Golden and Loving It
Believe it or not, we are now living in The Golden Age of the World-Wide Web. Enjoy it while you can, for it shall not last long. Especially if the computer industry has its way. They want every noodnik with a modem and a hard drive traipsing around the internet 24 hours a day so they can provide the means for the traipser’s well-being while on the Web. It’ll be a never-ending tourist season of noodniks for us seasoned Webbers as we slay and wheedle away those unwelcomed gawkers armed with cable modems and unlimited Web access for $5 a month.
Brother, Can You Spare Some Change?
Change isn’t bad. America is based upon change, but right now Web surfers (if you’re reading this, you’re one of them!) are in the Age of DiMaggio and Mantle rounding the bases, The Lunts alive on Broadway (and the Tony Award for “Best Revival” hasn’t been invented yet) and Uncle Milty and Fred Allen piping out of your radio. Drink it in now, for it’ll be a memory tomorrow.
Web in Bloom
Can’t Read? Take a Hike!
Right now, the Web is text based with a few graphics tossed in to spice your attention. The Web today, in many ways, is an Elitist’s paradise. If you aren’t educated, technically advanced and a good writer, your life is doomed to slovenliness. This Golden Age of Web Snobbery can’t last, alas, for history and horses know that the elasticity of time shall always bring down the pinnacles of Frothy Intellect to that of Jedermann and The Bell Curve as sure as tomorrow turns to today at midnight.
When The Word Vanishes
Soon the Web will be live video only and the text that we cherish now, along with the ability to speak and construct the written word, will vanish. Your home computer will become your main source of entertainment and we’ll all move from being couch potatoes to being vegetables in computer chairs! Our new national mantra will become “Keep the eyeballs moving” and the physical body will shred deeper into flab.
Reading, Writing and Webbing
Right now if you can’t read and write, you’re doomed on the Web. Enjoy this requirement while you can for it shant last. The Web is ruled by the mighty worded sword today. You search for information, you find it in text form. You join a newsgroup and, in order to defend yourself, and make your points, you use syntax and punctuation and vocabulary to build the universe: the person who can put together the best grouping of sentences wins. The Web creates character and intelligence. You can learn just by lurking.
Community of Anonymity
Right now on the Web you are who you want to be. If you’re strong and confident, you use your real name and you stand behind what you say. If you’re a coward, you can hide your true identity and mail bomb folks anonymously and post newsgroup flames under a silly comic book name. You can also dig for information without leaving a trail. You can research your enemies without being seen, find the best deal, and be up to the moment on any topic without ever having to prove your identity or leave home.
Check Out Time
Soon, the Web will be like the library and Pay-Per-View: You want information? Identify yourself with a picture ID, hand in a slew of numbers stamped on a silicon credit card chip, and get ready to pay through the nose for the lead you used to get for free (and take for granted!) on the Web.
The biggest proof of us living in the middle of The Golden Age of the Web is email. We compare email counts with our friends like stacking poker chips in a card game: the guy who has the most, wins! Unlike the telephone, where we hide behind call waiting, answering machines and voice mail… we yearn for email. We check our email regularly.
More Popular than God
Some of us even set up our mail readers to check for mail every five minutes! Email has become the Princess phone of our Modern Age: to have email is proof of our popularity and true cultural hipness. Beware, however, that with the advent of “Internet Telephones”, our love affair with email can only fade like smoke signals from a mountaintop. We’ll soon be using answering machine software in our computers to allow us to hide from our ringing Internet Telephones. Why write email when you can reach out and ring up someone on the Internet instead?
News All the Time
The Web jumps with life. If something happens in the world, it will be dissected and discussed and debated instantly on the Web. The Web is where we go to find fellowship with folks who share the same desperate desire to keep in contact with information (but not necessarily people). Today’s Web is the penultimate Highbrow melting pot: Everyone is welcome, all you have to bring to get in is a brain, the ability to construct an English sentence, and a curiosity for the unknowable. When this Golden Age ends, the only requirement for getting into the Web will be the ability to keep your eyeballs moving in their sockets.
The End is Nigh
Enjoy the Web now while you can. Bless your 28.8 modem, for the ‘morrow brings you incredible speed and live video that we only dreamt about 2 years ago and everybody’s gonna wanna “get on it” and have some! Right now you may think life on the Web is cutting edge. It isn’t, really. We’re just Pioneers in the Wild West of the World-Wide Web. We’re hungry and lonesome, we’re looking for anonymous friends with faces we’ve never seen, and all the while… we just keep hoping for more email.
The Web Without Us
Soon, the whole world will be online. But we won’t be here. We won’t be here because “here” will have become the domain of what we came here to hide from: the sameness of our passé Middle Class lives. We’ll have run from our email and will only dream back to these halcyon days of picking a High Graphics Route or a Low Graphics Route. We’ll have moved on to the next Big Thang of Technology. We’ll have had to blaze yet another path into a whole new Golden Age born out of the necessity of giving our lives purpose and meaning beyond our commonday grip. I’ll meet you in line to buy a Global Satellite Telephone.