6 Internet Documentaries That Will Make The World Feel Small
There are all kinds of nerds in this world. There are outlaw nerds who have fun smiting their enemies with technology, or at least uploading their goods without asking. There are straight laced business nerds who developed novel ways to talk to one another remotely. Then, like the firefighters of 911, there are the mighty heroes who saved the world from certain doom in 1999. If you're up for a bit of internet history, we might just have the whole story covered here in these six internet documentaries that will make the world feel small. When you're done watching them, ask your congressman to institute a National Nerd Day. You'll be more than happy to.
In the early 2000s, the US government investigates the vulnerability of its systems to cyber attacks and the ability of enemies to use the internet as an instrument of warfare. This "Frontline" special reveals the skinny about possible threats to water infrastructure, air traffic controls and much more. You'll get a perspective from 2003 after the dot com bubble burst.
"Steal This Film"
As the digital revolution rages into 2006 and 2007, copyright infringement becomes a major concern. A group of chronic downloaders share the story of the folks who disregard the notion of intellectual property and the companies who prosecute them. This two part documentary is a good glimpse into the piracy culture in Sweden that created this film at the time. The film title is a take off of the great counterculture prankster Abbie Hoffman's "Steal This Book" and "Steal This Movie". That should be an indicator that you're watching a fun filled series of flicks.
"Download: The True Story of the Internet"
If you want a fairly up to date history of the internet, check out this four part "Science Channel" and "Discovery" documentary TV series from 2008. You'll learn a ton about the rise of giant companies like Google, EBay and Amazon. If you get bored to death hearing about college nerds becoming overnight tycoons, then skip the second and third parts. The fourth installment is all about people power: how the internet changes how we can influence the world around us and our newfound ability to play cruel pranks on our friends from thousands of miles away.
"Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet"
Nerds have come along way since the days of Gilbert, Lewis, Ogre and Lambda Lambda Lambda. They've designed some of our favorite toys and saved us from Y2K doom. Hell, many of them are getting laid these days, probably for these very reasons. This is the story of their rise to power through 1998. You'll get some vintage interviews with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. This one started out as another "PBS" documentary series and later was packaged as a single three hour film.
"BBS: The Documentary"
If you think some of the other documentaries in this list are vintage, you haven't seen nuthin' yet. This may be a 2005 film, but it covers the good ol' days when only geeks were chatting online. Director Jason Scott takes you through 25 years of the history of dial-up bulletin board systems and the hooligans who used them and ran them.
"The Virtual Revolution"
Here's one of the latest editions to the internet documentary library, thanks to the "BBC". Now, you finally get a 2010 perspective on the history of the internet. Interviewed are some of the usual suspects like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg along with some less likely characters like Al Gore. Because it's a newer flick, you'll get a better picture of social media. Overall, this great film series covers the impact of the internet on democracy and on society at large.