The Disillusionment of 2009

July 19, 2009

Why are so many people disillusioned with the web: either desperately seeking a ‘less technical’ life, or making practical steps towards reducing the amount of web/technology in their life?

Here’s my theory for why it’s happening.

The Gartner Hype Cycle is a well-known (and surprisingly accurate) model for the adoption of specific technologies.

First we plot the hype cycle for ‘modern technology’, starting with the Industrial Revolution, and peaking during the 50s and 60s where science fiction entered popular culture, drawings and discussions of ‘visions of the future’ were everywhere (and even influenced product design), and The Space Race defined our peak of technology hysteria.

On top of this, we overlay the hype cycle for ‘web’, beginning with HTML in roughly 1990 and peaking during the dot-com bubble of 2000.

Gartner Hype Cycles for 'modern technology' and 'web'

Having used the beginning and peak dates to position and scale both graphs, we see that both have their ‘troughs of disillusionment’ at the same time; roughly now.

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