Whatever plan I had for posting something today changed when I saw the Google doodle celebrating the 30th birthday of the World Wide Web when computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitted a paper titled “Information Management: A Proposal” to his supervisor at CERN. The idea, linking information systems with hypertext, was brilliant, and CERN rightfully celebrated its role in the creation of the WWW.
The problem is the people... while it's good that people have access to information, the problem is that people tend to want garbage. The World Wide Web was created by scientists, people with lofty goals of seeking out the building blocks of the universe and democratizing their findings. They wanted to release their findings to a grateful world... the world wanted porn, cat pictures, and the ability to anonymously harass others.
Instead of the Promethean dream of common people discussing particle physics, the Web gave us (DON'T GOOGLE THESE) Goatse, and Two Girls One Cup, Lemon Party, and ten hour Nyan Cat videos. It gave us shitposting, and dank memes, and a quicker way to distribute 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'. It gave us Russian troll farms and crazy conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine hysteria on a grand scale. The Web, brilliant in concept and execution, fell victim to Sturgeon's Law. The flow of information, much of it garbage, can confuse people who don't have the time and training to sift through the dross to find the real facts (hey, I sorta got burned by this yesterday). That Stang fella and his buddies warned us about this:
Of course, I'm half joking about this... while there's a lot of crap out there, the worthwhile information makes the whole endeavor a, pardon the expression, net positive. I'd like to think that my particular corner of this crazy virtual space is one of the worthwhile stops on this information superhighway. Hey, I've even posted about CERN.