by Shelt Garner
When I was in college at JMU, I was obsessed with the Internet revolution that was going on around me, to the point that I studied every little morsal of news about it thinking I might see something unexpected about to take off. If I had had any ability to learn software, there’s a chance I could have become some sort of dotcom billionaire before the whole thing was over.
But, sadly, just like how I’m not fond of little kids who aren’t mine and they aren’t all that fond of me, either, I’m a writer of words, not code. This, however, did not stop me from ending up my college newspaper’s first online editor.
The interesting thing, and the thing we can learn the most from, is how it was not inevitable that cyberspace’s endgame would be the public Internet and, not, say, AOL, CompuServ, Prodigy or even AT&T / Ziff Davis’ Interchange. There definitely was a huge amount of momentum that was in the public Internet’s favor in the mid to late 1990s, but nothing is inevtiable.
It could be suggested that because the rise of the Internet was a unique thing event unto itself that it was given a breaks that it otherwise would never have gotten. If the powers that be — especially in the media — had truly understood how “disruptive” the Internet would ultimately have become, they likely would have tried to throttle it while they still had the opportunity.
So, this brings us to the Metaverse.
Meta is playing the part of 1990s Microsoft in this example of history repeating itself. This go round, because of what happened with the Internet, the Powers That Be know the potential power of this very disruptive concept and, as such, want to make it closed and proprietary so they can control it.
If you wanted to make yourself feel better, you would believe that despite this willful sabotage, all we might need some scrappy startup to use existing open standards for Web 3.0 (if they exist) in such a way that what happened to the Web when Netscape was released will happen to the Metaverse.
It could be that Facebook, er Meta, will always control the Metaverse and that will be that. It will be interesting to see how things play out going forward.