The Internet is Dead, or Something.

by Ken Mueller on January 24, 2013 · 17 comments

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2951629708 56a63dc975 m The Internet is Dead, or Something.

The Internet is dead.

OK, that’s clearlynot true, but we tend not to talk about it much anymore.

There was a time when you could spend an entire day on your computer without going online. I remember when we first got Internet, going online was a process. Going online was a task. Because of the proximity of our computer to our phone line, if I wanted to go online, I had to stretch out a long piece of phone cable, plug it into the phone jack, and then go for the dial-up modem, listen to that wonderful dial up sound, and pray that it actually connected.

Oh, and we would announce that were going online. It was an activity. And it meant that forever how long we were online, no one could call us:

“I was calling you for hours but kept getting a busy signal. Were you online?”

And we started with a few of the free services like Juno and Netzero (and perhaps a few others I can’t recall) and bumped around those until the free services were gone and signed up for the king of the moment: AOL. Remember them?

But now, we don’t even think about it. Rarely do we declare that we are “going online.”

Why? Because we’re always online. I remember when I helped switch my parents over from dial-up to DSL I had a hard time explaining that theoretically they were “always” online while at the same time helping them understand that just because they were always online, didn’t mean that the world was creeping back at them through their phone line, ready to steal whatever they had on the computer.

With the pervasiveness of broadband, wireless, and mobile technology, we are all “always connected.” We don’t go to the Internet, the Internet comes to us. If you’re like me, you get push notifications anytime someone interacts with you on any number of platforms. Whether it’s an email, a blog comment, a tweet, something on Facebook or Instagram.

But we don’t talk about those things as much. They are just a part of our lives, seamlessly integrated into our daily activities and doings.

Back in the days of CB radios (the seventies) I would go on and talk with friends. And what did we talk about? CB Radios!

Same with the early adoption of cell phone usage. It was common to hear someone saying, “Yeah! I’m on the train! And talking to you!”

Not anymore. The fact that we’re not longer really talking about the Internet, per se, doesn’t mean it’s passe or “dead.” It just means that we don’t think about it anymore. In some ways I think that’s what happening with Facebook. Some say it’s on the way out because people don’t talk about it anymore. I don’t think that’s true; I think we don’t talk about it anymore because we use it regularly without even really thinking about it. And when I say “we” I’m talking mostly about the general public, not those of us who work in this field and get paid to think and talk about it.

Those outside of the marketing and communications world don’t obsess over these things the way some of us do.

And that’s why you’ll read blog posts ad nauseum about email being dead, or blogging, or whichever platform or technology we’re talking about here.

But the fact that we’re all online all the time is a good thing, at least for businesses and marketers looking to connect with us. It gives more opportunities for businesses to become a part of the social graph of individual users, and on their terms. More opportunities for customer service and lifestyle oriented marketing.

You want something that’s dead? Let’s talk 8-tracks, or leisure suits, or MySpace…oh…wait…

 The Internet is Dead, or Something.
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15 comments
sydcon_mktg
sydcon_mktg

LOL! Kinda like "You've Got Mail!"I remember the phone cords stretched out too...we had cats then, and one liked to eat the cord!

And old clunky cell phones! My husband had one back in the 90s while we were dating...now we laugh when we see Zack Morris with the phone in old Saved By the Bell reruns said hubby also likes (dont get me started).

We are so addicted to our internet connection, we have clear (a mobile hotspot kinda thing) for emergencies when our power is out or something (So we can still get on with iPads, etc).

Latest blog post: Come see our new digs!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

“I was calling you for hours but kept getting a busy signal. Were you online?”

LOL!! I'd totally forgotten about that. So funny! When not having the Internet is most prevalent to me is when I'm on a plane without WiFi. You have NO idea how much you use the web until you don't have it. Typically I can get through my inbox (Inbox Zero), but there are always things that I can't do anything, such as write a blog post or read the pingbacks in my inbox. 

LizJostes
LizJostes

This makes me think about car phones, with a holder installed to your car floor and cords. Now I can travel 550 miles from Memphis to Chicago and work on my phone OR laptop using a Mi-Fi.

annelizhannan
annelizhannan

So right Ken about the integration into our lives. The internet is just part of our daily routine. I rise each morning (hopefully), take my daily dose of vitamins, turn on the coffee pot, brush my teeth and turn on the laptop and not necessarily in that order.  It has become a natural order. 

Also I notice a change in common assumptions when stating  "I heard or they say". Once assumed to be the news media (print or TV) or local coffee shop as the referral source, today no one really asks, it is the accepted form of information, not necessarily factual but assumed. The 'they' is the Internet; the blogs, the platforms, the posts, the tweets, the conversations, the images, the connections, the status updates, the circles and the hangouts....the coffee shop.

What you (again an assumption from those white locks you bear) and I (from my no longer unblemished complexion) are experiencing in our lifetime is the actual evolution of this phenom meaning we are almost dinosaurs as those that have come after us know of no other way. We are now the generation that will be saying "I remember when..." and they will look upon us with rolling eyes.. as in ancient.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@sydcon_mktg it's amazing how You've Got Mail is more a part of our collective cultural consciousness than AOL is. And AOL is still around. I think. Sorta.

I looked at Clear but it's really spotty in our area, and most of the folks around here who have tried it say it's not very good here.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@ginidietrich Whenever we lose power at our house, EVERYTHING comes to a screeching halt. It's just there all the time, and suddenly it's gone. And...then we don't know what to do!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@LizJostes I remember every once in awhile seeing a car phone back in the 70s. Only the very rich had them, and boy were they bulky!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@annelizhannan Your point about "they say" is interesting, and I hadn't thought about it like that. We have so much more information at our fingertips now, and can get it in an instant. Really keeps us on our toes. A lot of times I'll find out about bad weather in the forecast on Facebook or Twitter based on someone's comment, before I even check the forecast. This really challenges and changes the role of the news media, for sure.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

@KenMueller @ginidietrich Haha try walking outside without your smartphone. Just enjoy the outdoors. Then, try driving somewhere without it.

It wasn't long ago we lived without these "societal pleasures" or "givens" or dare I say "rights" -- the stuff we take for granted today.

LizJostes
LizJostes

@KenMueller I remember using them myself and driving in cars with them. That definitely wasn't during the 70's! In fact the car I had at college had one, so we're talking 90's, old man.

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