Why Internet Rules

Here is the quote from Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows that summarizes one of the reasons why Internet rules.

Until the Net arrived, the history of media had been a tale of fragmentation. Different technologies progressed down different paths, leading to a proliferation of special-purpose tools.

Books and newspapers could present text and images, but they couldn’t handle sounds or moving pictures. Visual media like cinema and TV were unsuited to the display of text, except in the smallest of quantities. Radios, telephones, phonographs, and tape players were limited to transmitting sounds.

If you want to add numbers, you used a calculator. If you wanted to look up facts, you consulted a set of encyclopedias or a Wold Almanac.

The production end of the business was every bit as fragmented as the consumption end. If a company wanted to sell movies, it wound them onto spools of film. If it wanted to sell songs, it pressed them onto vinyl records or recorded them onto magnetic tape. If it wanted to distribute TV shows and commercials it shot them through the air from a big antenna or sent them down thick black coaxial cables.

Once information is digitized, the boundaries between media dissolve. We replace our special-purpose tools with an all-purpose tool.

And internet IS our ultimate all-purpose tool.

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