WWW is 22 years old today

On 12 November 1990, Tim Berners-Lee proposed what we know today as the World Wide Web. While that proposal had nothing to do with Nicaragua or, well, anywhere specific, it is what created a Cyberspace that makes sites such as NicaLiving possible.

The original proposal can be read on the W3.org web site. If anything stands out it is that it was a small project. The result, of course, has been huge.

Many NL users probably don't even remember the pre-WWW world. Yes, you may have had an email account but the idea that there was no Wikipedia, no on-line way to book airline reservations, buy books and other products and generally conduct your business on-line will seem very foreign. For may of us who have moved to Nicaragua and other countries, most of our friends come from Cyberspace.

I bring this up on NL because Berners-Lee's work has changed Nicaragua profoundly, particularly for ex-pats. It has made it possible to easily buy things not available locally, conduct our financial dealings, find out about what's happening in Nicaragua and the world and, for many, work remotely.

As much as I was very interested in Nicaragua starting about 30 years ago, living here then (even ignoring the Reagan war consequences) would have been very different. Friends who were in Nicaragua in the 1980s didn't report from Nicaragua. They collected information which was later published -- primarily in print. News from Nicaragua came from professional reports -- more often than not in the firm of second-hand information they got from people in the bar in the Hotel Intercontinental in Managua. There was no practical way to verify the sources of information.

Today, diverse sources are the norm. While the first place a usano may see mention of an event in Nicaragua, the WWW has made it possible for that same person to get the opinions of ordinary people (like us writing on NL) on the ground. While some question (and sometimes for good reason) the credibility of these non-professional sources, it has made it harder for professional media to deregulate the truth.

To put this in perspective, while the concept of television is over 100 year old and Philo Farnsworth demonstrated a television system with electronic scannig, it was not introduced in the US at the 1939 World's Fair. Even if we take 1939 as the beginning of television and look 22 years forward, we don't see the impact that the WWW has today. If anything, this 22 year old idea is on its way to replacing television along with many other things including newspapers and magazines. What will the next 10 years bring us?

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What the next 10 years will bring us

1) Wireless embedded devices everywhere

2) Voice Controlled devices go mainstream

3) "Truthiness" returns to reporting (thanks to the web, twitter, and citizen journalists)

IMO 3) is making it worse

Everyone's a journalist and the reader sees one paragraph he/she likes and goes viral with it. Its just more trees to try and find the wood in.

Only for now

I like to say "we can't see the trees for the bark". It's not the citizen journalists themselves but that eventually their reporting will force the mainstream media to become more honest. One sided reporting shouldn't be the norm.

"What will the next 10 years bring us?"

All I want is a good signal at my quinta in Nandasmo!