Will "Push" come to "Shove"?

"Push" may be in your future, whether you want it or not.

"Push" literally means that someone else gathers and delivers Internet content directly to your computer. "Push", when it is by choice, has been touted as a convenience, a way to find information of interest without having to go look for it personally on the Internet. "Push" (when it is not by choice) is also one way for an employer to guarantee that all employees have the latest company news/changes needed to perform their jobs.

But will "push" come to "shove"?

"Push" has been with us for some time now (since early 1995). PointCast (the first company to offer it on the Internet) and its competitors ask users to select among predefined categories of information available and then content is provided according to these preferences. But even so, it is still time-consuming for the user to separate the wheat from the chaff after delivery, no matter how narrowly the preferences are stated.

My concern is that I do not want someone else to have the power to decide what I see or do not see on the Internet. Thanks, but no thanks. I will do my own research and if it takes me longer to find the information on the Internet, so be it.

I am not saying that there is not a place for "push". If some people have to have the latest information or breakthrough in a particular field (or concerning a particular company) and find it more convenient to have it delivered directly to them as soon as possible, I won't quarrel with that. Or if some companies decide that it is more time-efficient to send the latest policy changes directly to each company workstation, rather than to simply circulate memos.

I just don't want to see "push" become the predominant mode of Internet use. "Push" may bring the Internet to the masses who don't want to learn how to navigate it on their own and are satisfied with just getting their sports (or stock quotes or whatever). "Push", of course, is the promised land for advertisers. Talk about captive audiences!

But I want the rest of us to be able to operate as we have been, finding our way on our own and discovering out-of-the-way places by accident that often prove more interesting than the places we thought we wanted to visit!

Related links:
Push Content Primer
Push Central: The Push Directory
When Push Becomes Shove

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