I started using the internet in 1991, I returned home from my first term at university buzzing about this thing that allowed me to talk to people the other side of the world in open conversations and to send ‘electronic’ mail to folk who were also connected. And it was all free. My friends back home weren’t convinced or impressed, “Yeah but someone’s got to pay for it… I don’t see the point of it… whatever”. So I buzzed on Usenet news and ELM and Gopher in my university bubble and the nascent growth of the internet largely passed these guys by. Until 1998 when I returned home from Ghana and a particular friend had got a computer, and the internet, and he was hooked. The internet had finally reached him. And for him the internet was porn.
If the internet was briefly kidnapped by ‘eCommerce’, it is finally reclaiming it’s roots as tool for connecting people. This is the social age and this is where I return to the above mentioned friend. Email and mySpace and Facebook have largely passed him by. He recently connected with me, but not by any of the more established social networking tools, but by Twitter. And I think that is significant. People who have “not seen the point” will start to get it, the traditional media right now is full of Twitter. Facebook have realised this and have opened up their status as a challenge. Maybe not bigger than porn, but this year will certainly be the year of Twitter.