From an article in Wired Magazine, in 1995
– Today’s Next Big Something is so wrapped in hype it’s tough to see what’s really going on. And as the hype solidifies into conventional wisdom, almost anyone can recite the narrative. It goes like this: The online revolution is happening now. The revolution will facilitate interaction through the digital exchange of information. By exchanging information, we grow closer as a community. By exchanging information, we become free. Blah, blah, blah.
– But what if conventional wisdom is wrong? What if the crystal-ball narrative doesn’t turn out as planned? What if, a decade or so from now, we wake up to find that the digisphere has been overrun by swarms of inane mass marketeers – people who believe that “interacting” is something you do with a set-top box that provides only an endless stream of movies-on-demand, bargains overflowing from virtual shopping malls, and spiffy videogames?
– It has happened before.
– This isn’t the first time a new medium has come along, promising to radically transform the way we relate to one another. It isn’t even the first time a fellowship of amateur trailblazers has led the charge across the new media hinterland. Radio started out the same way. It was a truly interactive medium. It was user-dominated and user-controlled. But gradually, as the airwaves became popular, that precious interactivity was lost. We need to understand how that happened.