The Web IS different. It really is.
Dunno. It's a public place like any other AFAICT.
Why do people go into public spaces? To flirt a little. To do some business. To entertain or be entertained. To get the news. To preach 'the word,' be it religious or political. To find somebody interesting to talk to.
Maybe the web gives you newer and more efficient ways to do all of that. But I don't really see anything on a fundamental level that's any different than what has come before. It's one more "tool for conviviality" as I forgot who put it.
Most of the people arguing for the Internet's "newness" and how it represented a "break with everything that came before" were people in their 20-s and 30s. Most were what would generally be considered geek types. Not exactly the best 'read' people when it came to understanding history, anthropology, philosophy, or psychology.
Interesting to note how so little
of the "real promise" the web advocates claimed it represented ever came to pass. The web gave us more of "more," but not really much that was "different."
The web? Sure. Maybe it''s faster. Or cheaper. Or (so far) more consequence and responsibility free than much of what came before it. But viewed as what it is
, and what it's used
for, it's the 'same old same old.' The only real difference is found in it's efficiency AFAIC.
There are those who see it differently.