Monday, May 14, 2012

INTER-national NET-work : A New Social Nation

I always wondered what is the most unique thing that has happened to our generation until I came across two terms, the ‘timeline’ on Facebook and ‘hangout’ on Google+. It is not a matter of doubt that our generation has seen a revolution which is as good as the one for which Galileo died. Just imagine sitting in your room and exchanging real-time videos (through Skype) to a friend in America, in the year 1900, that too for free!! Unimaginable, ain't it??

Well, we saw the coming of the internet; we all have contributed to this new concept of a global village. In the early 2000s also, the internet was just a place to visit for fun and get random information. We would spend spare times on Rediffbol or Yahoo! messenger. The idea was fast communication, and that’s what has been internet’s role during its puberty.

As time slipped on, we upgraded to free emails and started sharing attachments including pictures, but still, it was not enough. The fun started when various interest sharing sites or as they call formally, ‘social networks’ like Orkut and Myspace hit the market. We realized that we can communicate, share, make contacts, watch videos all in one platform. And, thus the first generation of social networks came.

Until then only the internet crazy teenagers were the comrades of the internet revolution. Then came the famous Facebook and Twitter, with a simple idea, connect to the world and share your life. They made excellent development in their site by integrating every other site with their social experience.

What actually let to this revolution??

With the introduction of Web 2.0, the face of the internet changed forever. The word open-source is a household name these days. The basic difference between the 80’s television media and today’s internet media is the openness of content. Today web publishers create platform rather than content. Let me explain this.

In the 90s Ramayana was a huge hit in the Doordarshan, the DD producers created the show, financed everything from hiring actors to filming the show. While Youtube today just created a platform for sharing videos, the users create the content (videos) and the same users' vote and view them, so the publishers just sit and watch their site grow on its own. This is such a brilliant idea. You just need to think about maintaining the heavy traffic coming to your website, the content is secondary. This is the magic of web 2.0. This is the movement that led Time magazine to declare “You” as the Person of the Year, explaining, “In 2006, the World Wide Web became a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter.” The new media is based on the concept of ‘many-to-many’ rather than ‘one-to-many’.

For information you have Wikipedia, for pictures you have Flickr, for entertainment, you have Youtube, for shopping you have eBay. These sites, better than most, illustrate the power of Web 2.0, especially for ordinary Web users. By designing Web software that uses community input and interaction as its content, sites such as Wikipedia, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr created sophisticated warehouses of content — without creating any content at all. It is still a creation, of course, but an upside-down model for creation, when compared to the traditional methods anyone over 30, has grown up with.

How does this change our lives?? Let me tell you some stories,

A girl loved to sing with her guitar, but never got an audience to appreciate her. So, she recorded a video on her laptop for an imaginary audience and uploaded it on Youtube. Her video became an instant hit with comments and likes flowing every minute. Encouraged, she uploaded some more and was accepted by one and all. She now is a pop star and makes good money from different concerts. She is Shraddha Sharma.

Abhijit Deb is a friend of mine who liked to click pictures and occasionally edit them. But he had no money to host a photo-exhibition. Then he got an idea, he created a Facebook page for showing his pictures to his friends. He uploaded his best work and they were shared by his friends who liked them. Today he has 600+ fans on his page.

Finally, it’s my own story. I landed in Guwahati city. All alone for the 1st time. I knew there was a Tripura Bhavan somewhere in the heart of the city which was going to give me shelter but I had no idea how to reach there or which route to take. At that moment two things came to my mind, Facebook and Google Maps. I searched for Tripura Bhavan on the Google Maps and located it but still, I was unsure if I could reach there. The next moment I saw a status updated by one of my college seniors on my Facebook news feed, it read “just reached Guwahati airport”. I instantly searched his phone number on his info page. Luckily he had given his personal contact there, I called him. This is no extraordinary story but when I told my dad about this incident, I realized the importance of the internet. My dad was amazed that I could manage the whole journey without even calling him once.

We live in a new nation today, and in the coming generations, INTERnational NETwork will surely change the face of nationalism, governments, and economy.

This is an official entry for Indiblogger's blogging contest Vodafone Internet is Fun (