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T O P I C     R E V I E W
Member # 123
 - posted August 06, 2015 16:25
This struck a chord on a few levels...

Member # 780
 - posted August 06, 2015 20:06

I remember the Internet before Facebook messed everything up. I'm one of those grumpy people that wants nothing to do with it. I have no interest in listicles or whatever dinky crud is out there, not least of which are videos that serve no purpose other than to further pre-roll ads. (Give me something I can read, damn it!) Apart from a few major sites that I directly access, most of what I follow is via RSS (thanks, NewsBlur). I still believe in useful websites, though I often get to them via DuckDuckGo of late. (i.e. IMDb or WolframAlpha, et al.)
Member # 2205
 - posted August 08, 2015 05:01
The original internet was created by thinkers and doers. That was the one most people today do not remember, as it preceded the WWW and web browsers. In fact, we looked at the emerging web browser as another Internet app, alongside Fetch, Gopher, Slip, The Well, UseNET, PDial, Wais, and many others, made possible to a larger audience by PPP and TCP/IP, the ability to broker out nearly infinite subdivisions of the once prohibitively expensive internet nodes, so that everyone could join in.

We who used these apps knew that we were creating the content that made the internet interesting, and we were creating it for others like ourselves who were blown away by this emerging global neural network that was going to transform humanity.

Yes, it did. Again and again. And most of us who were there from the "near-beginning" will remember the feeling as wave upon wave of newcomers joined us. It was at once exhilarating, and yet somehow a letdown, because it seemed like each wave brought a different mindset to the net. I hesitate to use words like "lower" or "less interested," because we all hated classism, and the internet was supposed to be the great equalizer and empowerment of the people. Turns out it was the empowerment of some, but any equalizing took place in a downward spiral toward some lowest common denominator. We finally have our ability to look up almost anything, for free, and instantly get far greater depth than was generally possible in ANY medium of 1985. (and to think that some services charged $1000s for what we'd consider basic, incomplete, and inaccurate information back then) But we also have a general malaise that seems to have washed over the net: "why would we want to look up anything, anyway?"

So, you know everything there is to know about XYZX. Big deal. There. I Googled it, and now I know as much as you.

It seems that intellectual curiosity runs in some kind of inverse relationship with the availability of information. There were once heroes of the internet. Now, who even knows their names? Who cares? Did one of them asphyxiate while masturbating with a pet rhino? Now THAT might be news. For about 15 minutes. (Was Warhol right after all?)

To this day, I can't make heads or tails of Facebook. More accurately, I'm afraid to. I'm afraid that it really is what I see that it appears to be. Just an endless stream of consciousness blend of Section-C, page-3 items, stuff with intriguing Man-Bites-Dog headlines, followed by 140 characters of rapidly diminishing hopes of actually learning anything. Each one is followed by a string of "yo, true dat," responses, or whatever outdated meme each participant is stuck at. (I rarely see "don't have a cow" or other Bart-isms anymore, thankfully)

At the same time, I see my daughter living her life with the internet almost melded with her mind. She zips around the country with cheap air flights, staying with new-found acquaintances to avoid hotel bills, and meeting with large groups of her friends on short notice, at some concert, show, or gallery, and it's just normal. I even get invitations to hear her perform (she's a singer, and quite good) via Facebook emails.

Meanwhile, my son is off in San Francisco writing the apps we all use to assist our lives on these devices, iOS apps, and enjoying a certain kind of productive, rewarding geek life that was only a faint dream for us back in 1984.

So, I see that it's working for some. It's just not working the way I thought it would, way back when a few of us were all giddy with excitement about what this new thing meant to each one of us, sometimes debating endlessly where this new future was going to lead us. Now, all that talk doesn't seem to matter much, even to me. The new internet is much shinier than the old one. It seems to know more about me than I do. It can send a UPS truck to my door in less than 24 hours. (and does, quite often) But my own way of life doesn't fit it very well. I'm an old-fart in a new swimming pool. I don't belong. What? I helped to create this place! But it's true. I don't fit in. Those of us who reminisce are being gently shoved out the door, for those who live here now really and truly don't care about our reminiscing. They're busy USING the internet matter-of-factly, without being impressed by it or those who created it, and seemingly blind to any threats to its existence, as if someone was threatening to blow a pothole in the road. Ok, they'll just go around it. Big deal. They take it for granted.

And you know what? I can't blame them. The pursuit of knowledge simply isn't what it was all about. I don't KNOW what it was all about.

And if you're still reading, you probably don't either!

Member # 1659
 - posted August 08, 2015 07:13
I pine for the old dial-up you could see the modem working as the LEDs would blink and flash,

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