Web Science: no strategy beneath the web development

The internet is 25 years old in 2014. This is quite a span in my lifetime. In other words: I have been in the internet as long as it exists. From the very beginning. Luckily I worked in universities when the internet began to grow. First at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, as a teaching assistant in the Germanic Languages Department, studying linguistics and working on the first apples with easy to use user interface in the computer room in the basements of the foreign languages building at the campus. I remember the first cable modem connections across the atlantic with my family at home in Austria. And the black screens with green lighted letters moving across in MS DOS and the sounds they were making building up a working connection.

I was lucky to be able to use the internet in broadbent as soon as something like that came up here in Austria. And, frankly, I could not understand why broadbent connections only slowly, very slowly covered up Germany. In Austria, my memory makes it look much faster. I always used good connections.

In using the web like I did, information gathering and research, travelling to places I would most probably not be able to visit in reality, I learned in this second week of web science to remember and think about the technological, sociological, economic and political history and development of the web: Is the web a series of clever innovations designed to reach a certain outcome??? – No. Definitely not. There is no strategy beneath the web development.

People make networks! People and Power – I would add, having read Manuel Castells. Sure, the web needs us, needs people to develop and develop further. Open access and news value are crucial factors. Yes. Power will become more and more important as time goes on.

Today I close with some sensationell pictures retrieved in researching about network science: the human connectome project is working on mapping the human brain and it publishes some incredible pictures which I like for their iconografic value:

02 hcpt5-drei

02 hcp15-drei zwei

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