The Herman Trend Alert|
June 6, 2000
Web Population Increasing
208 Days until January 1, 2001
Not that long ago, "web site" and "internet" were almost foreign words. "Surfing" seemed high-tech, a bit overwhelming. How would we learn all we needed to know to be "web-savvy" and use this technology to its best advantage? The whole concept was difficult to understand, to grasp, and to work with.
Suddenly, as the word spread that e-mail was not that confusing, more people acquired e-mail addresses and came on-line. America OnLine and Compuserve populated quickly, promoting the ease of joining the cybercommunity. Their promotional discs were ubiquitous. Those who understood the technology became consultants, trainers, web designers, and (new word in our lexicon) webmasters.
Forward-thinkers opened internet cafes, offering neophytes an opportunity to test-drive the technology and have a cup of good coffee at the same time. While the internet café fad didn't exactly take over the niche occupied by coffee houses with folk-singing and poetry reading, they did gain a following. We've visited them, and used them, in several countries. Here is a great example: Common Grounds Internet Cafe, Buffalo, NY.
Eagerness to have a web presence fostered a new industry of web designers and internet service providers (ISP) who would create a web site-a showroom-and post it for all to see. Corporations began competing for "hits" as the e-commerce era emerged. Now it's commonplace for companies, government agencies, schools, and not-for-profits to have web sites-often extensive- promoting their products, philosophy, and job openings.
The next phase will be the increasing development of personal web sites, an expanded virtual directory of individuals, families, and groups of people formed together for various reasons. Software is now available for laymen to create and maintain their own websites. Some people will want to build their own sites, but will discover the steep learning curve and tremendous time investment to be inhibiting. There will continue to be a wide gap between what can be done by ordinary people and what can be accomplished by experienced, state-of-the-art web designers.
The web design business is in no danger of disappearing any time soon. It will continue to flourish, fueled by need and a strong inflow of young people proficient at the tasks.
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