Cyberlife in 1999
By the time I came to the internet, it was already well established. However I was lucky enough get involved before it became widely popular, so I've had a chance to see it evolve from a curiosity to a mainstream medium.
Still, there's a lot of people who just don't get it. I laugh to myself when people say to me "You've been up all night on the Internet, haven't you?", as if I've got some dark secret life. People are still talking about "being on the Internet" in the same way that uninformed people talk about "being on drugs".
I spend several hours each day working with the net, during which time I usually achieve something I'm happy with. It could be that I've updated one of the sites I look after, or learned something new from one of the resource sites and newsgroups I frequent, or maybe helped someone else with a problem.
Most people I know spend at least several hours each day watching television, during which time they usually achieve stuff all. Maybe they get a slanted peek at the world through TV news, or a giggle out of some stupid sitcom, but it's not the norm to feel personally enriched after an evening of television viewing.
Where does the internet go from here? I'm an optimist. I think it goes onwards and upwards, although I wish I could be more certain. I know that if we want it to go that way, we'll all have to get involved and make it happen that way. Sitting back and moaning about the porn sites won't change anything.
Get stuck into it. It's the first mass medium to be readily available to most of us. It's still not easy to make yourself heard in cyberspace, but it can be done. After all, you're "listening" to me right now...