A better metaphor
Joe Doherty offers a better metaphor for the Internet, as found through Doc Searls:
Over the years, the unfortunate cliche information superhighway has become attached to the Internet. In reality, the Internet is really nothing like a “super” highway, and more like a collection of old two-lanes, Main Streets and back roads. “Super” implies that you fly past things…do you really do a lot of sightseeing while zipping along some Interstate? I can’t think of a more boring ride than the run between Jacksonville and Pensacola along I-10. No, the Internet is more like a collection of small towns you pass through along the old A1A or Route 66. You can stop for coffee in the news village. Down the road a bit is the world’s largest shopping center. Behind you is the city of porn (which you’ll just have to visit without the wife, okay?). Later today, you’ll stop for lunch in Blogville. There’s a bank, the drug store, a few churches, and even lots of entertainment spots. How fast you get from place to place depends on what you’re driving: a Yugo or Chevette (28.8 dial-up), the family minivan (56K dial-up), a Corvette or Porsche (DSL or T-1), and, for the industrial strength fortunates, a Hummer (OC-3). But, no matter how fast you drive, you all have the ability to go to the same places.
This explains why the best content on the Internet isn’t from those who are trying to exploit the huge traffic potential (huge corporations and monolithic voices), but from sites infused with personality. It’s one reason why I think church websites should look less corporate and more quirky and real. (Yes, I know, we’re working on it.)