Internet reality check

The internet is a tool of communication, nothing more.

This castle is a legacy of its builders to future generations, has existed longer than the internet, and will last longer than anything anyone publishes on the internet today.

This Colchester castle is a legacy of its builders to future generations, has existed longer than the internet, and will last longer than anything anyone publishes on the internet today.

The owner of an internet forum I sometimes visit thanked all their supporters announcing their forum was their legacy to the world. “Fool,” was my immediate thought.  Legacy in my opinion means something tangible left to others in the material world: a planted tree, children, a business, a work of art.  The internet is an ephemeral medium, only a fool would think anything can last more than a few years on the internet.

The internet is a fast-moving medium.  Information posted to the internet exists only whilst the host, the server, the electricity that powers the internet lasts.  Millions of customers of Kim Dotcom lost their business and personal information when a host erased it from their servers, millions more fear the same fate awaits them after their information fell into the hands of government agencies.

To me the internet is a tool of communication, an advance upon the days when Native Americans communicated with each other with smoke signals from a fire.  Unless the internet ever became conscious, the moment when your computer develops an attitude and answers back if you swear at it, the so-called moment of singularity, the internet will only ever be a tool of communication. Even if we reach the moment when the internet can run our homes, offices and cars, it is still a mere communication tool making this happen.  The internet reality check is an awareness the internet is a mere clever communication tool, nothing more. People build legacies in the real world, never the internet.


10 responses to “Internet reality check

  1. Excellent point. I hadn’t heard anyone thinking that what is put on internet boards is a legacy but I imagine the many people who think their ‘I washed my hair today’ comment on their Fb timeline is placed there to make their mark in history. It is a wonderful way to reach a very large number of people with a message that may change social beliefs – but given the slow rate at which values change, even that would be rare.

    • One problem of the internet is that there is so much junk and misinformation thus the pearls get lost in the random white noise, this then contributes to the slow rate of change via the medium of the internet.

  2. The essence of the internet is fluid and everchanging. Very little that is published on the internet ever stays, or stays the same… Which is why I don’t think we will ever be wholly rid of books and magazines.

  3. Even concrete doesn’t last forever, why should something as ethereal as the internet?


  4. While the internet is a great tool of information.. So are many books.. But the convenience of searching for specific things is useful..Quicker than I could walk to the local library, let alone search the shelves!..
    The Internet can either be used as an en-lightener or the legacy if it leaves if it has one will be how it has numbed the mind!, especially of the young who get caught in the trap of using it as a games console instead of connecting to nature and seeing how life works in reality instead of the make-believe world of animation..

    • Certainly as a source of information the internet has advantages over the library, especially if a library is far away or not available. Thanks for your comment Sue.

  5. I can’t see anything I say on the internet as my legacy, what I do in real life and the values I am able to instill in my loved ones for them to build on is my legacy.

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