The Internet isn’t what it used to be. Once a place of discovery and possibility, it has since devolved into a repetitive, intrusive jumble of zombies and a**holes. Slowly but surely, we are killing the greatest invention known to mankind, and we’re doing it in the following ways:
6. Which Whatever Are You?
The accusatory finger on this one gets pointed at Buzzfeed, though they’re hardly the last to incorporate those played-out which element of the periodic chart are you quizzes? (Did not make that up, it’s an actual thing.) I played along at first. As a Seinfeld fan, that one had my curiosity from the beginning. I also did the superhero thing, but since then, I’ve learned about dog breeds, cat breeds, and a number of other phony-baloney Q&As that are designed to arbitrarily make us feel way too proud of ourselves just so we can brag about it on Facebook. You had a good (short) run, but it’s over.
Seriously, as if there wasn’t enough reason to hate everyone in Washington, this comes along and reveals the truth — there isn’t a damn thing online free from the prying eyes of the Internet Gestapo. When will people realize that voting for a Democrat or Republican is essentially a vote cast with the purpose of tipping all power in the Feds favor? They act like they’re against each other, but that’s a ruse. The NSA is proof of it. Enabled by Bush and put on steroids by Obama, they aren’t just a symbol of why the Internet and the free exchange of ideas is now a sham, they’re actually enemies of the Constitution. All of them. This is perhaps the biggest issue facing us today, and we don’t seem to care. If we did, the President and Congress’s approval ratings would be much lower than they are now. (Try zero.) Okay, off the soapbox now.
Comcast is hated by pretty much everyone in the country except for the folks in Washington — see No. 2. They’ve grown to a considerable size in the power and money departments, and that means they can buy questionable legal interpretations and legislative favor in order to kill net neutrality, establish a monopoly, and charge everyone more money for no good reason and with zero oversight. What’s happening with them and Netflix — smack down here via the Netflix blog — is essentially extortion of both content providers and their customers, and should be subject to significant penalties. Again, we should care more than we do, and we probably would if we could ever stop taking those Buzzfeed quizzes — see No. 1.
3. Celebrity Death Hoaxes
There is a celebrity death hoax every week now. Sometimes more than one per week. Poor Macaulay Culkin has bought the farm more times than I can count. Same with Jackie Chan. If you’ve ever started one of these rumors or blindly passed something along without investigating it, then please, I beg of you, don’t ever breed. You either lack originality or you’ve got the IQ of a pincushion.
2. Satire Websites
Oh, I don’t suppose there is anything wrong with the satire website itself per se. Rather the problem lies in other areas, including: a) How it’s presented — if you’re not all that funny, and your stories aren’t satirical enough, you can fool the lowest common denominator into propagating BS as fact, and that stain almost never disappears; and b) Most people who try humor fail — badly — so there’s really very little entertainment value.
Why’s Facebook a problem? Because it’s where a good idea goes to be run in the ground. It’s where people can’t shut up about their politics. Where they spread made-up crap and present it as fact. Where idiot friends air their drama, completely oblivious to the possibility it could come back and bite them on the ass. It is, essentially, where every bad idea on the Internet finds an audience.
[Image via Techi.com]