Caution: This post is _not_ about the SNL character “Jack Handy” played by the late (great) Phil Hartman – although his sketches were great and he deserves a mention now and then …. I will leave it at that.
No, this is about a phenomonon which I have yet to capture in words. It is all that is good about the Internet and the World Wide Web.
You are chatting with a friend and they say something (anything) which conjures up an image (in my case it was the image of “Geri the Cleaner” from Toy Story 2 – where he had those little glasses on with the lights and the “flip” magnifying glasses – he used them to clean Woody) yet the individual on the other end of the conversation has no idea what you are talking about – not because you are a lunatic but because they weren’t there or they didn’t see that movie.
So, here in lies the great thought I had today – 10 years ago – how would I ever get them to “visualize” that thought? Short answer – I wouldn’t. I could tell them to go watch the movie, I could send them a copy of the video etc… No matter how I did it though it would take forever. More than likely, the context of the thought would have been lost and the effort I put into helping them “visualize” would be useless.
Answer: World Wide Web
For starters I did not know the guys name so I Googled (yes that is noun) “toy mender Toy Story 2” – of course that returned “Are you sure you didn’t mean ‘toy bender Toy Story 2′”. So after a few more tries and ultimately a trip to IMDB – I found out the characters name was “Geri the Cleaner“. Low and behold – I was also greeted with a wonderful picture of the fine old man with his glasses (the ones with the lights).
In about 2 minutes – I was able to completely represent my thought and with visual support. Not possible 10 years ago (well maybe it was possible 9 years ago – the movie debuted in 1999).
Sometimes it is important to sit back and reflect on the hard work we first generation “Interneteers” have accomplished. Just like the railroad workers in the 1800 – we are laying the foundation for the communication architecture of the future.