Internet natives

Lord Saatchi the other day described people under the age of 25 as Net Natives and people over that age as Net Immigrants. He didn’t mention the third category of Net Pioneers which is how I’d describe myself, though I was a pioneer who arrived on the East Coast and settled down to a douce and limited life in New England in the 18th century, rather than a pioneer who went shooting and whoring their way out West in the late 19th. I should probably abandon this metaphor while I still can.

What interests me is the quality of ideas which the Net Natives have. I’ve been lagging behind the netgeist, sitting in a rocker on my virtual front porch making quilts and admiring my picket fence, so it was a week or so ago that I became aware of Alex Tew’s Million Dollar Homepage which is genius, what used to be called a killer app (remember them?) and is an idea that could only exist online. Oddly enough, on the same day I heard about Sandi Thom‘s arrival as a Punk Rocker with Flowers in her Hair; Sandi web-enabled the idea of let’s put the show on right here in the barn in a way which was of orders of magnitude more effective more quickly than anything Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland ever did. Only yesterday I read about Kyle Macdonald’s One Red Paperclip. Macdonald, like Thom, takes a real-world idea and transforms it online. The pages I’ve linked to explain their stories.

These are the ideas of people who feel instinctively that the web is a place of boundless possibilities. None of them got rich quick, all three worked extremely hard for their suppers. But they fundamentally get the Internet. I had been going to say they understand how the Internet is qualitatively different from what came before, but I am not sure that they do. I suspect that they can no more imagine what it was like before the Internet, than I can imagine what it was like before electricity.


3 responses to “Internet natives

  1. Interesting commentary.

    Only thing though, re Sandi Thom, the internet sensation claims are a hoax. She never did have a big audience for her webcasts. Her pr team just used that potential to snare press coverage from those ignorant about the web.

  2. I’ve been using the Web for 10 years, so I’d call myself a Net pioneer. But, having never invented any killer apps, and only been a user, I’m a modest one. I seem to have stuck there too – blogging is the most adventurous Net activity I’ve indulged in. I envy the Net Natives and their creativity …

  3. Hi Gord, and welcome to my Blog – I’m interested in what you say about Sandi Thom – that’ll larn me not to follow my instincts. I thought to myself “how did her servers manage to handle that amount of traffic?” – I should have followed my nose on that one. :-/

    Hi again Charlotte – you and me both. On the other hand I’ve always thought life on the East Coast in the 18th C sounds much pleasanter than life in the West in the 19th. Apart from the witch trials of course. Oh, and the War of Independence. But then I’ve always preferred Ben Franklin to Billy the Kid.


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