Like television 50 years before, the Internet was hailed far and wide as a brave new medium with the power to educate, communicate, and entertain the masses. It was an interesting theory.
Like television, you can sit around for hours and hours on the Internet, flipping through Web sites without finding anything worth a second look. Channel surfing and Web surfing are one and the same, and at times they feel equally pointless.
That doesnt mean that theres nothing good on television unless youre into wrestling, soap operas, re-runs, trashy talk shows and lame syndicated news. That doesnt mean that theres nothing good on the Internet if youre not into gossip, online chat rooms, e-mail, second-hand news.
In both cases you just have to know where to look.
For the past five years the Webby Awards have recognized the sites that are worth a second look because they are interesting, informative, entertaining, visually appealing, functional, interactive, and/or up-to-date.
The Webby Awards were created by members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences to honour the best Web sites in more than 30 categories. Last year a Peoples Choice award was added and this year three awards will be chosen by the Nielsen/NetRatings based on user traffic: The Rising Star award will go to the site with the largest percentage growth of unique visitors from April to May 2002; The Top U.S. Properties award will go to the most visited site in the U.S., and the Top Global Properties award will go to the most visited international site.
The 30 Webby Award categories include everything from Activism to Commerce to Sports. There are five nominees in each category and the winner will be decided by the Academy at a special ceremony in San Francisco on June 18.
The Academy itself is a diverse group that includes such media luminaries as director Francis Ford Coppola, musicians David Bowie and Beck, "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, actor and activist Susan Sarandon, and Oracle chairman Larry Ellison.
Without further ado, here are the categories and nominees for the 2002 Webby Awards. This week: Activism and Best Practices.
The freedom and anonymity of the Internet has made it the first bastion of counterculturists and activists everywhere. Free speech is not only permitted, its encouraged as like minded people flung across the globe meet on the Web to discuss issues in their common interest. Ever wonder how those protesters at those global conferences got so organized all of a sudden? Ever wonder how all those causes managed to get so many names on their petitions? Ever wonder why the Green Party in the U.S. was so effective in the last federal election? Wonder no more.