Is the Web Dead?
This was the somewhat astonishing assertion of the cover story at Wired magazine this month. The story makes the point that the web, as we know it, is changing. The internet, of course, is not going away, but apps are becoming more important, and content is being distributed in new and different ways. (Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Pandora, etc, etc). It’s increasingly becoming a download world.
This is hardly news, especially if you own an iPhone. But…does it mean that the web is dead? Has someone been overly influenced by the artist formerly known as Prince, who recently announced “The internet’s completely over,” and pulled all his music away from any internet portals. Downloads will no longer be available.
“The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet.”
Not surprisingly, this provocative headline spurred a good deal of response and discussion around the web. One of the more amusing articles was posted at PC Mag.com, where Michael Miller pointed out that over the years, OS/2, the PC, and Apple have been declared dead. Point taken.
The Wired story was accompanied by a lively “is the web dead?” debate between Wired editor Chris Anderson, Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, and John Battelle of Federated Media. The gist of the debate centers on the tension between closed and open platforms, particularly in the fights over data and for advertising dollars.
I must say that I have to agree with the sentiments of John Battelle, who concluded the debate with this:
“As a last word, I’d like to say that if the scope of the piece was really just about the web as a viable model for “professional content” as we see it, then splashing “The Death of the Web” on the cover might be, well, overstating the case just a wee bit…”
Indeed. Perhaps it’s more a case that the web is dead as a viable replacement for newspapers or other vertically integrated media monopolies, but for the rest of us, I think it is hardly on life support. Rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated.