The Internet is both
• technology,
• an economy,
• and content.

A- technology

This network-of-networks is now becoming a public place, soon to be followed by platforms offering Internet services :

Currently, there are 2.7 billion Internet users worldwide (39% of the world population in 2013), with a penetration rate of 75% in Europe and 61% in America. According to ITU its penetration rate in 2013 was 9% worldwide :

Great Britain 87% France 83% Italy 58%
Canada 87% US 83% Russia 53%
Germany 84% Japan 79% Brazil 50%
South Korea 84% Spain 72% China 46%

Here is a map of the network of networks ;

By Nicholas Rapp for Fortune Magazine

While a map of trade flows between countries reveals the prominent role currently played by the United States, it is useful to remember they are the pioneers and still invest the most in this ecosystem :

Another example : the cables

B- An economy

In trade, aggregation and concentration has pushed small businesses to organize themselves in order to gain access to profits made possible by globalization. From the global acceptance of Internet Protocol (1995), consortia have appeared on the scene due to multiple forms of deregulation agreed to by the political classes.

The consortia have become oligarchic now, and may be too cumbersome for the environment into which we are transitioning. They are riddled with financialization; we have witnessed the implosion of the dot-com bust (2000) and multiple scandals (Enron, 2001, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2006, etc.) that lead the current neoliberal model towards a dead end (2008).

The emergent Net economy dematerializes production and distribution (Amazon 1994, eBay 1995) and creates new virtual-and-physical types of delivery architectures (bricks and clicks). The emergence of mobile devices and services and geo-localization has created segmentation which is enabling the emergence of millions of niches :

C – Content (landmarks)

The exponential growth of Internet users is responsible for a correspondingly-large growth in the number of websites :

To this aggregation we can add segmentation : the Web is fragmented into four areas : military, commercial, academic and social offering today more than one million applications to more than two billion users (see no 11) :

The forces of change

A new social era began during the first industrial revolution (1700), when various changes are began to influence the development of an industrial society.

For better or worse

Around 2000, the Internet became the dominant medium throughout the world. Since the rupture with the known past that began around the year 2000, IT is now used by all the inhabitants of the planet, even if it is used unevenly.

Like many other great inventions in the past (electricity and the automobile are examples), the Internet offers both positive aspects and negative aspects to its use and the results of that use.

Positive aspects

  • Our society is becoming a new world in which citizens can be online permanently.
  • For the first time in history all citizens may speak and express their views because the Internet is a public space free from any control.
  • Because of the lack of hierarchy in its architecture, the Internet offers each user equal status.
  • It multiplies content to the point where four Webs begin to develop in parallel (military, commercial, educational and social) (no. 11).
  • Mobile technologies and location-enabled citizens receive information when, where and how they want it (chapter 5, no 8).
  • New forms of media-based writing now allow many people to participate in social life. These people were previously left out because of the predominance given to the written culture in industrial society. This phenomenon may make possible the advent of participatory democracy (chapter 5, no 9).

The dark side

  • Because the gap between the haves and the have-nots will continue to widen, increased circulation of information amongst both groups via the Internet may well exacerbate cravings and popular anger, and thus possible increase levels of violence in society.
  • Citizens speaking out will make stewardship of the state by the current political class harder and more messy (chapter 7, no 7).
  • Because there will be more and more users (up to 50% after 2020?), society will need to introduce a form of Netiquette to counter a world becoming too divided and less and less civil.
  • The immediate dissemination and circulation of information gives citizens the impression of living in an constant emergency ; they feel they have no more time to focus on long-term thinking.

This weekend unplug! Get close to your family
(Campaign to American radio)