How do we describe the nature of the internet at the present moment, and will our emphasis on the constant update allow the original model to survive?
This article titled “Why a stream of consciousness will kill off websites” was written by John Naughton, for The Observer on Sunday 10th February 2013 00.01 UTC
The communications theorist Marshall McLuhan observed that “we look at the present through a rear-view mirror”. And that “we march backwards into the future”. Amen. Remember the horseless carriage? Not to mention the fact that we still measure the oomph of a Porsche 911 in, er, brake horsepower.
But the car industry is a ferment of modernism compared with the computer business. When the bitmapped screen and the Wimp (windows, icons, menus, pointer) interface first surfaced in the early 1970s at Xerox Parc, its geeks searched for a metaphor that would make this new way of relating to computers intelligible to human beings. So they came up with the “desktop” on which were displayed little images (icons) of documents and document folders, just like you’d find on an actual desktop. Well, on the desktop of an efficient bureaucrat anyway.