how’s it going? i miss you. here’s what we’re doing with the internet in 2007:
1. twittering. every time we wake up, eat something, go to the store, make a phone call, go to the bathroom, get stuck in traffic, or stand in line for an iphone, we can tell everyone about it in 140 characters or less. this is what we do instead of spending time creating things.
2. taking blurry cameraphone pictures of the food we just ate and posting them to flickr.
3. making websites that consist solely of aggregated RSS feeds from flickr, twitter, and del.icio.us. why write anything substantial when we can just pipe in content from other places?
4. using wordpress themes and blogger templates instead of designing our own websites.*
these things are technically innovations, but they don’t feel that way to me. i loved you, 2001 internet, because you enabled people to create and communicate in ways that really meant something. i liked reading what my friends thought about their lives and about what was going on in the world. i liked reading what strangers had to say, too, as sometimes those strangers would become friends.
but it doesn’t happen that way anymore. it’s easier to spend two minutes letting twitter and del.icio.us create our content for us than it is to sit down and think about what we want to say. these things that were invented to make it easier to communicate are drawing us near while pushing us away from each other. it’s convenience at the expense of creativity.
i don’t know, maybe everyone’s families and children and internet-based careers keep them too busy to do things the way they used to. maybe all the meaningful things on the internet are happening somewhere else, somewhere i haven’t looked. or maybe the internet’s too big now, making the quality next to impossible to find. what i do know is that the personal web doesn’t seem so personal anymore, and it’s making me sad.
we used to gaze deep into our own navels and find something of substance. now it’s just pictures of food, rss feeds and aggregated links, in 140 characters or less.
(*i don’t mind when people who aren’t web designers or coders use templates. that’s a pretty old debate, and i’m generally happy with the removal of barriers to entry for the non-web-savvy. but the rest of you have no excuse.)