Today is the first ever OneWebDay; “the one day a year when we all – everyone around the physical globe – can celebrate the Web and what it means to us as individuals, organizations, and communities”. OneWebDay was started by Susan Crawford who’s also one of our Board Directors at ICANN and an all round good egg. The idea is to celebrate all the good things about the web, and the Internet more broadly, and do things that either make it better or remind ourselves how great it already is. Fun things, chatty things, useful things, things like teaching people to blog, getting grannies online and building community spaces.
We’ve not planned anything quite as concrete as all that here at CT. In fact, we’ve not planned anything at all. But we can certainly do the celebrating and reminiscing part of it.
Things like sharing:
How the web changed my life
How I found my job online
How I found friends online
What the web means to me
Or, my own category; mad things the web lets us do that we’d never thought of before and now can’t live without.
You know, the little things. So here goes.
How the web changed my life: well, I used to work in tv and film and had to get up very early. Which was no good as I’m emphatically not a morning person (not really a night owl or a middle of the day person either, for that matter). Now I make my living more or less directly from the Internet as I’ve worked in Internet policy for the last six years. So that’s pretty obvious.
The real way the Internet changed my life, though, is by making expat life a bit less like living with a running sore. I IM with at least one sibling every day, blog with another, and share photos and emails with all the rest. And if I ever figure out this Skype thing, I won’t even have to phone my parents any more. (They already have video-conferencing with their 8 month old grand-son in Washington, and will get it up and running next week for their 5 day old grand-daughter in Shropshire.) I read the Irish Times (and the Guardian, Washington Post and Le Monde) every morning, so I never feel completely out of touch with events. I download Questions and Answers and the evening news from Irish television and probably see more of my pundit/public figure type relatives than I ever did when I lived at home. I buy my flights online, knowing that the instant arbitrage of the Internet has helped drive prices down to the point where I can afford to be at home every six weeks. I manage bank accounts in four countries and shopped around for the best mortgage in one of them. And I get loads of silly joke emails every day, just as if I was in an office in Dublin. Of course, nothing is the same as living in your own country, speaking in your own accent, sitting in your best friend’s kitchen talking rubbish over a bottle of wine, going to a crap movie with your little brother because, hey, you’ve got the time. But the Internet helps. Lots.
So that’s a start, anyway. There’s lots I could say about how I got into Internet policy back in the days when we had all that west coast libertarian guff about the Internet making us free (because information wants to be free. Right.) and I started to worry that it was actually the ultimate technology of control. But it’s OneWebDay, the day when we think about the happy, shiny stuff the Internet has brought us.
So think. And share. Thanks!