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Old November 18, 2000, 10:52 PM
Richard Vaughan
Posts: n/a
Default Internet....You Don't Know What You Are.

The other day I was at a BBQ, the great Ozzie BBQ, complete with snags, prawns and a truck load of beer. While there, I did a little survey, I do this when I get together with people, itís a good way to find out what a cross section of the community are thinking.

I called it the "Internet, You Donít Know What You Are" survey.

I wanted to ask others what they thought about the Net and Iíd been talking to my brother during the week who had started out surfing about 12 months ago and he had come to the conclusion that while the Internet held much promise, it was basically a place for..

Lonely people seeking other lonely people.

People who like pornography.

People who like to chat and email others who are lonely, like pornography and or both.

People selling how to (usually) make money information.

Butt jokes and silly gag humour.

Some businesses desperately trying to get the edge over their competitors by going online, but in the process realising that their markets were indeed offline.

Now I know there are thousands if not millions of resources and interesting websites to visit that donít fit the above model and Iím not implying that you are in the above groups, but the interesting thing I discovered about my survey was that most people, while agreeing that the Net was a good tool it was severely lacking as any kind of replacement for anything. Replacement as in TV, Radio, DVD, Telephone, Shopping etcÖÖ

Okay you can post messages and email people in other countries, but why the heck would you ring your brother up to get his ICQ number so you can talk to him, when you had him on the phone a minute ago? What, because itís cheaper??


Another thing I find interesting about the Internet is the so called facts about how 90% of all money spent on the Internet is by businesses going online.

And yet look at the high fail rate of things that youíd expect people to except, like,, and many, many other companies coming online on the promise that people are going to suddenly stop leaving their homes, stop shopping and sit at a computer and buy dog food, furniture and toys.

Yes I know some of the failed dotcoms made huge sales, but I believe it was a novelty and generally once the novelty wore off, the people went back to what theyíve been doing for the last few hundred years.

See thatís the problem, you canít change human behaviour overnight. If people have been buying offline for centuries, then why are they going to suddenly change.

I actually believe there is some deception going on. No Iím not into conspiracy theories usually, but what about all the positive surveys about how people are in love with the Internet.

I especially like the one about high income earners practically living online. A know a few people like this and not one of them even uses the Internet, except for email. Theyíre all busy doing what most high income earners are doing, building offline empires and businesses.

Yes I know Iím generalising. But I think I know why the Internet will never be much more than a curiosity.

Itís run by the people for the people. Sure itís great to finally have almost complete cheap control over something, but that may will be itís downfall.

Look at other mediums. Television, controlled by large companies, sure thereís public access, but itís not popular like commercial TV. Radio? Same deal, Newspapers, Magazines? Same again.

Commercial companies controlling it all, no public intervention or contribution, well maybe a little like editorials, but thatís minimal.

Digressing, but trying to stay on topic, I saw a show a few days ago on the Goggle Box where they were predicting that the home of the future was here, totally, remote and electronic, the door opens when you get near it, the lights come on automatically, the microwave cooks your TV dinner when you think about it.

The funny thing about this show was I saw a similar show 10 years ago about the home of the future, same promise of things to come.

And I think itís the same with the InternetÖlots of promise, but it just isnít happening and I think it has much to do with because we all have a hand in it, then weíll never agree on what exactly it should be.

Sure large companies like MS might try and tell us what they want it to be, but such is the power of the people that we wonít let it happen. Remember Ďpushí technology?

Even if they ever get around to supplying full motion full screen uninterrupted video and sound on the InternetÖwhoís going to watch? what the whole family will sit around the monitorÖI donít think so. They could turn it into the idiot box, but we already have one of those and cable as well.

Getting back to my party survey. I found that most people had fallen in love with the Internet, surfed, bought, emailed, meet a few new people in other countries and then it had worn off, the newness of it all, the promise of something fantastically different.

Most said after 12 months or so they didnít even bother going online.

I love to know who really is the typical surfer.

A 17 year old looking for love?
A lonely 45 year old (maybe on a high income, but I doubt it) looking for company?
Offline business people desperately trying to open up a new medium to sell in and in the process ignoring the reality of offline?

I donít think anyone knows and when they say they do I think theyíre stretching the truth.

Okay, so the Netís just a tool, like a phone or the computer itself, maybe itíll never realise the great promise of something entirely useful that everyone can fall for. Maybe in 50 years it may be different , maybe if it was run by a huge conglomerate, then it would be more organised, more beneficial, but then we wouldnít have control.

All other successful mediums are clearly defined, this is what they are and this is what they do.

Because we have so much control over it, how can it ever be clearly defined and therefore anywhere near successful.

Maybe it just needs a few decades to find itís feet, like Television and computers.

Still, itís a good place to make money;0)

Just a few after BBQ thoughts, if you liked them send me $100, if you donítÖÖ.well, thatís okay too;0)

What do you think?


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