The internet, in some form, has been in existence since the late 1960s. ARPANET was networking computers as early as 1969. This is not to say that people have been illegally downloading copies of “LEGO Island 2: Brickster’s Revenge” since ‘Nam, but the revolution brought forth by the internet was well underway before most people reading this were born.
By the turn of the century, the World Wide Web had developed into an almost-ubiquitous institution, but you still couldn’t roll up to a hottie on your Razer scooter and ask her to peep your MySpace. There was no MySpace at this point, sure, but the early internet was lacking much more than an outlet for your awful cover band. It lacked a focus on creation.
The early Web was a society of consumers, people willing to suffer the symphony of dial-up tones in order to sit back and view what the internet had in store for them. Fast-forward to 2017. Everyone and their mother has multiple outlets pushing their own personal content. Thousands of people make their living solely off of YouTube.
We have become a Web of producers. SoundCloud is teeming with tracks made in dorm rooms. DeviantArt provides a gallery for middle school Monets. Television shows regularly poach Twitter for writing talent.
Thanks to the development of the internet, and technology in general, everyone has the opportunity to create content and share it. Most view this as a positive, as it promotes the dissemination of ideas. Some, on the other hand, see it as an artistic burden.
In his book, “Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture,” internet theorist Andrew Keen decries the modern Web as a cesspool of low-quality media. With such a low barrier to entry, he argues, good content gets buried underneath the bad.
However, his view of the new Web implies that these works somehow take merit away from content of higher quality. At the end of the day, good content is still good, and bad still bad. People will choose to consume whatever media they want, and a wider selection should only increase the desire of creators to make more quality content.
Either way, this new internet of producers is not going away. So go out and make some cool stuff. It may go unnoticed, sinking into the ever-growing world of digital obscurity. However, with the ever-changing tastes of the internet, you could become the next Justin Bieber. A cooler, better Justin Bieber.