As I returned to IRC today for the first time in at least six years, it struck me. Back in 1994 I was on a unix terminal and I used the internet for at least six to eight hours a day. My phone bills were astronomical. But everything was new. Everything was exciting. The internet, though in black and white and text only in Lynx, was this huge new universe that spanned the earth and had an unsaturable urge to grow into all possible directions. Back in 1995 I blagged my way into one of the Netherlands biggest mail order furniture retailers and sat across their marketing director explaining him why they needed to take their business online. Needless to say that he thought I was a lunatic and that people would never buy their couch online. They went bankrupt last year.
Five years ago I joined Twitter. I found that same kind of people. They were enthusiastic, eager to break the barriers. They saw opportunity everywhere. Nothing was too crazy. They were looking for the edge. The next direction of growth. New things were started daily.
And today? Today the internet has become a common good. And we notice. Everything seems to be smothered in marketing. Money and opportunities to make money seem to rule the sentiments online. Where are the modern day explorers? It is not like the internet has stopped expanding. It is not like there is nothing new on the horizon. And I strongly believe that there are many things beyond the horizon that will change our world forever.
As a kid, I read about the great explorers. And now it is time to get on that horse again. There is more out there. Way more. The only thing that is keeping us from progressing further is the comfort of the city that we have built around us. And it is time we find our way back to where we can enter the jungle from our paved roads and mirror glass buildings. It is time to go.