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There are only two certainties in life; death and taxes, so they say. Then again like all expressions of this kind there are many more than just two.

A couple of phrases we should enshrine are “change is the only constant” and “some things never change”.

By every measure we can imagine the rate of change in our lives has accelerated to an astounding degree, just within our own lifetimes. But it’s comforting to know that some things never change.

An obvious example of a constant is the human need for connection and a sense of community. In other words we prefer each others company in the flesh. While it is clear to many that the instant online, social media, portability revolution has enhanced the lives of so many, it has in some respects isolated people into separate vacuum bubbles where the rapid ease of a download hardly nurtures the warmth of human connectivity.

In a recent Herald article, Retail trends: the future of shopping, it was noted that kiwis spent $2.7 billion online last year with almost 40% going to overseas retailers. But a big trend is now towards what’s called “click and collect” where an online purchase is made and the goods are picked up directly from the local retailers.

While there will inevitably be growth in online global retailing, we are seeing where the internet is heading through these trends in retailing. Remote connectivity provides vast choice but when it comes to flesh and blood connectivity, nothing beats checking the goods online and dropping by the store for a chat and pick up.

I think we can read this trend across any number of online situations. In the end the internet, in whatever form, is merely a tool to help us do what humans like to do. 


Fraser Carson is a FRESCO partner and the founder of and He is a developer and commentator on online and community building issues with a particular interest and involvement in the Collective Impact method of working cooperatively.

The future of the internet is before our eyes

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