Magazine Feature / People

‘Incredible Internet Guy’ envisions ‘new’ Internet

Cyber-trends author Ken Leebow has seen the “new” Internet, and it is us. 

People all over the world are generating a flood of information on the World Wide Web, sparking “Revolution 3.0,” Leebow told guests Dec. 8 at the 2006 School of Engineering and Computer Science awards banquet.

“We are, bit-by-bit, tearing down the wall of institutions,” said Leebow, known as “the Incredible Internet Guy” for his 18-plus books in the “300 Incredible Things to Do on the Internet” series. 

The impact is not confined to mainstream institutions such as newspapers, which are seeing classified ad revenue shrivel thanks to sites like Web-based institutions that first released the floodwaters aren’t immune, Leebow said.

“Google is the 800-pound gorilla on the Internet, but 98 percent of its revenue comes from advertising,” Leebow explained. “The other day I found a free utility to customize your browser to hide advertising. It was invented by one individual — what would happen to Google if everyone used that?”

“Everybody’s an expert in something,” Leebow continued, noting that it’s not necessary to be a journalist or media maven to be a recognized authority anymore. “There are 55 million blogs, and if only 1 percent of them have any value, then there are 550,000 incredibly passionate experts talking about their expertise.” 

Wikipedia, a nonprofit resource with 1.5 million articles contributed by its users, has become the world’s largest encyclopedia. Traditional resources such as Encyclopedia Britannica and others average only 70,000 entries, Leebow added. 

“If you do a search for Ben Franklin, in the top 10 will be an article from Wikipedia. Britannica and Encarta are nowhere to be found.”

What Craigslist has done to newspaper classifieds, YouTube is doing to television. 

“All TV stations are now online and trying to figure out how to get 100 million people a day to look at videos,” Leebow said, pointing out that online video site is searchable, available on demand and not constrained by 30- or 60-minute time slots. The fact that online video can be embedded on other Web sites also makes it a powerful force for change, he said.

“My great hope for the Internet is online video and how it can be used for education,” Leebow concluded. “I hope over the next few years all kinds of great speeches and presentations will be available to the masses.”

Leebow’s presentations are part of Qwest Communication’s online safety initiative. For more information,

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