The value of the Internet as a repository of useful information is very low. Carl Shapiro in “Information Rules” suggests that the amount of actually useful information on the Internet would fit within roughly 15,000 books, which is about half the size of an average mall bookstore. To put this in perspective: there are over 5 billion unique, static & publicly accessible web pages on the www. Apparently Only 6% of web sites have educational content (Maureen Henninger, “Don’t just surf the net: Effective research strategies”. UNSW Press). Even of the educational content only a fraction is of significant informational value.
So why is it that the Internet is so popular as an information resource for the masses? I submit for 2 reasons:
Since everybody is using the same thing – the WWW – there’s no compelling or competitive pressure to seek out quality information.
- No alternative. All feed on the same junk.
For those who are skilled in finding the nuggets of valuable information an online library of 15,000 quality books is an attractive proposition.
Oh yeah one more thing; entertainment content has little quality information value, however, for as long as it tickles the consumer’s senses the Internet will unfailingly seduce all of us.
Did you know that there were days when the most popular search word on the internet wasn’t sex; it was hotels; sex ranked only 6th. Wow how useful this information is, and it wasn't hard to find.