Archive for the 'Web' Category

State of the Internet: Email

STATE OF THE INTERNET: EMAIL

It is regularly being said that “Email is dead.”

And while it’s true that Millennials often remain within the walled garden of Facebook or their mobile devices, email was the way most Boomers came to know messaging on the Internet.

I say:

“Email is dead, is dead.”

Long live email. Here’s a picture of what it looked like last year… along with statistics on websites, users, browsers, and social media: (click on image for a larger view)

State of the Internet: Email

Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

Information Reformation

I wrote the following article over a dozen years ago when I was a technology evangelist at Sun. Back in the mid-’90s, we were experienced the early part of the first wave of “The Web.” Today, with the advent of Web 2.0 technologies we’re seeing an explosion in different dimensions. Wikis, social networking, mass collaboration, blogging, and Instant Messaging have expanded what was largely a “reader oriented” phenomenon into a dynamic read-write participatory platform. While the mantle of managing information has passed to a new generation of companies, the basic principles about information production and exponential growth remain the same.

On a related note, today celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first message sent across the the Internet.


barilan_internet_thumb.jpgINFORMATION REFORMATION

Every October 31, we observe the anniversary of the German Reformation. Presently, there is a lot of talk about the Internet Explosion. There are several significant similarities between the two.
Indeed, one could call it the “Information Reformation.”

HIGHLIGHTS:

1) Common Language:

  • Luther made previously exclusive information accessible to the common man by publishing in the common language (German), not the language of scholars (Latin).
  • With the aid of graphical tools like Mosaic, Netscape or the HotJava browsers (a Java-based browser from Sun), anyone can easily read the Internet and discover new information without knowing classical Geek.

2) Common Format:

  • Luther published pamphlets, extending the existing single page “broadside” to multiple pages in quarto and octavo sizes. He featured pictures using the finest woodcuts and engravings of the times.
  • Graphical Web browsers that take advantage of open, standard HTML make information pictorial and, with advanced Java capabilities, dynamic, and multimedia.

3) Mass Distribution:

  • barilan_internet_thumb.jpgLuther’s 95 Theses, with the aid of the movable type printing press invented a few decades before his birth, were distributed to the masses. Within two weeks, it had spread throughout Germany. Within a month, it was all over Europe. By the end of the year, it had spread beyond the Holy Roman Empire.
  • With the availability of interconnected computer networks, like those offered by Sun, information is quickly distributed all over the World Wide Web.

4) Unprecedented Growth:

  • Between 1517 and 1523, publications in Germany increased 7 times. Half were Luther’s writings.
  • The growth of the Internet and the availability of information on the Web has grown phenomenally, with a growth curve that appears almost biological.

5) Broadcast Marketing

  • Luther took advantage of the new printing press to “evangelize” his views on theology and detract from his competitors with his pamphlets.
  • Many companies, organizations, and individuals now take advantage of Internet home pages to “market” and promote their product, offerings, and views.

BACKGROUND:

In the 16th century, as a result of a dispute concerning certain Church practices, a German University professor posted a call for debate on their equivalent of a bulletin board, the door of the Castle Church. These 95 Theses were not intended as a call to reformation but a quiet, scholarly discussion of theological issues.

So it was, on October 31, 1517, that this 33 year old Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door, marking what historians conveniently use as a coat hanger for the beginning of the Reformation.

But it was two significant things that changed history: first, one of Luther’s students took the original Latin 95 Theses and translated them into German, the language of the common man. Now they were available to anyone who could read.

Secondly, with the aid of the movable type printing press, invented not far away in Maintz by Gutenberg toward the end of the previous century, copies were distributed to the masses. It became a veritable manifesto for change.

Thus it is with the spread of the Internet. So one could say we’re currently experiencing more than an Internet Explosion or Revolution, but an Information Reformation.

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian
www.billpetro.com

© Bill Petro – visit http://blog.billpetro.com for more great content.

Related posts:

  1. History of October 31
  2. History of Inauguration Day