The Second Internet Revolution

12/02/2010 04:06 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • John M. Eger Van Deerlin Endowed Chair of Communications and Public Policy at San Diego State University (SDSU)

Who now remembers the so called "Dot Com" bust?

In a way, that's history. Another internet revolution is challenging our communities, our schools, our corporations and you name it...everything in sight.

Not long after Bill Clinton and Al Gore discovered the Internet, regulatory inhibitions to investment were swept away and Wall Street opened its wallet to any proposal that talked about the network of networks, the Internet. Within a matter of months, and over the course of a few years, money started pouring into new high tech ventures and America spent about two trillion dollars, give or take a few million. Not surprisingly, since so many have the business plans built on the hopes and dreams of those proposing a new way of doing business, and little else.

The good news is that the "bust" set the stage for yet another telecommunications revolution as many of these facilities and systems, expensive to build, were resold for "pennies on the dollar." Now, literally thousands of new communications links have been established at a fraction of the original cost. And, with the new global economy taking hold, there is a new urgency facing our governments, businesses and schools.

As a consequence, communities across the globe are suddenly competing with every other community around the world for basic manufacturing requirements and provision of high tech and bio-tech services.

Cities everywhere must accelerate the change taking place within their region, reinvent their centers of learning -- their schools -- at every level and at a pace unparalleled in the history of the country, and put in place the incubators of creativity and innovation.

Above all else, there must be recognition of the vital roles that art and technology play in enhancing economic development and, ultimately, defining a "creative community" -- a community that exploits the vital linkages among art, technology and commerce.

Those communities placing a premium on cultural and ethnic diversity, and reinventing their educational systems for the creative age, will likely burst with innovation and entrepreneurial fervor.

Those communities that do not will be the ghost towns on the information highway. Schools that do not, as well, will atrophy and die.