Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Death of the Open Web?

The "open" Web has become saturated, overrun, and has even begun to fall into disuse, with an entire generation of sites being abandoned and virtually (virtually) useless. In a recent article, New York Times author Virginia Heffernan calls the simliarities between what happened in large cities like New York, Chicago, and Detroit and what is happening to the open Web "striking."

"Like the great modern American cities, the Web was founded on equal parts opportunism and idealism. Over the years, nerds, students, creeps, outlaws, rebels, moms, fans, church mice, good-time Charlies, middle managers, senior citizens, starlets, presidents and corporate predators all made their home on the Web... But a kind of virtual redlining is now under way. The Webtropolis is being stratified."

Heffernan says that with the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad, people can escape the riffraff of the Open Web in favor of, "... an orderly suburb... defined by apps from the glittering App Store. In the migration of dissenters from the 'open' Web to pricey and secluded apps, we’re witnessing urban decentralization, suburbanization and the online equivalent of white flight."

Are you headed out of the open Web in favor of paid sites and groups, and/or apps that keep you separate and away from the general Web population? What do you think the ramifications will be of this online stratification?

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