Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: 100 websites that will change the world

Author:Zac Thompson
Posted:1/16/2000; 9:26:53 PM
Topic:100 websites that will change the world
Msg #:14505 (In response to 14504)
Prev/Next:14504 / 14506

Tricky. You're right, of course, they will change the world. They already have changed the world, but it's the effect on the current generation of youth that will be most telling. What's worse, to my mind, is the web's dirty little secret -- that porn seems to be driving most of the technological advances now.

Streaming video, javascript, Shockwave, e-commerce ... Even Jakob Nielsen's personal grail of *micropayments* will be made or broken by its adoption by porn sites.

But is this really all that surprising? Polaroids, camcorders, DVD ... these aren't web technologies, but they've each done a little revolutionary dance with the porn industry. And will there be a single porn site that is going to change the world? I doubt it. Apart from the ones broadcasting live sex shows, I don't think (someone correct me if I'm wrong) any of them are providing truly new stuff that wasn't available before. Digital dirty pictures and movies are still just dirty pictures and movies, after all. And maybe you're showing your age, Dave ... when *I* was 16, you could find pretty (ahem) clear imagery at the local library. That emotional landscape is already changing, I think ... nudity is practically edging into prime-time television.

If you're going to talk about classes of sites that will change the world, porn sites are definitely one of them. But you must also include chat rooms (we all know them to be mostly front-ends to IRC or MUD-type environments, but the rest of the world doesn't), which represent the irrepressible potential of the internet to connect any two people in the world who are online at once.

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