Thursday, 18 October 2018

Changing Internet

For someone who was into computers from an early age I was quite late when it came to using the internet. I had been using bulletin board services via a computer modem for a number of years before I signed up to the internet. It was 1999 and I signed up with MSN as my Internet Service Provider. I was so naive back then and confused as to why I had both MSN Explorer and Internet Explorer installed even though they were both made by Microsoft and did exactly the same thing.

It didn't take me long to start creating websites of my own. I wasn't bothered by attracting lots of views, even though many of them were popular at the time, I simply made sites about subjects I had an interest in. Gaming, anime and sci-fi, to name a few.

Internet Explorer contained an edit button so it was a simple task to view the HTML code of someone's website and see how they put it together. People also often had a Links section on their website too as to list other sites containing similar subject matter. There was always an email link too to send the website creator a message.

While re-uploading some of my older websites I noticed how old fashioned many of them look, with a Links section and email option. Modern sites are far more likely to have Facebook, Twitter and other social network sites rather than an email option. Linking to other sites however is far rarer as I guess people don't want to promote sites that are essentially their competitors.

I was thinking about other ways the internet has changed over the years.

Home made websites are certainly on the decline but in many ways this is more down to people setting up Facebook groups about a particular topic or fandom they are promoting.

I also noticed chat rooms have changed drastically. They used to be a place for living out a fantasy of pretending to be someone else but not only do people tend not to do that anymore they will often cry the word troll when they point out someone isn't who they claim to be. I've been called a troll for splashing water in a virtual pool with someone pointing out to me that the pool doesn't exist. Ten years ago they would have splashed me back and we would have swapped anime pictures as selfies.

YouTube has changed drastically too. It's hard to believe but there was a time when people just posted their home movies and gaming clips for the fun of it without monetising their vids incorporating an ad. There's even been cases of people copyright flagging people's content for simply having the same idea as someone else. As for the comments section it's now beyond a joke with the amount of offensive things said.

Why is it that all the ads on adult sites take mere seconds to appear on the screen, yet on newspaper sites and Microsoft sites the ads grind the page to a halt? I've never understood that. Does this mean Pornhub employs only the best talented programmers while Microsoft doesn't? Makes you think.

Pretty much the only social network site people used when I first got the internet was MySpace. While it still exists its a mere shadow of its former self, now there's a vast variety each with their own distinct features. I use Twitter a lot as well as Pinterest and Facebook. In fact I have two Twitter accounts with one specifically for gaming posts. In the past it would have been a lot more fiddly to post gaming screenshots and clips directly to a website. Social networking is also a good way to send people messages without knowing their email address.

In summary I think it's a mixed bag, with some internet changes being for the worse and others a great improvement. Where the internet is heading is another matter entirely. There's been a lot of talk recently about net neutrality and how it's going to be abolished. It basically means the Internet Service Provider you use may choose to block their competitors' sites if they so wish. An ISP with its own movie player website may not want its users using YouTube for example. Whether this will work in practice however is a totally different matter and I'm sure ISPs that still keep net neutrality in place will be the ones that remain popular.


An internet oldie.