The best way to begin the discussion of Success on the Internet is with a brief historical review about what exactly the Internet is and why it came into being in the first place. This may seem like an exercise in futility to some but, I assure you knowing the origins of “the Web” will help in understanding the dynamics of all of the Social Media dialogue that’s flying at us these days.
Often times the basic premises upon which the Internet was established are overlooked by companies and individuals seeking their fortunes online. This is unfortunate and often leads to disappointment with their less than stellar results. A brief review of e-History will serve you well as you approach the Internet as a means to your success.
Going Back to Where it All Began
In 1962 (That’s over 50 years ago. I know this because I was born in ’62.) Dr. J.C.R. Licklider, who at the time was working at MIT as a research scientist on a project funded and sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), came up with the concept, what he referred to as the Inter Galactic Network. You see, the defense research work of DARPA at that time involved several desperately and remotely located research facilities, located at several different major universities, MIT and Stanford being among them, as well as several military installations across the country.
Communication And Collaboration
Dr. Licklider (his friends called him “Lick” for short) realized that to effectively work together on co-development projects the research teams located in these various centers needed a way to effectively communicate with each other. Ultimately, they needed to develop a means by which they could collaborate on various aspects of their research activities. Is this starting to sound familiar based on where you see the web going these days?
Where the Internet Came From
Dr. Licklider is most often credited as the man with the original vision of the Internet. In two of his most influential papers, Man-Computer Symbiosis, which he wrote in 1960, and The Computer as a Communications Device , which was co-authored with Robert Taylor in 1968, he describes his vision of computing, which at the time of his writing was a mere concept, a good idea at best. He also goes into some detail about the purpose of the Internet, and why it was built.
Remarkably, “Lick” also predicted the future by stating that by the year 2000 millions of people would be online, connected by a global network. Isn’t it interesting that Dr. Licklider was absolutely correct?! He also set the table for the types of Social Media interaction that we as users of the “Inter Galactic Network” are having these days.
The Future – Now
As a futurist, he foretold of modern computing conveniences like the graphical point and click interface, digital libraries, ecommerce, online banking, and technology independent software that exists on a network (the web) and migrates to wherever it’s needed. He was also known as the “Johnny Appleseed” of computing. This is a well-deserved nickname for a man who planted the seeds of computing, and in many respects got the digital age started.
My point in this post is this, the Internet was, is and shall ever more be a communications medium designed to bring “people” together, regardless of whether we call it Social Media or Corn Flakes. No doubt about it, we have more ways to communicate with desperately located people than ever before. As I said earlier, that’s not anything new. Speaking personally, I’m having a direct (albeit cryptic = 140 characters at a time) conversation with any number of people from around the globe on Twitter as I write this. Now that is COOL!
I wish I could have met Dr. Licklider but, unfortunately he has since passed away. I consider myself a futurist too and would love to compare notes with him. There are many other contributors to the development of the web that deserve mention but, that’s for another day and another post.