Welcome to the Center Stage of History

Wouldn’t it be great for the Internet economy if people would just leave us alone to do our jobs?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could drop the hype — last year’s positive hype and this year’s negative hype — and just concentrate on making things happen?

A lot of things are happening.

The Internet is evolving from a dependence on HTML to a structure based on XML that can accommodate any device, wired or wireless.

The Internet is moving from electrical-based switches and wires to light-based switches and cables.

The Internet is breaking the bounds of the telephone network and going onto fixed wireless and coaxial cables.

The Internet is becoming an integral part of all we do at work and school.

The Internet now takes nearly as much of the average citizen’s attention as TV and more than print.

No one talks about having an “Internet strategy” anymore. All strategies are Internet strategies. You no longer have just a web site. Instead, you’ve changed all your internal and external communication methods based on Internet technologies.

The Internet is no longer the web, email, or even chat. The Internet is what it was meant to be — a universal network connecting all data to all people, anywhere and anytime.

You can’t hide on the Internet; your past catches up with you. All someone needs to do is a “Google” on you, and it’s right there.

You can’t hide from the Internet. It will follow you everywhere.

Old monopolies, whether those of Microsoft or the recording industry, can’t stand in the Internet Age. No one can be certain what’s replacing them, which is why all carriers, old and new tech, see their stocks near their lows.

This really should be a time to celebrate. We truly have changed the world.

But no one’s celebrating at all. Instead, we are mainly afraid.

Voters were asked this year what they might do with this brave new world we’re making for them. On the whole, they (and the politicians who follow them) have put their heads in the sand, hoping only that government can somehow minimize the impact. That may be beyond any government’s capability, which is why those most involved with the Internet are least involved in the present elections.

I read history in college, and this is how people usually react to change. They try to put it into familiar boxes, wishing for a return to normalcy and the days before the change existed.

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a political reporter, following and analyzing what politicians said. I thought that would mean I would be covering history.

Instead, I got caught up in this little backwater called technology. I wrote about PCs and then networks. I hid in this quiet online world.

Well, I know better now. I’m at the center, and the politicians are at the periphery. As a reporter who set out to find history and understand it before it slipped through his fingers, I’m very proud of that.

You should be proud, too. You are the story. And if everyone would just ignore us for a while, we’ll make a grand, grand story, too.

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