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What is the web?
 The web is the defining technological
revolution of our life time.
 Challenges authority
 Untold wealth
 People work for free
 Leveling of power
 The smartest brain in the world

 Discuss the ideas above – are they true?

Importance in History
 Can be compared with the Industrial
revolution in its impact on the world.
 Publishing and distributing.
 Entertainment, information, involvement.
 Global, instant and virtually free
 35m in UK logon every day – extremely
wide reach soon to saturate all areas of
the world
 List what you think are the most
important moments in history. Times,
inventions, people who changed the
course of history.
What do Brits do on the internet?
 Spend money
 Fall in love
 Sexual kicks
 Express opinion

 The great leveling of humanity

 Equal voice, equal access, no formal
control – is this an example of Marxist
 What do you do on the internet? What will
you do in 5 years? 10 years? Speculate.
Who created it and why?
 Internet as rebellion
 Created by societies misfits – socially inept, not
part of the main stream, not part of the corporate
world or government.
 Leveling – creating something which makes
everyone equal was the goal of web creator Tim

 Is there a conflict between ideology of web and

human nature, desire to control and profit?
 Write a paragraph exploring this idea. Can you
give examples.
 Most important information source in the
 Equal access to authorship
 65M use each month
 Truth, knowledge not created by elite but
by masses
 Undercuts authority, free and fulfils
leveling dreams of founding fathers of

 What are it’s faults? Why do you think

teachers are wary of it?
 Connection with counter culture of 60s - San
 Andrew Keen - The Cult of the Amateur
 The Well - early internet
 John Perry Barlow - Grateful Dead

 San Francisco was the birthplace of much of

the technology we take for granted today. It
is a city with a strong alternative life and has
hosted various social rebellions.
Control and access
 Declaration of the independence of
 No formal control
 Universal access via a computer and
 130million blogs
 Is the voice of the people now heard
so loudly that no one can ignore it?
Al Gore
 Explore use of web
 Use in politics
 Obama, Kenyan elections

 How is the web used in politics?

 Advertising, reaching voters, funding,
ideas, changing thinking? Restricting
movements? What about Iran? What
about China?
Paradigm shifts
 Printing
 Steam
 Internet

 What comes next?

Tim Berners-Lee
 Inventor of www
 Importance of common language -
 Information management: A proposal
 6th August 1991
 Now universal
 Creating URLs, html
 Gave it all for free and did not profit from
 Why? How is this now reflected in what we
see on the web today?
 A new democracy - Stephen Fry
 Bill Gates - about letting people
share information
 Deliberately structured to resist
 No governments, no centre and no
control of authority
 Collision course with established
notions of authority – why?
Vertical or horizontal
 Conventional notions of society
involve hierarchy and are arranged
 What about the web?
 Charles Leadbetter
 Bill Gates
 The personal computer is the template for
 BG Invents basic - language for PC
 Steve Wozniak - co-founder Apple ‘steals’
 BG made billions from creating computer
language and licensing it to others.
 Contrast with Tim Berners-Lee

 Microsoft - monopoly, anti-

competitive practices
 Tension between open source and
commercialism corporate approach
 This tension exists today.
.com boom
 Boom and bust
 Copyright issues:
 Napster - software which will allow sharing
and access - law breaking of millions for
1st time
 Dream of leveling continues - Limewire -
Bit Torrent etc.
 Threat to traditional industries involving
information and entertainment.

 How has industry combated this by using

same techniques?
Attack on middle men
 Direct connections
 Individual publishers
 Youtube - Chad Hurley - founder

 Who loses? Who gains? Why?

Lee Siegel
The Huffington Post

 Re-establishing old hierarchies -

reverse of ideology of its creators.

 Becoming like a conventional

 Lack of regulation allows most
powerful to dominate
 Competition is disappearing?
 Internet has now become dominated
by institutions and that central
control has crept in?
 Government control, corporate
Mirror to society
 Does the internet mirror society? Power,
control, commerce, rebellion
 Was the ideology of leveling inherent on
the creation of the internet simply a pipe
 A place of perpetual re-invention