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I started on the internet back in the late 80s.
I was involved in it, took classes in it, worked in IT (Internet, intranet technologies and...information technologies) in a variety of ways, jobs, levels and orientations.
It's amazing to see how far we've come. For that matter, how far I've come, as I've retired from IT and now am a full time author and filmmaker with at least ons screenplay in hopefully the right hands in Hollywood.
I even wrote a short sci fi story about America, the internet and media titled, In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear. It is recently available as of June 2018 as an audiobook as well as ebook. It was my first fiction sold to a horror quarterly back in 1990 and is the first story in my book of my older sci fi and horror fiction, Anthology of Evil. I have a sequel coming out of my newer writings, many of which have been published in magazines or anthologies with other authors.
Graphic from Zcorum
Much has even disappeared from online, or has become a fee based access situation. Overall, the Internet has benefited us all, if only we can get back some of our original orientation, if only we could counter some of the for profit issues and get back to the betterment of humanity.
At first for us it was, "information is free!" It should be Free! "The Internet is for Humanity!" Not big money! Not big business. Certainly not for Russia to alter our national elections!
Back in the 80s, if someone tried to sell something in the newsgroups back then in the beginning, or the middle, the late 80s, where we had mostly text based newsgroups, FTP, Telnet, Gopher, whatever text based stuff, they were crushed. Ostracized.
When the graphical internet, the World Wide Web, WWW, what came to be known as the internet as the dark parts sunk into the dark web...money started creeping its way in. A few of us pushed to keep it out until (I for one) realized that it was far bigger than us and far too powerful (money's like that) and that it could serve a good purpose. But then would obviously take a darker course. Simply because...it's inevitable.
Eventually I got it, as did others, but it worried me\us.
I learned, I got educated about it, I took many classes. I worked in IT. First as a technical writer, then deeper and deeper into the mechanics of it all. Which led as it has to, to security. Something I'd been into before at a more physical level.
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I had stumbled into something awesome. Something that led to Internet security people and police as well as intelligence people at all levels and the government. Something I was headed into before. The great Soviet had died but that education and those skills were all still relevant.
Now here we are. We need a place for everyone to use. Not fractured, but cohesively. Not to polarize, but to feel to feed ourselves intellectually and other ways. To share with like, but also unlike minds.
We need this. It protects us. It also attacks us. Sometimes from those we elect or pay to protect us. Openness, transparency. THAT protects us. That and being able to share and openly so.
I don't care if it's Facebook or not. Or as I proposed in my above mentioned story, In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear, where the United Nations builds its own "Facebook" social media platform. Using experts from around the world to build it, all the best minds. It replaces Facebook. Everyone the world over uses it.
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So that when any dictator or government shuts its people off from it, the UN pays attention, and immediately sends in moderators, "blue hats", to protect the people and stop more abuse as we've seen so much through the end of the last century and the beginning of this new one.
It became what it could become, as with Facebook or Twitter in the Arab Spring, or other national travesties. I had done my best back in 2011 to support that movement in Egypt and some did use my blog back then for updates to information their government was trying hard to keep them from. It was a hopeful time, that devolved into mediocrity, much as America has with the election of Donald Trump as president.
Before Facebook it was MySpace, which has changed into a music platform. Before that, there were others. Before that there were the BBSs, the Bulletin Board Systems you used a modem to dial your phone and PC up to.
Before that...well, it's been around for a while. This ability to communicate world wide. In the late 1960s when I was in jr. high and had a radiotelegraph license and could run a ham radio. I talked to other countries and wrote it all down as is normal procedure for hamm operations.
Before that it was telephones and before that, the telegraph. Although that technology was by a select few of trained and paid individuals, a kind of subculture grew up around it and telegraph stations across the nation. There are even very interesting books on that culture.
But we don't do that anymore. Though, we kind of do. Don't we? Everything now is recorded and saved, somewhere. And, we need that. For history, for our protection. For our coming together. For humanity growing closer, rather than continuing to take advantage of those less knowledgeable, less powerful, less whatever. But we're seeing humanity growing more apart. Why? We need to work on that, and turn things around, to be sure.
In that way we can make those others and ourselves, more than. Not less. Because as we're seeing, too many are trying to make us all, less than we can be. I'd really prefer to be more, for us ALL to be more than we are. Even if I don't always win. Even if I don't become rich. Even if I can't, have everything.
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Especially if those around me, are happy too.