Why has the Internet become so overwhelmingly popular? People swarm to the Internet. Facebook, Google, and YouTube have explosive growth, bandwidth increases, and access on mobile devices has become huge in almost the blink of an eye.
I think it’s because it allows people to interact in ways that are similar to how people love to interact face to face while removing barriers of time and space. It is not like traditional media—print, radio, and TV. Those media, while wonderful, are fundamentally different from the Internet. They do not allow multi-way communication. The communication is one way—from the author to the reader, from the disc jockey to the fans, from the sit-com to the audience.
The Internet is more like a combination of writing letters, talking on the phone, and getting together in groups. Sure, content providers and advertisers can still talk to their audiences, but the audience can talk back! Audience members can talk to each other, and potential audience members can talk to current audience members. What’s more, a great deal of the content is created by the audience itself—that famous “user generated content” we hear so much about.
I believe this is way web media and face-to-face events work so well together. They are both “social media.” And, they supplement each other. The web takes away the barriers of time and space, and physical events satisfy the human need for face-to-face interaction.
What do you think?