Monday, February 26, 2007

Worrying about the Fragile Web

I have to admire Jason Goldman for the passion that he feels towards his work.

In a recent blogpost, he asked the question, Does working on the web truly matter? and immediately answered with a resounding Yes!

And you know what? That got me thinking.

Deep down inside, I believe that working on the web does matter. Perhaps that's why I'm always surfing the 'net, forever adding new blogs to my RSS subscriptions, and endlessly creating one more account on yet another new website so I can explore the features for no real purpose other than the intellectual stimulation of having my curiosity satisfied.

At the same time, however, I can't help but worry about the fragility of the web. Perhaps living in a newly industrialized country such as the Philippines has made me more sensitive to how easily bits and bytes can be destroyed or rendered inaccessible. Heck, in the past few months alone, I've experienced losing all the basic utilities (electricity, water, and Internet access), sometimes for extended periods. When you have no 'up time' guarantees for the basic stuff, well, the web by necessity takes a back seat.

Perhaps that's why so few of my friends here have even heard of 'Web 2.0' or 'User Generated Content.' Frankly, most of them will have to work to stifle their yawns if I try to explain the idea. They're more concerned about balancing their budgets, raising their kids, managing their businesses, and doing other things out in the real world.

Add to all this the fact that anyone with a web browser can easily find the location of Google's mega-data center in Oregon, and well, you have to wonder how susceptible this blog is to getting blown up in some freak terrorist attack.

I know, I know... I'm sounding delusionally paranoid now. But that's the direction that my mind naturally takes when I realize just how many of my eggs have (over time) been moved into this single basket called Google.

Having said all this, I return to the original question: does working on the web matter? My answer is still Yes... but (and there's a but) the work is simply too high up on Maslow's pyramid to benefit the Filipino everyman, and frighteningly far too susceptible to damage and sabotage in our increasingly unsafe world.