Ten years later, not only is that still all true, it is even more urgent. The pandemic has shown us that the Internet is a critical lifeline. Can you imagine how it would have been without the Internet?
But with the massive success of the Internet as a medium for communication, collaboration, creation, connection, and commerce, so many players now want to control it or extract revenue. Giant corporations want to “monetize” everything - and control what we see. Governments of all flavors want to control different aspects, either to control communication, supress dissent, or to gain tax revenue. Legacy telecommunications companies want to get their hand back into larger revenue streams and control how access the Internet.
And while all these giants battle in the playground, we, the actual users of the Internet, are left trying to figure out what path makes the most sense. Particularly when there are valid concerns we worry about that don’t have easy, simple answers.
We have a choice of futures for the Internet.
But it’s not just the Internet where we face choices. It seems in so many ways that elements of our society are unraveling. Democracy is being challenged. As our 2020 election showed in the USA, there are deep divisions and a great polarization has occurred - and shows little sign of lessening. And everyone seems to be yelling at each other.
Part of our societal challenge is that different groups are telling each other different stories… using different facts and data. How do we bridge those divides? How do we understand our differences? How do we heal some of the wounds?
We have a choice of futures for our society.
And in the end, it comes down to the choices that each of us makes. Now. Today. In our every action, we have a choice to build people up, or to tear people down. To treat people with kindness, or not.
The choices we make determine the kind of world that we will live in, and the kind of society we will have.
We have a choice of futures for ourselves.
These are the many choices I intend to write about in this newsletter.
Some topics may be technical, because of course that is what I enjoy, and with the reality that everything in our society is becoming connected to the Internet, we have some serious decisions to make, not just in the years ahead, but today. (ex. are you really
going to connect that tankless water heater to the public Internet??) I also work for the Internet Society
, and these issues are core to what I and my colleagues are doing each day.
Yet other topics will look more at the human side. In the next issue, I plan to write about “hopepunk” and the need to speak about the positive amidst the chaos. In other issues I’ll look at the ways we are now telling stories - and more.
All looking at “the big picture” of the choices we face - and the decisions we must make. (Or… others will make them for us.)