My generation is the first generation that has lived their entire lives with the Internet. The Internet is how we think. We have developed a way of thinking that depends on being connected to an ever changing graph of all the world’s people and ideas. The Internet helps to define, evolve, and grow us. The Internet is social. The Internet is a way of life. The Internet provides context.
Because I have lived most of my life with the Internet, it has been the increasing addition of new contexts which has been the thing which has most changed the way I think. In the beginning, the Internet was a giant mess of unstructured, unorganized, identity-free data spread across un-connected computers all over the world.
Then things started to change. Organizations and companies began to structure and provide context to the documents and data housed in this expanding network of the world’s computers.
Opening, connecting, and organizing the information on the world’s computers has enabled us to search for the answers to our most important questions and to provide more context to the information in our lives.
Once the world’s information was put into context, we looked beyond the keyboard, and collectively shifted to people. We focused on social context by asking questions like: Who are you? How are we connected? What is on your mind? What matters to you?
Making the Internet more social enabled people to share their real name, likeness, voice, and the things that they are connected to. Now we always have an understanding of who is talking, who and what they are connected to, what they are saying, and to whom; through understanding identity and social context we have achieved greater openness as a society.
In the future, the challenge will be continuing to add new contexts and improve existing ones in order to help people live better, happier, lives. So that no matter where you are, what you are doing, who you are with, or what you are thinking, it is always in context.