In the years since Al Gore invented the internet, it has since become much more than anyone ever expected. Those of us who remember AOL 2.0 (and still have floppy disks lying around somewhere) will fondly recall when the internet was simple. There weren’t too many fancy graphics, internet smut took hours to download, and chat rooms were the place to be.
Now we have information at the push of a button in mere seconds. It seem strange the type of culture that the internet has produced. Patients are becoming the doctors with the help of self diagnostic tools and information readily available online, people who can’t leave their homes are finally earning their college degrees via internet classes, and everyone can become an expert on anything they like with a few keywords typed into Google.
Perhaps the greatest of these are creative outlets such as YouTube and MySpace. These sites have allowed users to express themselves in an entirely new way – networked. Previous to these internet giants, people had their ideas and thoughts individually on their own sites with a few sites with interconnected users. Now, millions of people now have their own MySpace pages, which is a powerful outlet for expression of these thoughts and ideas.
Consider how political MySpace became during the recent elections. Many users had their particular party’s logos and values all over their pages. Just imagine how far it will go when the 2008 Presidential elections come into play. YouTube should also be an interesting site to keep watch over during that time. Right now there are over 80,000 political videos to view on YouTube. Think of the amount of videos related to the elections that will be available to millions of users at YouTube in the months leading up to the election.
Will these two online communities play a pivotal role in the results of the 2008 elections? Will they determine who the next President of the United States is? Who would have guessed during that 4 minutes it took to log onto AOL 2.0 that the internet those people were dialing into would be the future political arena?
Perhaps this wired world will provide for more well-informed voters. Will grassroots movements be made in a world of bits and bytes? Maybe it will bring an era of honesty with the amount of information that can be found about candidates by a simple Google search. Postulating on the possibility of honest politicians and informed voters seems like a distant dream, but with the age of information, anything is possible; just think of how far we’ve come already.