The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Just how "world wide" is the web? You can find Internet access in some surprising places: The base of Mount Everest, the heart of the Amazon rainforest, etc.

Yet touting the ability to get online is missing the point. There has to be a reason for people around the world to access the Web, aside from initial novelty. Unfortunately, outside the West, the Internet has very little to offer in terms of relevant content, language and culture.

I'm sure the average American (and maybe even European) websurfer will consider this to be Third World whining, twinged with envy of the developed world. This is the same mindset that considers English to be the "natural" lingua franca of the Web, just because that's the way it is. I wonder if the tune will change in the next five or so years, when the Chinese are expected to outnumber Americans on the Web. It's easy to assume your culture is the worldwide default, until another one usurps it.

Getting back to the original news report, I really liked the quote that wrapped it up:

"If people go on the Internet and do not find good content for themselves, then they go to pornography."

The history of the Web in a nutshell, really.