Free World Wide Web – a blessing or a curse?

Sending an e-mail – an action we take for granted nowadays, was something that people have not even imagined by the time when the computer was a vast machine occupying an entire room and requiring the attendance of a white-coated priesthood. Today the list of the things we can do on the Internet is much bigger. We can claim that all the activities in the routine of a contemporary man are related to it – talking to friends, shopping or listening to music. All of these are mediated over the Internet but we access them through the World Wide Web… for free?!

Tim Berners Lee 960 x 585

Tim Berners-Lee, pioneer of the World Wide Web, c 1990s.

I think that the second most wondrous thing in the history of the Internet (after the invention of Internet) is that Tim Berners-Lee decided not to make money out of the creation of the World Wide Web and opened up access to a public good. He offered the community a free “storehouse of knowledge”. But is gaining knowledge what the majority of people are using the WWW service for? I highly doubt it and I doubt what Tim Berners-Lee meant by “bringing people into communion with each other” was users wasting their time on Facebook, being obsessed with posting photos of their food on Instagram or being redirected to Donald Trump’s Wikipedia page when they type http://www.loser.com in the browser.

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2 Comments

  1. I disagree with your opinion on the idea of Tim Berners-Lee’s statement “bringing people into communion with each other”, I feel as if he wanted to give the public as much opportunity as possible to communicate with one another, when he decided to make the Internet free for all to use. After all, he was a smart man and understood other smart individuals like him would expand on his original invention to create many different various websites, it is down to us how we react to this technology, we could potentially use Facebook for promotional purposes or Instagram to promote your photography business.

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  2. I respectfully disagree as well with your position. Your reasons are completely understandable for making this assertions and I like your critical angle. However, we could also argue that “wasting time on Facebook or Instagram” is a personal choice of each individual. Most of us have power of will to choose what to do with the Internet, and I don’t believe Berner-Lee would have imagined what would people do with it nor what companies would have emerged years later. Moreover, as, berksie noted, social media can be used for beneficial purposes, like finding a relative of yours or promoting yourself . Finally, I think there are many websites you could use to increase your personal knowledge.

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