Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The internet and "white flight"

"White flight" was an old term for the departure of euros from Birmingham, Detroit and many other American cities during the 1960s and 1970s. I suspect it wasn't merely a matter of melanin deficiency, I think many middle-class folk with adequate melanin also decided to decamp for less troubled spots.

My sense is the same thing is happening with the internet, and with email in particular. Over the past few years my neighbors have increasingly given up on email -- particularly outside of the workplace. They usually can't explain why, but if you drill down it's spam, viruses, worms, etc. It just wears people down. They stop checking their email regularly, and then the spam pile-up is even worse. Eventually they give up on email. They may even give up on the net entirely.

The Internet is simply becoming a "bad neighborhood". I don't think that reality is getting factored into enough business plans. I would not be surprised to see a decrease in internet use over the next few years, even as the net is increasingly used for media distribution ....

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