The World Wide Web as Today’s Printing Press
From 1989 the WWW changed the game forever

The Gift of The World Wide Web

In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee decided to gift humanity with the remarkable invention he came up with, the individual addressing of pages which are published on a network. This seemingly technical, and rather dry invention concealed a colossal power.

When the printing press was invented back in 1439’ish, the chap who came up with it (Gutenburg) had little idea that his assembly of press, and lettering squeezed onto pages of paper would change the world; but a few years later on when book publishing became established, ‘Education’ took on a mass scale. That physical invention resulted in the the spread of ideas, the possibility of information and relaying of ‘news’ between communities of people. The printing press represents the beginning of our modern era.

The World Wide Web could have made its inventor a fabulously wealthy individual, I don’t think many of us can truly appreciate just how wealthy Tim Berners-Lee could have made himself, had he decided to license his WWW. Imagine the scale of fees he could have charged Google, Facebook, Twitter and all of the Silicon Valley enterprises to use this medium of addressing, the volume of revenue he could have commanded?

Essentially the WWW allows us to publish anything we choose, just so long as this observes the addressing protocol.

The WWW is not the internet. The internet refers to the ability of all the different networks of the world to be able to connect, and exchange data, regardless of how different they are technically. The World Wide Web is essentially a means to take advantage of this inter-connection; each publication being able to be visible across this web of computer connection.Brilliant!

But, as all publishers know, just because you put something out there does not mean people are going to read it! In fact without marketing and publicity, advertising very few books would sell. Of course we have specialized little boutique markets, academic circles, and other specialized groups where ‘word of mouth’ operates to make a specific publication famous and generates demand, it is not always about public marketing.

We know that just because we can put something up on the WWW does not mean it will be visible, or succeed in helping its publisher become more visible. We need to ensure that we present our media in specific ways, observe technical conditions such as the ‘Meta’ mark up for our pages, make our writing meaningful and relevant to human readers, provide audio and video content that addresses the specific topics and subjects we work with.

The question of ‘Optimization’ is one that generates a considerable range of opinion, and polarizes argument. We have many service providers who claim to be able to improve your visibility, and reach online; the practical outcomes of their offered services can be highly variable.

In fact if you look at any freelance site, and observe the requests for assistance from many companies, business owners and individuals you will find a considerable level of assumption, and assertion concerning this very topic. People think they know what is required to gain visibility, what technical steps and ‘keyword density’ is needed, but essentially if you are not producing content for human beings you are wasting your time.

There is no magic formula, or algorithm-pleasing approach that can guarantee your success. Concepts such as going ‘Viral’ are today just not meaningful. The World Wide Web has matured in ways that vastly exceed these outmoded ideas about Search Engine Optimization, ‘SEO’ as an industry seems to have become stuck in the internet culture of the mid 000’s in many places.

The WWW as a medium of publishing is what we are interested with. The ownership of publishing resources used to be the means by which the powerful, and the exclusive groups in our society were able to establish themselves as being the dominant voices in our world.

It is little wonder then, that today these same owners of the legacy media resources are seeking to tear down this far more egalitarian access to publishing. The very means through which our post WWII society was built has been directly challenged by the emergence of the World Wide Web.

We have gone through the initial period of novelty with our internet-based publications, from 1996 to the present day represents a considerable ‘arc’ of development, some focus solely on technology but this is a mistake, it is the cultural and social effects that offer us the more significant opportunities.

In presenting this set of services I seek to enable the literacy of my clients to be extended to the digital medium of the World Wide Web, we can be distracted by the range of technologies which we have to work with, and we can be misled by clever personalities into following their version of what is important; reviewing what it is we wish to achieve is extremely important.

I think regarding the WWW as being firstly a powerful means of communicating, and seeking to build our own media presence is the most useful approach of all. We have this opportunity to connect, to develop our place in the world, it was gifted to humanity, we can make it work for our case, it is after all our gift.