Column is a monthly feature that follows the lives
of creative people and explores the world of creativity.
de Sousa, Director, AbleStable
As large businesses subsume the independent web
enthusiast, I ponder the future where the individual
voice may be drowned out by commercial corporations
that exploit their formidable resources to capture
and hold the interests of the average web citizen.
of my own
I close a window for one of a number of reasons:
I need to keep the warm in, I need to keep the cold
out, I want to keep my home secure. As the Internet
matures, large corporations are closing windows
everywhere in an attempt to quash the competition,
increase revenue flows, and develop brand exposure.
In twenty years from now the Internet will offer
unimaginable services and technologies that perhaps
only a team of developers with specialist skills
and tools will be equipped to deliver. Some fear
the chance for recognition and success will become
more difficult to achieve for those trying to establish
an independent foothold on the shifting sand dunes
that define our electronic virtual world.
I've noticed how many of the best independent web
sites are slowly but surely being taken over by
the big boys. The search for financial gain has
become the dominant driving force in the development
of the Internet, and the role of the community minded
individual working from a room of their own using
a single computer has become crucial in offsetting
the emphasis of commercially oriented content and
Virtual imperialism is everywhere. Take searchenginewatch.com,
a great resource for those wishing to learn about
how to get their site noticed.
A year after searchenginewatch.com launched, Jupitermedia
(an Internet monolith that is responsible for Internet.com
and Earthweb.com) took over the running of the site.
Danny Sullivan, searchenginewatch.com's founder,
became its Editor. In future, long after Danny moves
on, searchenginewatch.com will continue to be a
part of Jupitermedia (Jupitermedia Corporation now
owns the domain name). I suspect Jupitermedia will
protect its acquired brand, and continue to move
the most valuable informational aspects of the site
towards a fully paid subscription service.
If I were a hard nosed businessman representing
a corporation such as Jupitermedia, I'd disseminate
just enough information to the Internet community
for my reputation as an information provider to
remain intact, but I'd also ensure I didn't disclose
information that provided my competitors with an
edge, and there's the rub.
While searchenginewatch.com was an independent entity,
the dissemination of information conformed to a
simple model: get a little for free, get it all
by paying. In future the third part of the equation,
the political aspect, will ensure the little man
finds it increasingly hard to view the whole picture.
The commercial temptation to ensure the greatest
advantage remains with the keeper of information
is simply too great.
As time passes, so larger commercial entities consolidate
and protect their interests. It's a lot like Darwin's
model of natural selection. Those who will be best
equipped to survive and dominate the Internet of
the future, are those who inherent or develop certain
resources and 'tools of exposure'.
to all men
As you pick up a paper and scan the creative job
columns you'll often find a web site designer listed.
The potential employer usually stipulates on the
add the successful applicant has to be expert in
graphic design, content editorial, html, php, asp,
sql, and just about any web technology you can think
of. Someone may well profess to be all things to
all men, but they are of course kidding themselves
as much as their potential employer.
The development of Macromedia's web site editor
Dreamweaver is testament to how web design has become
increasingly more complex. To presume one individual
can exploit Dreamweaver's full potential is simply
There is however one fundamental principle that
will ensure the independent voice continues to be
heard across the growing cacophony of the commercial
Internet: individuals, not collectives, have ideas.
All anyone needs to become a writer of distinction
is a pen and paper, hard work, and something to
say. All you'll ever need to see your work published
is Internet access and the web address of a willing
and capable publisher like AbleStable.
The Internet of the future will be like the urban
city of today with it's commercial centres, community
areas, suburbs, and ghettos, but one crucial difference
will remain: those with Internet access will have
a window of opportunity to explore and deliver the
labours of their creativity that is so often denied
them in their real world existence...
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