Monday, July 23, 2012

How Fast They Grow

Download: The True Story of the Internet. The screen came to life with the character pictured to the right, John Heilemann. Having been sick for several days now (weeks, more likely at this point) I was not feeling up to the flashy and jerky camera work and in-your-face reporting of this bald man about whom I'd never heard. Averting my eyes at key times allowed me to take in the information presented in this documentary and learn even more about people who have made ridiculous amounts of money for products we can't even touch yet have changed our lives infinitesimally over the past ten years.

I give credit to the producers of this video, the quick pace and action grabs the viewer's attention and certainly represents how quickly these internet ventures grow- with lightning speed.

The second video in this series of four, entitled Search, starts where the creation of the World Wide Web left off in the last video we viewed in class. Right now, we are so accustomed to search engines that we couldn't imagine the internet without them, but there was actually a time before Yahoo! and Google existed! There was a point well-made by Heilemann, which was that it used to be dangerous to search the internet before Google, because the wrong term could get you to some pretty sketchy places. In 1999, my favorite band was called Orgy. I didn't dare search for these guys, I made SURE I had the right web address! It was fascinating to see that these search engines were created, again, by young slackers (as slackery as they get after getting in to Stanford, I suppose...) who just enjoyed fooling around with computers. Seeing a trend there. I like how ideas grew from each site as it was developed, which would inevitably turn into another, even more progressive, idea. And so quickly!

The fourth video of the series, People and Power was so great to watch. I was a pre-teen obsessed with music when the Napster craze started -and ended. I remember being in a web design style class in middle school, making a fan page about Blink 182 and The Ataris, bands no one had ever heard of at the time. While working in the computer lab, I was downloading music by bands whose albums I couldn't get my hands on on the east coast. Shawn Fanning, pictured left, was my hero, as creator of Napster.

When Napster was taken away from us by Metallica (Lars Ulrich, how obnoxious) I kept downloading on Limewire, which was so tedious I just gave up. When I got to college in 2004, the music trade was in huge effect on campus. At this time, iTunes was the thing and we could listen to each others accounts, but not download. It was also at this time that Facebook came around.

As a freshman in college, Facebook was brand new and I had no idea how to use it, but I signed up anyway. Then within a few months, I figured it out and everyone at my school was on it, and new colleges were popping up on it at a crazy rate. I guess I was lucky to go to school at UConn, which I didn't know was so close to the origin of Facebook at Harvard. At the time that this documentary was made, Myspace was still bigger than Facebook. I don't think that's the case now; is there a Myspace movie out there starring the delicious Jesse Eisenberg? Guest starring Justin Timberlake? No.  My own Myspace page is like a ghost town, never to be visited again after it truly became unnecessary in 2008 after Facebook gave me no reason to go back there.

These videos offered some great insight. It's insane how quickly the internet changes and how it changes us.

All images acquired through Google Images, as usual.

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