The Internet has long held it’s place since the personalized car and assembly line as one of the things that has and will forever change the world. As with other things, it’s difficult to entirely predict its ramifications, but here are some partly rhetorical and highly generalized questions on what may be subconsciously changing.
-Is the Internet homogenizing pop culture?
It used to be that one of the first tangible and observable areas that evidenced a shift in culture was architecture. Now, it may be that fashion and clothing styles change first. With the increase of sites not limited to Pinterest and Lookbook, but also the thousands of blogs and YouTube videos, the methods of what determines prevailing fashion has changed.
I’m not talking just about high end designer fashion either, but also the subconscious shifts towards what constitutes everyday wear and presentation. Lifestyle blogger vmac&cheese noted this decrease in fashion variety between her past and recent trips to France. Regional styles that had once distinctly characterized their areas had been replaced by styles already making rounds on the blogosphere.
It isn’t to say that there is no variation in dress styles or pop culture — there is. But the lines between what is accessible, popular, trendy and native, whether it’s between social or geographical stratospheres, are being blurred.
Oh and yeah, for all those of you who like to tell kids to get off your lawn, current pop music has been quantifiably proven to all sound the same.
-Is the Internet changing language, slang, and dialect?
I don’t mean stuff like memes or even just jargon, but even pronunciation and the way people talk. This is currently hard to detect since it takes a while for language to evolve over time and the Internet is still at an early stage, but with the migration occurring over the tube instead of on land, this could happen at a much faster rate.
Take for example Hollywood’s prevailing use of the California accent in movies and television. Of course there are regional differences in dialect, but the California accent has had a ubiquitous influence in America’s presentation to the rest of the world.
I don’t suppose though that YouTube or other avenues would change language that much, but it’s an interesting thing to ponder for those who think young whippersnappers today talk too much or too fast. And don’t forget about the myriad of studies done on whether or not attention span has been affected.
-Is the Internet changing the balance what is being created and consumed?
In Remix, Lawrence Lessig comments on how digitization and technology are shifting us from a read-only culture to a read-write culture, which is to say that the amateur now has a chance to use what was once only available for the professional. (The problem of being tethered to our outdated copyright laws still exists though.)
This in turn has led to the method of remixing and creating work highly rich in derivatives of other work. This isn’t meant to connotate a negative tone thoug; this post alone has already hyperlinked to other sources. Rather, this means more of a chance for your Average Joe to break into the market. But as a consequence, this also means a changing market.
As far as what’s being consumed, consider for a second what the most visited sites are: Reddit, HuffingtonPost, Dredge Report etc. are link and news aggregators. This is how, despite the fact that most people cannot name a Korean pop song other Gangnam Style, it was the first YouTube video to surpass a billion videos.
-Is the Internet going to change the way history books are going to be written?
How big is the Internet? That’s an indefinite and open ended question since there is more than one way of measuring that. Cisco predicts that by 2015, the amount of Internet traffic will reach 966 exabytes (1 exabyte = 10^18 bytes) consumed over networks annually.
This begs the purely speculative questions. What will our future data libraries be like? What will our digital museums be filled with?
50 years from now, will we remember what the Harlem Shake was?
This are highly generalized and speculative questions, but what are some noticable and not-so-noticeable changes you’ve seen in due part to the Internet?