Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"I'm shocked - shooked! - that the Web existed before 2000!"

Okay, this columnist, Farhad Manjoo, at Slate is officially driving me nuts. He seems clueless about technology and the Web. But, he gets paid to write a column at Slate. After tackling online college lectures (an emerging phenom a year or two ago), why satellite radio sucks, and why Microsoft should copy the Apple Store in recent columns, he turns to history.

Today's piece is about the state of the Web, circa 1996. He got the inspiration for the piece by noting that someone asked him what it was like to browse the web way back when.

So, he does some research in the Internet Archives and old editions of "Time" magazine and comes to the conclusion that people could read Slate, look at the weather, and play the Kevin Bacon Game. In other words, there wasn't diddly squat there.

I beg to differ.

The Web, in many ways, was quite interesting in those early days. Of course, Manjoo just talks about the commercial Web, ignoring the many websites of academics, artists and individuals that were the backbone of the Internet we know and love today.

He seems amazed that people were "blogging" before 1999, when the term came into existence. No doubt he would be surprised that people were actually creating their own content for the Web before Web 2.0, YouTube, blogs, wikis and all the rest of it.

Sigh. It's columns like this that make me browse to Slate less and less.

article at Slate

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