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Are We Out of Fresh Ideas for the Internet?

With the release of Pinstagram, a website that allows you to create a pin board with Instagram pins, there is one inevitable question we should…

With the release of Pinstagram, a website that allows you to create a pin board with Instagram pins, there is one inevitable question we should ask: Is the Internet running out of ideas, or is this another stroke of creativity that will enhance the social media experience?

The Internet is becoming the hub for personal and professional interactions. These interactions aren’t limited to messages, they can be in the form of video, sound clips, cartoons, and of course pictures. All these different channels mean infinite opportunities for creators. Or so we assume.

With Facebook dominating personal interactions, Twitter being the live updates forum, and websites like LinkedIn establishing professional connections, one can question the possible growth of new social media platforms. There are still innumerable ways to enhance the user experience on these websites by adding apps and connecting all your online profiles, but can adding applications qualify as improved creativity and growth?

In the Guardian, journalist John Naughton is bold about its claim that the Internet is not throwing any more surprises our way. According to Naughton, “We're getting an endless stream of incremental changes and me-tooism. If I see one more proposal for a photo-sharing or location-based web service, anything with ‘app’ in it, or anything that invites me to ‘rate’ something, I'll scream.” The article is a provocation. It is an invitation to think bigger, dream bigger and impress the growing web audience.

HBR editorial director Justin Fox believes that this is the low-innovation era with regard to the Internet. He develops Neal Stephenson’s argument that compares 20th century innovations like electricity and cars to 21st century innovations, which Stephenson argues are rather limited. He argues that electricity is still electricity of the last century and cars are better but not revolutionized to the degree they could’ve been. Communication is the one field where changes have been impressive, but experts argue that these changes aren’t as impactful as the change from telegraph to radio to television.

We are on the cusp of two viewpoints. One says the Internet is an endless opportunity and there has never been a better time to innovate, and the other argues that this is not an age of innovation; adding features to your phone is not revolutionizing it.

This is a great debate; definitely made us put our thinking caps on. One cannot deny the progress we’ve made in the field of communication, but how many of you think the Internet is exhausted and how many of you think we’ve just about started?

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