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Democratizing Publishing on the web – and archiving for the future

The past few days has been eye opening as far as the internet and where it’s going.

WordCamp San Francisco, 2014

I spent two full days at WordCamp for WordPress developers at Mission Bay UCSF campus, walking distance from the World Series games 4 and 5 at AT&T park. (I was tempted to check out the happenings there, but glad I didn’t).  I’ve been using WordPress as a development tool for years, but not really understanding the premise behind it. Yes, we all know that it started out as a blog tool and morphed into a CMS web development tool, but I didn’t realize that WordPress powers an astonishing 23% of the websites on the internet. Or that WordPress is the largest publishing platform in the world! But was really exciting was how their mission of “Democratizing Publishing” created a culture of openess, inclusion, diversity and really “hands-on” participation of everyone in the WordPress universe.

There are more phones on the planet than people

Amazing but true. The realization that “reaching out and connecting to people” changes the world in seconds giving true meaning to the phrase “power to the people”. The internet has evolved to an interactive conversation: people to people, people to organizations, organizations to organizations (and even people to machine). WordPress as an organization is committed to giving the tools to the people, by creating the technology to move converations from desktop to mobile devices, to entertainment centers to billboards, kiosk, cars, and appliances. Now is our opportunity to join the conversation, and take an active part in helping shape our world.

Documenting the world

As the internet is becoming the largest repository of information in history, we need to insure that the information is documented for future generations. Internet Archive is committed to that mission. At the dawn of the internet, Brewster Kahle and Internet Archive created the WayBack Machine as a way to archive web sites as sites and companies evolve, change, and even go out of business. Internet Archive is now the world’s largest archival of web pages, growing at a rate of 12 terabytes of data per month. In January, 2013, the company announced a ground-breaking milestone of 240 billion URLs.

Last night’s Internet Archive “coming out” party gave Brewster and team the opportunity to unveil new tools that allow everyone to participate in the documention and archival of digital content. From music, movies, books, and even television shows, their vision is to be able to capture content from around the world, and make it available to anyone, instantly. And it’s not only about historical data. Utilizing social media, their software allows a real-time pulse on people’s responses to events or issues. Another pilot program they conducted showcased a heated poliitical race and revealed how much a candidate spent on media, and the contributors to that candidate. They hope to roll this out nationally in a few years.

Probably what they are most proud about is their new, redesigned website, which they launched a beta at www.internetarchive.org/v2. This site organizes information in a simple and visually appealing manner that gives a tiny peak into the enormity of the internet.

 Where do we go from here?

Bottomline, we know that the internet will continue to evolve as technological innovation creates new tools most of us haven’t even dreamed about. But, we are now at a realization that we all have the opportunity to shape the internet, and most importantly, join the conversation and be an active part of moving the global society forward. Yes, there will be those that take advantage of the technology for their own personal gain, but we can make a difference by speaking up and taking a stand.

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