The Web has explored the adjacent possible of its medium far faster than any other communications technology in history. In early 1994, the Web was a text-only medium, pages of words connected by hyperlinks. But within a few years, the possibility space began to expand. It became a medium that let you do financial transactions, which turned it into a shopping mall and an auction house and a casino. Shortly afterward, it became a true two-way medium where it was as easy to publish your own writing as it was to read other people’s, which engendered forms that the world had never seen before: user-authored encyclopedias, the blogosphere, social network sites. YouTube made the Web one of the most influential video delivery mechanisms on the planet. And now digital maps are unleashing their own cartographic revolutions.
From “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation” by Steven Johnson – Riverhead Books