It seems that we had barely begun to declare the print media’s demise, now all of a sudden there are some that say the World Wide Web is treading the same path.
In a Wired.com report entitled “The Web is Dead. Long live the Internet“, authors Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff argue that the uptake of mobile apps means that fewer people are using their web browsers. Increasingly, they are checking their emails, getting their news, using social media and being entertained entirely through specialised applications. In short, they are using the internet but not the web.
But does this spell doom? No one can doubt that the smartphone/tablet revolution hasn’t had an effect. But is it a bit premature to declare the web dead? After all, corporate workers spend their days in front of computer screens where the web is a click away. Travellers continue to frequent internet cafes. And there’s still plenty of people out there who can’t use web apps from their old-school mobile handsets.
To try and answer this question, I decided to go out and ask a few people how they access the internet. Here’s what they said:
People are one half of the equation. Organisations who rely on their web presence aren’t going to give up without a fight either. Twitter has recently overhauled its web portal to combat the growing use of third-party clients. As Peter Cashmore wrote for CNN, the intent of the redesign was “to make Twitter.com a compelling Web destination”. Meanwhile, Facebook’s constant redesigning of its web portal suggests Zuckerberg and Co still place much importance on it.
All this leads me to think that it’s a little premature to be reading the World Wide Web its last rites. After all, chances are you’re reading this right now on a web browser.
Then again – having said that, as I sit in front of my computer writing this – I did just check my email on my mobile.