Like the railroad and the United States in the nineteenth century, the internet is a geographical area revolutionized by a new technology. The progression of technology is the same in both cases:
- A new area is discovered.
- Survey and mapping is done.
- Communities are established.
- Community services are created.
The railroad clearly led to all four; the internet has only reached the third stage. The web started when the basic networking protocols were established and the first websites were created. Then came Yahoo and Google as surveyors, mapping out the newly created terrain, followed in the third stage by Facebook which started creating communities.
The next wave of the internet will involve creating community services: health, education, politics, entertainment located in the geography of the internet.
The demand for community services will spill over from the world of information into the world of of matter, from the digital to the analog. The merger of the two — digital + analog = digpan — will increasingly be the story of the web.