’t want more, they need less (and with pictures) or else it simply doesn’t register… and that’s why, in the face of such desires to make things compact and concise, I’ve turned up and asked people to think about reading more than a tweet at a time.
I may be insane, but I believe more rather than less is the way forward.
So, I invite you to come with me and relearn how to see and think for yourself in a Digital Age. Once you understand what people do with images and words, we’ll start exploring what the past can tell us in reference to the future, how science can help predict outcomes, how knowledge really is power.
I hope this journey will enlighten as well as educate, and I can’t wait to begin.