Is the Web “dead”?

Responding to our latest prompt, “Is the Web dead?” has been quite challenging for me, which is why I’ve waited so late to blog.  To help answer this question, I tallied some arguments for and against the death of the Web from The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet.

Some reasons that the Web is dead (or dying):

1) As Anderson says, “Fast beats flexible” when it comes to using the Net v. Web.  In general, I think this statement is true, but it also depends on how much time users are willing to put into their Internet experience.  While “fast” is nice, it don’t think it necessarily equates to “better”.  Regardless, I agree that the convenience of applications definitely threatens the Web’s future.

2) Considering the statement, “Users are always looking for something new,” also argues in favour of the Web’s death.  While the novelty of the web helped initially popularize it, by 2010, it’s somewhat passé, so users are naturally looking for more exciting mediums through which they can experience the Internet.  In this sense, there seems to be a digital life cycle, and the Web’s death is just a consequence of following this natural path.

3)  “Megalomaniacs” are trying their hardest to dominate Google, which essentially requires them to create “an alternative to the Web,” because “it was impossible for anyone else doing business in the traditional Web to be bigger or even competitive with Google.”  Depending on the success of entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs (who appear to be quite successful, in my opinion), I agree that competition for Internet power could contribute to the Web’s death.  Google, like Rome, cannot remain invincible forever.

And a few reasons why the Web is not dead (or dying):

1) “The Web is, after all, just one of the many applications that exist on the Internet.”  If the Web is an application, perhaps it, too, will be adapted to more efficient devices (i.e. not laptops) as other applications have been (granted, my phone doesn’t even text, let alone access the Internet, so this could be already true and I wouldn’t even know the difference.)

2)  Anderson states, “the great virtue of today’s Web is that so much of it is noncommercial.  The wide-open Web of peer production, the so-called generative Web where everyone is free to create what they want, continues to thrive, driven by the nonmonetary incentives of expression, attention, reputation, and the like.” For the same reasons that I personally disagree with “Fast beats flexible,” I think this statement is very true. While Facebook and Skype are convenient, I don’t like that they are pre-streamlined for me. I want some say in my Internet experience, and the Web is definitely more conducive to fulfilling this need. The fact that DS106 has already taught me how to create my own digital space makes me favour blogging to the predefined nature of Facebook.

After thinking about the “blame us” versus “blame them” arguments for the apparent death of the Web, my initial reaction to The Web is Dead was that this dilemma is essentially a matter of money and Internet control.  So, yes, the Web is dead if the “megalomaniacs” get their way, fueled simply by the fact that Web “would never bring in the bucks.”  But, considering the influence of the “long tail” and Anderson’s final remarks about the Web’s ability to incite “nonmonetary” creativity, I think it will be difficult for larger Internet corporations to metaphorically kill the Web entirely.  Perhaps younger Internet users who haven’t grown up with the Web will be more easily swayed, but when I think about the generations that did grow up using Web 2.0, it’ll be a harder sell.

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