It’s worth remembering what Sir Tim Berners-Lee did 21 years ago, when he created the first truly open internet-based platform: namely, the World Wide Web. In an early interview about his invention, Berners-Lee confessed there was a time where he considered taking a different route and trying to profit from what he had developed, but he chose a different path. The amount of social and commercial value that has been created as a result is almost impossible to calculate.
It’s worth reading the whole piece for an interesting look at the history of the web. But what jumped out at me was this reference to AOL…
Thanks to Berners-Lee, the web has never been a commercial entity, or it probably would have turned into something like AOL or CompuServe.
Today, Facebook and Twitter are in many ways trying to be what AOL was a decade or two ago: your one-stop place for content on the internet, where visitors spend increasingly large amounts of time. Will they suffer the same fate as a result?