The enthusiasm around web3 is not misplaced. Daily life on the Internet these days has become a wind tunnel test on our collective soul. The convoluted mix of surveillance capitalism, weaponized identity theft and echo chamber of the vanities makes us feel overdue for some stretch goals and new territory.
Yes, we need new rules for the new Metaverse. But to understand where we’re going, we need a common understanding of where we’ve been.
We need to go back to the 1990s. Back to “back in the day”. This is the way that I remember it, which may be different from the way you remember it. Please let me know.
The first shift that was truly evolved from inserting CD-ROMs into a drive to play games like “Oregon Trail”, “Myst” or search the computer’s encyclopedia replacement Encarta (this was before Google or Search), was what I call “the Howard Rheingold era.”
Howard was from San Francisco, a place where weird shit happens. As Howard explains it, in the mid-1980s (Howard’s era) complete strangers gathered together in a “chat” room and…talked to one another. WTF.
In his 1993 book “Virtual Community” Howard remarked, “The virtual village of a few hundred people I stumbled upon in 1985 grew to eight thousand by 1993. It became clear to me during the first months of that history that I was participating in the self-design of a new kind of culture.”
Community generated culture-building was a new set of words that explained a new idea in human behavior. Before this, computers connected (or talked) only to other computers. Now Apple’s “computers for the rest of us” created an in-real-life result that engaged human beings communicating with other human beings. Through their personal computers.
Ideas streamed into new universes of possibility.
Knowledge was uppermost: Anything that had been created in the physical world was rapidly digitized and made ready for the Internet: books, music, encyclopedias, photographs, paintings and more. People started creating knowledge banks and…