How can one manipulate the Internet without understanding the technology and other forces that drive it? Thinking of it as merely a “cloud” limits one’s potential to use the Internet to make money, promote a cause, or motivate the masses. Furthermore, failing to understand the Internet leaves one far behind the many who currently do.
I am not a journalist by trade, but the lessons learned in this week’s reading are, however, important in my line of work. For example, if I don’t understand how my Internet “presence” is perceived, I could alienate co-workers or customers who find me there.
One very interesting and applicable point I thought most of this week’s authors made was the idea of not getting stuck trying to define the Internet. As many of the authors inferred in their articles, the Internet is a living expression of us and our culture. There is no good reason to “figure out” the Internet. What’s more important, and definitely more profitable (in all forms of profit), is to learn how you and others are using it — or how it can be used — and then start from there.
I think everything I mentioned above also ties in well to the question of how it can be used in web development. One could learn to, let’s say, paint. He could learn the brushes to buy, the paper to use, and the techniques that make an attractive painting. He could get lost in it, actually. But if he can’t learn how painting is used to express an idea or feeling, or how people are moved by paintings, then he will never create a true work of art. In that same way, one could learn to be a web developer and never create a successful web page. Or one could learn to craft a web experience that moves people.