A website can be a lot of things: a tool, a storefront, a billboard, a portfolio, a resume, a story, an archive, a building, a game.
The list could go on indefinitely.
I’d like to propose that, beneath all of these things, a website is something else. I believe that it’s ultimately a kind of CANVAS, or even more broadly, that it’s an ART FORM.
THE GREATEST INNOVATIONS IN HISTORY
If you and I were asked to rank, say, the ten greatest innovations in history, our lists would surely be different. But I’m fairly certain that, if we’re both being honest, our lists would include the printing press.
When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press during the mid-1400’s, he didn’t just construct some new machine. When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, he CHANGED THE WORLD.
I doubt most people in the fifteenth century recognized all the new doors that had been opened by Gutenberg’s innovation.
Some probably saw it as a business opportunity, others as a tool or a more efficient means of communication. Some probably even considered it a fad, just another new idea that would be popular for a time, and then be gone.
Having the benefit of considerable hindsight (more than five-hundred years of it, in fact), we know that the printing press was far more than a fad, a business opportunity, or a tool.
-It was a completely new kind of canvas
-It welcomed new kinds of painters
-It made possible new kinds of paintings
and (perhaps most importantly)
-It enabled any painter, old or new, to share their work with the world
And that, if you ask me, is changing the world.
THE BEST IS YET TO COME
The internet is still incredibly young.
Whether the website and other “web properties” are infants, toddlers, children, or adolescents, I doubt anyone can say for sure.
What we do know is that, like the printing press, it has changed the world.
So even if the website is in or near adulthood, let us not be deceived: we’ve only begun to see what this new art form can do.
The printing press may have only undergone minor changes in the past five hundred years. But WHAT WE’VE DONE WITH the printing press has changed radically (and many times, at that).
Just as the printing press cleared the way for all of modern literature, I believe the internet has cleared the way for a new art form of its own. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I will say this:
I believe it’s fundamentally different than any art form we’ve previously seen.
Why is it so fundamentally different? In short, the reason is this:
Anything you dream you can do.