Sunday, January 9, 2011

The History of Web Exploration

Web exploration is like a space voyage. We started out as little "internauts" in our Netscape shuttles, peering through the windows of our browsers as we passed by complex and fascinating planets (sites). Just like early man, we were Internet nomads. Netscape made us little navigateurs, enabling us to zip around.

Then Google decided to organize the universe, creating Google Search so we could surf more efficiently, like intergalactic space travelers. Firefox, the browser, even came along with wallpaper and add-ons, letting us decorate our little space shuttles.

Recently, a shift in paradigm has become evident. A huge battle is waging for the ownership of our intergalactic souls. Apple wants us to live and travel exclusively on their Iphone, Ipad and Ipod shuttles, video "facetime" chatting only with other Apple shuttle owners and shopping at their Itunes store. Google, who has been the preferred method of travel for cruising the online universe, gives away rival mobile operating systems...and meanwhile there is a mass  immigration to planet Facebook, thus shifting the whole Internet travel paradigm.

With Facebook, instead of being nomadic space travelers, many became planetary agrarians, playing Farmville and naturally, Cityville followed. While we used to travel around, Facebook recreates the sense of sitting on our couch, hanging out with our Facebook friends and "liking" our favorite beer. Facebook's addictive power is in mimicking how people perceive the daily world -- centered in their point of view, networked to family, friends and peers by common interests.

What many of us visitors to planet Facebook find is that once you visit, it’s hard to leave. Many businesses have moved there simply because not to do business there would be the equivalent of not having a storefront at the local mall  in the 70's.

Once landed, you find yourself easily slipping into a mode where you are getting your information from Facebook. I have a feeling Facebook is getting much more for "free" than its users are, and the commercialization is going to be growing by leaps and bounds in 2011 now that the planet has a thriving population.  As one Facebook expert put it, “Web sites are irrelevant; you can now build your shopping cart in Facebook, you can do your business in Facebook"  and you have to do it there, because this is where all your customers are spending their time online.

The Facebook threads entangle the user, and if you journey elsewhere, you may develop symptoms including disorientation and a sense of being cut off from your life source!

Internauts to settlers, what next?