I have been wondering about the internet lately. I’m wondering why the internet these days feels like a corporate playground, just another weapon of mass distraction like TV and print media.
I’m old enough to remember the days before the internet came along. I also remember well the feelings of excitement I had when I first logged into this new and mysterious online world. Back then, the world wide web felt edgy, dangerous even. It was a place filled with information that had previously been hard or impossible to get through the other media channels. Suddenly, there was a whole flow of information available that had the potential to expand your view of the world, and it was all there at your fingertips, albeit on a shitty dial up connection that took ages just to load a single fucking web page.
But it was worth the wait! If you found what you were looking for, that is, and managed to resist the sudden and inexplicable urge to look up porn. Having so much porn at your fingertips all of a sudden just made you want to dive right into the filth first, before you did anything else, like look up something useful.
I just remember that sense of freedom associated with the internet, the freedom to do or say pretty much whatever you wanted. Suddenly, there was a whole new universe and communication network that no governemnt or corporation could touch. It was something no one could control for a change.
The internet being a new technology at the time had a lot to do with the excitement that surrounded it of course. I’m not denying that. But the internet used to be different. It used represent hope and freedom, to me at least. An end to censorship and the beginning of a shared information network.
Why The Internet Universe Sucks Now
The internet has changed for me, as I suspect it has for a lot of people. It has become such an integrated part of all our lives now. It isn’t new anymore. The excitement that once surrounded it has gone, as everyone takes the internet for granted these days.
But the once budding internet universe, which used to feel so full of potential, has now stagnated into nothing more than a place of mass corporatism and consumerism, as well as a fucking huge distraction for everyone.
The underground feel many websites used to have, has gone, replaced by bland corporate branding. There is nothing remotely edgy about websites anymore. Most websites now are nothing more than slick, well oiled machines designed to do one thing: sell shit. Almost every website I visit these days is selling something. Even the website you are now on is selling something-my books (don’t forget to buy one).
But that’s okay. I don’t have a problem with people selling their shit as long it is worth selling. Everyone still has to make a living, and I for one am forever grateful that the internet has given me the means to make a living where once none existed for me in the pre-internet age that didn’t involve breaking my back for someone else in order to get paid a shitty wage.
Despite the opportunities the internet affords me, I still believe that it has become something of a monster in all our lives. It has a terrific amount of control over most of us for a start. We are online constantly. A hell of a lot longer than we damn well need to be. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that the thoughts of having no online access terrifies me. What would I do with myself? How would I survive?
It’s a little unsettling to realize how much you actually need-or think you need anyway-that constant online stimulation. I would say that roughly 20% of my internet use is actually justified, in that I am using it for work. The other 80% of the time I spend online I find difficult to justify. I’m just indulging myself mostly, pretending to do important shit but knowing full well that I am not.
It’s actually a little scary because you feel like you are being mind controlled when you think about your relationship to the internet. I’d actually say mind control is not that far off the mark. I mean, look at what you are actually doing online most of the time. You are viewing bland websites with shallow and often pointless content. Most internet writers write like they are writing for a corporate blog and it makes everything sound the fucking same.
There are still good and worthy websites out there, but they are often lost amidst a sea of pointless, mediocre content that is only designed to null your brain enough so that you end buying whatever they are selling to you.
Like Me, Share Me, Fuck Me
The whole internet is also now based on a referral system. Where once it was about sharing great content (mostly anyway), now it’s about writing “viral” content that gets “likes” and “shares”. Likes and shares have become the new internet currency, and everyone on the internet can’t get enough of them. The quality of your content is now decided by how many likes and shares it has, not by how good it is. The content that gets the most likes and shares is usually the content that is also the most pointless and shallow, like a video of a fucking cat playing the piano. In what world did that become important? I must have missed that meeting.
I’m Just A Hypocrite Caught In The Fucking Web Like Everyone Else
Although I hate what most of the internet has become, I still continue to use it. I allow myself to get sucked into the black hole as much as anyone else. Like I said in a previous article, the world is what it is and there isn’t much anyone can do to change it.
The only thing I feel I can do is take responsibility and to try to find some meaning in it all. Even though most of the internet sucks corporate balls now, I have no choice but to accept it and try to find a way to live with it that is on my terms as much as possible.
I’ve discovered the best thing to do is to try and carve out my own little corner of the internet universe, the very place you are now in. Here, I can try to be authentic in what I do, offer some value to anyone who comes along, and generally just do my own thing, which is all any of us can really hope to do in such a crazy, fucked up place as the internet…as the world, in fact.
So there you go. You just read another pointless article on the internet. Do you feel more enriched now? More enlightened? I don’t really care if you do or not. I didn’t write this for you. I wrote it because I wanted to. Just don’t forget to give me likes and shares! Pretty please? I’ll simply die without them!
By the way, I just wasted five minutes downloading this meme and sending it to a friend on Facebook. I think you’ll agree it was time well spent. Awesome. I’m off to check my email for the fifth time today…