I took this photo recently but only today did it give me something other than simple amusement. Nothing against simple amusement. In fact, that is the best kind - and it's far too rare these days. After reading a great piece in WIRED about the death of the web I started to try and analogize the current shifts with things I've already experienced.
Seeing the little boy ready to grab that balloon and float away got me thinking that the early days of the web were very similar: -The possibilities were endless for where we could go and what we could discover. -There were no laws, other than gravity (bandwidth) to hold us down. -No one controlled the skies with any authority.
Now we've taken that ride and we're ready to come home to predictability: -We'd rather connect to information and people in familiar, comfortable ways (Facebook). -Around the world is nice, but what about the power of next door (neighborgoods.com)? -Anarchy was great for free music and all, but I'd rather leave the archiving and indexing to someone else so I can get the song I want in seconds instead of downloading 5 free, but wrong, versions (iTunes). -I'll cede the skies of info to comcast and verizon if my flights (YouTube) arrive on time. And I'll pay whatever they want.
So now we're back home to old media in a new suit (apps).
What a ride it was. If this was the ballon ride that supposed to change the world I hope people much smarter than me have something better in the garage.