The father of the internet is not exactly happy with our treatment and long-term relationship with his child.
Sir Timothy Berners Lee gave several interviews recently in which he took umbrage to how we’ve shaped the internet over the years like a kindly father figure is want to do.
And yes… it is indeed us that shaped the internet.
Not Google, Twitter or Facebook but rather we, the users of these platforms and services that tacitly approve their policies, newsfeeds, pokes, pinches, tweets and whatever else they throw at us.
I have the greatest admiration and respect for Sir Timothy. Without his birthing of the World Wide Web, I would not have been able to put together any kind of career as a digital artist and writer. Particularly when you consider I live in a somewhat technologically challenged area of Texas… aka the middle of nowhere.
I can’t even begin to imagine what life would be like now without the friends I’ve made from my participation in social platforms. Or how I would have maintained a career as a freelancer without someway to show my work to prospective employers. Just as important were the contacts I received via these platforms that propelled me into new areas of digital art and writing.
I’m also thinking of this from the perspective of an individual who has spent several decades on this planet without the interweb instead of a user that has had it available most or all their lives.
Like a lot of us social platform users, I have a diverse friends list of many different faiths, skin colors, social positions and talent that I would never be fortunate enough to know otherwise.
I’m lucky enough to live in a country where personal technology is not as censored or regulated and there are so many news sources available that I rarely, if ever, get news from the social networks or their links. In fact, I wasn’t aware of the fake news scenario on the platform until it hit the mainstream news feeds.
First Web Server Coolcaesar at the English language Wikipedia
[GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Where I live, there is really nowhere to go so I’m usually in reach of a desktop or laptop computer. I don’t even have social platform apps on my phone. When I am on a platform or website I usually deny all popup requests.
Not much tracking there right?
No… I’m not that naïve. They track usage no matter what is used and while I may not enable location tracking, notifications or install apps that could be intrusive it’s not that simple.
I was still hit with the fact that Google has 23 archives compromising 46.3 gigs of data that took several days to crunch and prepare before I received the download link from Google.
Haven’t gone through them yet.
Not sure I want to.
I search for some weird stuff sometimes.
Heaven help me if I’m ever falsely accused of a crime with some of the searches I’ve done.
So perhaps Father Tim is right. Maybe he is on to something. Maybe we do need to be careful how we interact with his cyber-child. Maybe we don’t need leave our digital footprint everywhere and maybe we don’t need to believe everything we read on the internet.
In the final analysi, the father of internet is more right than wrong… we can’t blame social platforms or his digital creation.
All we need do is collectively look in the mirror.
Main photo: Sir Tim Berners-Lee Speaking at World Wide Web Foundation By John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, photo by Scott Henrichsen
[CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. M.D. is currently working on VR projects and characters. You can learn more about MD at his website.