People Power documents the affect social media has had on our lives and through interviews with the founders of Napster, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook explains the rise of Web 2.0 and the cultural, commercial, and social impact this means of two-way communication has had on society. The program also looks at how traditional media companies have alternately rejected and embraced the Web at different times, as evidenced by the recording industry’s suit against Napster and NewsCorps’s purchase of MySpace.
First coined in 1999, the term Web 2.0 describes web sites that have gone beyond the static pages of early web sites and utilised technology to allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue. Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis and video sharing sites
Australians are now some of the most active social media users in the world and much of the user content based sites have broken down the influence and power that the traditional forms of media once possessed, such as Rupert Murdoch’s news empire and the music industry
The latest Australian social media stats show that almost half of the Australian population is signed up to Facebook. Although it doesn’t stop there as we continue to embrace new social tools such as Instagram, a photo sharing network, which quickly grew to 100 million members globally. As social media use continues to expand across the country it imparts a new sense of social power upon its users known as the ‘people power’ concept, which was described in the documentary. It refers to the change from one way communication where in the past the media has dictated what we as consumers see and instead now relies on its users to provide content for their sites and to create ‘networks’ and engage in conversation with other users.
“created a cult of digital narcissism and amateurism, which undermines the notion of expertise by allowing anybody, anywhere to share and place undue value upon their own opinions about any subject and post any kind of content, regardless of their particular talents, knowledge, credentials, biases or possible hidden agendas.”
Being a big user of social media myself I tend to disagree with Keen and instead think with the rise of social media and public platforms that it has very much given the world a new form of free speech. I believe the internet is now more relevant than ever and has become a more diverse tool for both research and entertainment.
Search is an interesting and historical documentary which looks at some of the high tech innovations and economic advances of the Internet through the development of search engines focusing on companies such as Yahoo and Google, which have helped to revolutionize modern-day society.
Stanford University students, Jerry Yang and David Filo together in 1994, founded the first well-established search engine known as Yahoo! As Yahoo took off and continued to grow they began to see the potential economic gains that could be delivered from developing a relationship between the internet and advertising. At first a little weary, Yahoo decided to expand and in 1995 introduced banner advertising. There is no denying that Yahoo were innovative with their ideas and took advantage of an opportunity to make serious money on the internet. However in doing so they managed to get carried away and “stopped caring about the search”. They lost sight of what had made them popular initially and opened the door for another competing search engine to take over the top spot.
In 1998 Larry Page and Sergey Brin, also from Stamford University, co-founded Google. This search engine had a far “more user friendly, webified format”, which immediately appealed to users. They got rid of the pop-ups and banner advertisements and instead integrated ads into the search results and recorded users’ search terms, or “keywords”, and cleverly sold them to companies and advertisers.
Google has gone on to deliver the world’s top search engine, the most popular mobile operating system and arguably the best advertising platform in the world. In January of this year, Google announced it had earned $50 billion in annual revenue for the year 2012. Google co-founder Larry Page describes the perfect search engine as one that would “understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want”. Google has continued to focus on developing such an engine and along the way has redefined the way people worldwide view and use the Internet.
To learn more on the history of Google watch this short 4min and 30sec video by Watch Mojo
Browser Wars is a documentary from the four-part series Download: the true story of the Internet. Written and presented by John Heilemann, the video explores the “vicious power struggle” between Netscape and Microsoft, which took place in the mid 90’s.
In the beginning, the World Wide Web was not so worldwide and instead was just pages of text which were only accessible to a specific niche of scientific researches. It wasn’t until 1993 when Marc Andreessen along with a group of young “geeks” from the University of Illinois realised the potential of the internet to be consumed by the masses. They developed the world’s first web-browser, Mosaic, which has been widely accredited for kick-starting the internet revolution.
Looking for a new business venture billionaire Jim Clark made the founders of Mosaic an offer too good to refuse. They joined forces to form Netscape and in 1994 created the world’s first user friendly web browser called Navigator.
Everyday people checking out the World Wide Web for the first time usually did so with Netscape Navigator. It was the most popular software for searching around the emerging internet and in 1995 dominated the market.
Netscape’s success could no longer be ignored and on December 7, 1995, Microsoft C.E.O. Bill Gates having once himself dismissed the Internet as a passing fad sent a memo out to his employees. Known in the industry as Pearl Harbor Day, he named Netscape as a target and outlined Microsoft’s aggressive new approach to the Internet. Along with a team of top-notch programmers he went on to build Internet Explorer with the sole intention of dislodging Netscape.
Although this was an unfair fight and Microsoft had clear advantages in the browser wars, one simply being an issue of resources. Having begun with nearly a 90% market share and a great deal of public goodwill Netscape was a relatively small company and derived the bulk of its income from what was essentially a single product, which left the company financially vulnerable.
Jim Clark states in the 2008 Vanity Fair article How the Web was Won that:
Microsoft was making it very clear that they were going to kill us. We were trying to negotiate deals where Compaq and Gateway and all these P.C. manufacturers would bundle our Web browser. And Microsoft threatened them. Microsoft threatened them that if they did they would revoke their license to Windows. So, needless to say, everyone backed off.
Unfortunately for Netscape, its competitor proved to be too powerful and in 1997 the war was declared over and Microsoft had reigned supreme.
As a documentary, Browser Wars gives a good overview of the events that took place during this incredible social and technological revolution. It did however become apparent through further research that this video fails to credit any of the technological achievements made outside the United States. however having no prior knowledge of the debates surrounding this historical development, Browser Wars was informative and incredible interesting.