Ask around you and you will see many agree on one thing: the Internet is getting better and better. Fastest connections, available from more places, more devices (smartphones, tablets, etc...) supporting it, more services, websites, blogs, and yet some aspects of the Internet seem to go the wrong way.
1. The Failure of the World Wide Notion
The initials www are for World Wide Web and yet, we are more and more going towards a nation-based internet.
China is forbidding websites like Facebook, youtube or even amnesty.org and it is not the only country censoring the web.Credit: adragast
Copyrights is a complex subject, and it seems that the internet did not make things clearer even by now. Difficult to know for example why some videos on youtube are "not available in your country". Another example is trying to follow say French news from another country. Texts, articles, etc... are available but videos are not. What differentiates a video to a text? Are not both media, content in general?
2. Big Brother Is Watching You
It is more and more clear that your actions on the web can lead to serious "real life" consequences.
Some years ago, a Moroccan man was sentenced to jail because he tried to impersonate a member of the royal family on facebook. His claim: this was just a joke. International pressure made the authorities release him however, one month after his arrest.Credit: adragast
Years later, a 49-year old French woman was summoned by the police after writing the comment "oh the liar" on a dailymotion video featuring a politician. This politician, member of the government had the intention to sue the woman but decided to withdraw her complaint after the turmoil created by this story.
Other stories generally imply someone who dared criticizing a government or a religion. More recently, however, a greek athlete was excluded from the Olympics simply because of a tweet.
Be careful when using the internet, big brother is definitively watching you.
3. Money Focus
One of the original aims of the Internet was to share knowledge (educational purpose). However, money came and corrupt the idea. Copyright here, copyright there, you are not allowed to use an image in your article (the photographer may be very happy that you help sharing it but may even more wants to get some money out of it), without explicit permission or the fact that the picture is in public domain. The same applies to text. Don't dare to copy part of an article without asking for permission, you may be fined.Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As an online author, I may be badly place to criticize this as I too am making money out of the articles I write and as I wouldn't be happy either if someone was "stealing" my work. But isn't the original aim of the internet a bit forgotten then? What would happen if you were not allowed to repeat someone else either.
4. Domain Names: First-come, First-served
Imagine you are the biggest shoes shop in the world and you want to open your website. What about shoes.com? No, sorry, it is taken. What about shoes-shop.com, then? Nope, taken too. Shop-shoes.com? Shoesshop.com? Shopshoes.com? Bestshopshoes.com? Taken, taken, taken and taken again.
The internet has been up for 20 to 30 years and it is already difficult to find a simple domain name that is not taken. Some even buy them without using them, just to sell them later. Some kind of virtual rush to Oklahoma. What if a millionaire decided to buy every available one-word and two-word domain names? Wait, they are probably already taken anyway... So, just imagine in 100 years.Credit: wikipedia.org
Rush to Oklahoma. Good thing not every cities were based on a first-come first-served rule
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is opening for more and more extensions but this is probably not helping the real problem as people still use .com as a preference and opening to too much extensions will lead to a complete chaos: www.best.shop.shoes.com? www.best-shop.shoes? www.shoes.shop?
5. No Quality Check
Quality is not checked by anyone. You can put very bad quality stuff, it will stay there. Old blogs, not updated for the last 10 years, outdated articles or websites are not necessarily updated.
And this is just getting worse. More and more people, attracted by making "money on-line", are decided to do everything possible to make money without any scruples. How to do that? Write tons of articles with attractive titles, make them available on the top of google searches and put a lot of ads in them. No time to write real content in those articles. Just empty non-sense to pure unuseful common sense (how to make money? actually, making money is good. You want to do that) and a lot of repetition to make the article look a bit nicer, and able to contain more ads and more links to other empty but attractive articles (how to make money in 24 hours, how to lose 10 pounds a day without excercize, how to make any girl attracted to you, ...). As long as nobody is there to check the actual content of their articles and say: "those articles are crap, you are not allowed to write for the next 5 months", they won't stop.Credit: adragast
Getting more and more content everyday means that we would better use some kind of quality checking and some "vacuum cleaner" for old-deprecated-not-used-anymore blogs, articles or websites.
6. Duplicate Content and Duplicate Mistakes
With so many people writing articles and blogs, there are more and more duplicate content. Especially in the review area. Just look for Windows 8 reviews on Google and you will find a stunning 12 billion results. How can anyone know which review is worth looking at? Which to trust? What if someone is making the best possible review of Windows 8 tomorrow? What are his/her chances to be found in this incredibly huge amount of articles? And this is for something that is not even released yet! Soon, we will have to review reviews. The top 10 reviews of windows 8...Credit: adragast
Something else which is a bit scary is that the lack of quality check (cf previous paragraph) and the high volume of duplicate content make it even easier for mistakes to spread out on the Internet. One article mentions an event with a wrong date? Many writers using it as a reference may also quote it with the wrong date. As soon as several articles mention the wrong date, there are even more chances that the next articles will mention this wrong date. And this is not even to mention blatant content copy of content, simply people using an article as a reference. Also, even if the author of the original article corrects his writing, the correction will not be spread out automatically and it will take a while (if ever) to see the mistake completely disappear.
7. The Solution?
There are no ideal solutions to those problems. The only reasonable one is to spend time and effort, looking for good quality articles, double-checking what you find... Your feedback, as a reader is important and could help Google identify good and bad articles. Liked an article? Show it! There are facebook-like buttons, google +1 buttons, etc... in more and more articles, blogs and websites. You can also share things you like (Google does give priority to articles that are shared a lot when it shows search results). You did not like an article or found a mistake? Leave a comment! Don't let other readers blindly trust what is written if you know something is wrong. But of course, this takes time and this is not what people have most nowadays...
Related article: What did the Internet do to us? deals with the influence of the internet on the modern society.