Thoughts on Week 11

A few points in Kirschenbaum’s talk (Distance Mirrors and the LAMP) made me rethink a few things about the internet and how we use it. But firstly, he distinguishes the difference between ‘World-Wide Web’ and ‘Web’. People usually put the two together and assume that they mean the same thing. This makes complete sense and to be honest, I also made the same mistake. Kirschenbaum mentions how ‘Web’ refers to the “older” form of the internet, when there was the debate between using Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. He refers to this form of the internet as the “flatland”. Which was quite amusing to me because it reminded me of how we used to refer to our own planet. We believed that the world was flat when indeed it was round this whole time, it has dimension! And this is kind of how I imagined the Web was like, as just this simple bone structure of its potential and the meatier parts haven’t quite been developed yet. And then I think about the concept of the ‘World-Wide Web’ and it’s completely true! Over the years, the internet has globalized. We are able to retrieve information from the other side of the world, we are able to communicate with people from different countries, and we are able to share in this global experience and experience things in real-time.

Listservs was another component that Kirschenbaum introduces to us. It was the “real backbone of scholarly communication” and that was fundamentally what the internet was mostly used for. With listservs, “you didn’t have to worry about how many followers you had or if you were popular or pithy enough to be retweeted. You didn’t have to ask someone else if you could be their friend in order to converse with them”. And I found this to be an interesting way to look at the transformation of the internet. We are so concerned with social media and the social aspects of the internet, but in comparison¬†with the early years of the internet it was all about information and the sharing of our knowledge. Do you think we’ve strived far from this or has the internet only added features that can assist us with sharing more information? Personally, I don’t know which side we are leaning with but I do know that the sharing of information has not ceased. I’ve joined many listservs with the university and receive daily emails from numerous organizations and it’s funny to think that this was one of the “original” features of the internet and it’s still apparent today!

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