A timeline of internet discourse


Various platforms where communities can discuss about similar topics

Vishnu Challa, Site Manager

Internet veterans will remember the classic forum boards populating the internet from the 2000s — places where people could ask how to update their old drivers or refurbish an old piece of hardware.

However, as the internet has continually evolved, these internet taverns are growing into more modern solutions.

One of the most eminent examples of this is the app Discord. Compared to a forum, Discord focuses more on quick, snappy replies in a chat room. This leads to faster discussions and allows for a wider-reaching audience.

Unsurprisingly, this is an expected progression from how the internet started. Chatting has always been the predominant way to communicate, and it is expected that it would maintain its place on top.

Senior Natalie Carslake proved this by sharing her preferred method of keeping in touch with people. “Most of the time I just text or snap people. Rarely do I ever message them on any other platform,” she said.

There are certain exceptions to this trend since the rise of popular social media.

In contrast to Discord, apps like Instagram or Twitter exist to just present ideas or details about what is happening around you. This makes the need for a discussion voluntary and is usually only met when posts can convince the user to participate.

The internet has shifted dynamics because of this to the point where people are only contributing for popularity or a reaction. Humans have taken this even further by quantifying the value of people’s contributions with likes, retweets, subscriptions and other interactions.

Jake Cohen shared his concerns for where the future of the internet is heading. “I want to believe that people will not fall for these attention grabbing apps but social engineering has become a big department at many of these companies. Even if an app like TikTok dies out, there will always be another to replace it,” he said.

The internet started with the goal of building connections between people who could never meet in person, a notion that has been heavily expanded upon over the past two decades. During that time, though, the internet has grown into an encyclopedia of human history and knowledge.

Intellectual discussions online have come to a halt, and with more recent apps like TikTok rising in popularity, people will be sucked further into these quick, attention-grabbing traps.