How do we explain the Web and what it means? With so many innovations changing our lives, that's a complex explanation. Now what if you had to do it in only a few words?

Marshall Kirkpatrick recently asked some of our readers that very question. We then picked 10 responses most worth sharing. Congratulations to those who made the list. And if you'd like to add more ideas to this ongoing discussion, please do so in the comments section below.

  1. Filtering is The Future

  2. "I feel the next great advancements in the Web will not be centered around publishing, but filtering all the information so you can find more relevant content and people." - Eric Wortman

  3. A Way to Have a Voice That Matters

  4. "For non-techies like myself, the Internet is empowering. I can have a voice and it matters to some. I can consume, create, share, participate, lurk, connect with others, etc. It's up to me, and I love that." - Robin Ashford

  5. Democracy

  6. "The Internet's most profound effect on democracy has been the creation of user expectation of inclusion in mass media. The Internet is now building itself out as a bridge between the People and the Power, a bridge that necessarily begins in your home or office, and ends in the TV studios where pundits and politicians road-test policy. As people further organize themselves to wield this new power, consumers become participants, participants become digital citizens, and an expansion of democracy will be inevitable." - Evelyn Messinger

  7. Replacing Pages With Real-Time Streams

  8. "The early Internet contained links, which represented pages, which contained information. The new Internet is replacing pages with real-time streams, which represent people, who contain social knowledge. Early Internet = the Information Age. New Internet = the Age of Human Engagement." - nozzlsteve

  9. Ultimate Chronicler of Our World's Existence

  10. "The Web is fast evolving as the ultimate chronicler of our world's existence. It has and will continue to serve as the environment for all available data to be logged, mined, aggregated, visualized, extrapolated, etc., and force the hand of humanity to constantly question, re-evaluate and transform (a) traditional schools of thought, (b) established mores, and (c) longstanding theories and models as well as consensually pre-conceived and accepted modes of behavior." - autom8

  11. Will Our Best Ideas Really Work Out as Planned?

  12. "While machines are being made to directly serve the Internet and replace current computing norms, there are still some fundamental questions whose answers will show how far this can go: Will the semantic Web take hold, will everything move into the cloud, and/or will viral go HD? In the meantime, no net neutrality is established, the biggest driver of innovation is a completely closed loop, and the federal government is debating a "kill switch"... growing old sucks!" - ChrisKos

  13. Breaking The Stranglehold on Knowledge

  14. "The Internet is more like an extension to the revolution created by the Gutenberg press, carrying INFORMATION that can be used and abused in a myriad ways. Just as Gutenberg broke the stranglehold on knowledge that had favored the church and the elite, so Tim Berners-Lee has unlocked raw information from the bias and distortions of politicians (and their puppets in news media)." - NuGoth

  15. Meaningful Connections

  16. "When we meet somebody, we don't just want to sit across from them and exchange ideas or theories or what we did in the day. We may start like that, but ultimately we want to get deeper and closer; we want to open up, we want to be more intimate in where we are, what we believe, what we feel, what drives us, what our passions are. We want to make connection. And I think that's where the Internet is going. It's allowing us to make connection one-to-one or one-to-many, or many-to-many - that heart-to-heart connection where we feel compassion, empathy, understanding and that's what nourishes us." - Peter Russell

  17. The Internet is:

  18. "A massive increase in the frequency and diversity of communication, which is giving rise to an unprecedented time of creativity, collaboration and conflict. As cultures become increasingly entangled, a new social order will emerge, which has the potential to be the first massively scaled culture to value consent over exploitation - an event unlike anything seen in human history." - Justin Kistner

  19. Round Without a Center

  20. "The edge points of society have found a connective umbrella within the social Web. We are all edge points as individuals. We have found we no longer need the center spoke to move forward. Centralized control systems have been revealed as vestigial hindrances. As a result we are critically examining historical value systems." - Mark Essel

Photo courtesy of Mark Bellucci