Saturday, December 26, 2009

Zaijian, Ni hao (Goodbye & Hello)

It is customary at this time of the year to look back and reminisce about the year gone by. This year, its also the end of the decade – the “noughties” as they are curiously called. The media, traditional and new, is dominated by the recounting of events of the past decade –the horror of September 11, the tsunami, the Sichuan earthquake, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the wonder of the Beijing Olympics, the rise of China, the global financial crisis, and so on.

But take a step back, and by far, the greatest event of the decade gone by has been the unbelievable development of the Internet. Just picture the dawn of the new millennium. Google had just been started and most people still did not know of that term. Blogging was virtually unknown – the word blog itself had just been coined in mid 1999. More recent phenomena such as Twitter, Facebook and the like were not even on the horizon. Even e mail was not ubiquitous. Dinosaurs like AOL and Alta Vista ruled the world.

10 years on and the on line world has dramatically changed. If even a tech savvy Rip van Winkle has gone to sleep in December of 1999 and woken up today, he would be completely lost. Such has been the pace of change. That Chotu’s great grandmother can see and talk to her great grandson who is thousands of miles away, for free, is a miracle of immense proportions.

What amazes me is that as a society we have embraced this change so well. Disruptive change of this nature usually comes with cataclysmic implications on society. Large numbers of people are very slow to accept such changes – when the first railways were introduced in Britain long long ago, most people would not travel on it as they feared the health consequences of high speed travel (20 kmph. But today the online world is rapidly changing every month and even Chotu’s GGM adopts it gleefully.

What does the next decade hold for us online ? Only one thing is for sure – everybody who predicts what the change will be is going to be wrong. But at the end of the coming decade, we are surely going to marvel at the immense changes that have taken place. And probably reflect back on how unthinkably backward 2009 was !

We will, no doubt, plunge headlong into the changing online world. But change as it may, one thing I shall pray remains the same. The lovely community that we have come together as bloggers, le embrouille blogueur, Adesh, Zoobie, AJCL (still sticking to your old name), Savitha, Sri, The Thoughtful Train, Gils, Sandhya, Preeti, Reflections, Deepa, Dave, Priya, Rads (please come back) and all ye yeomen, I hope remains the same warm well knit online community. And perhaps some of the lovely people who comment here and are very much part of our wonderful community – Dada, Kiwibloke, J, Satish, Hansjoerg, Durga, VA, LG, Sabareesan, Mahesh, Kotla, Aashish, Exkalibur, et all, may become bloggers themselves.

Raising a toast to the wonderful friends who inhabit this space.

Happy New Year.