Is Web Surfing Dying?


I'm still big on "web surfing" and prefer bouncing around from site to site to RSS feed readers and customized home pages like MyYahoo.

However, as information online continues to explode and as blog content replaces website content as the freshest and most interesting stuff online, I think we'll all be moving to a more structured environment for pulling in information. This won't stop our surfing but it will tend to reduce the time surfing and increase the focus on topics of interest to us. Interestingly, this may mean we'll be less inclined to bump into "new" ideas. On the upside it may allow more in depth analysis as we refine the niche sources to the best of class in our areas of expertise/interest and learn to organize the information and data associations in more effective ways.

I think these RSS vs Surfing developments may be more profound than most realize. At MIX06 it was clear that Microsoft was going to focus heavily on RSS feeds as a key online distribution tool. Yet it was striking to me how Bil Gates (who I respect) and MS in general seemed out of touch with the big news of Web 2.0. Tim O'Reilly and Tim Berners-Lee both are good at seeing the future and they seem to suggest there are profound changes in emphasis for the online world – a shift to community/collective intelligence/complex webs of interconnected dynamic data/ etc. This is not directly related to the future of surfing but will influence it greatly, and I think Web 2.0 may not be as compatible with "navigation via surfing" as the old web.

2 thoughts on “Is Web Surfing Dying?

  1. I think that search is the new surfing for a lot of people. I hear over and over about bored people at work, teens, etc simply typing random words into Google to see what comes up. It’s an odd form of entertainment, but they seem to like it.

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