May 24 2009
One word: Twitter.
I whole-heartedly believe that SMS is an unworthy form of communication. But now the crowd goes wild because of Twitter, which basically is an online archive for online SMS — super short and super useless messages, stored for all eternity for everybody to read. Or, better, to ignore.
Facebook. LinkedIn. Stayfriends.
There was a time when people met in restaurants, bars or at home to have dinner and drinks together, to talk face to face. To really socialize and to have meaningful conversations.
There was a time when the word friend actually meant something.
Today, a friend is a comic avatar somewhere ‘in the cloud’, and spending time with friends means to throw in junk food while sitting in front of a computer screen and typing in acronyms that are not even a human language anymore: WTF, ROTFL. The written equivalents of the sounds that a pig makes while feasting.
I’m too old and went through too much crap to even try to remember all those acronyms where letters are replaced with numbers. I also hate it when people don’t know that we have punctuation in written language. Or upper and lower case. And things like grammar. And that we always should write full sentences.
English is not my native language, so naturally, I make a lot of mistakes when I use it to communicate. Nevertheless, I have a respect for language and for the people I communicate with.
Written dirt like rotfl lol suckerz only shows disrespect to the language and to the people who are supposed to read it.
The Internet, like the SMS services of mobile phone providers before it, has become mankind’s dump for useless and unnecessary information and communication, for our verbal excrement.
Do you remember the song Sound of silence by Simon & Garfunkel?
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
It’s from the 70s, and yet, it feels a bit as if they had written it for the Internet age. Only that the silence they sang about is now being carried by the white noise of information excess and overloaded transportation media. Terabytes and terabytes of information garbage and network packages that better should have been dropped. Or that should never have been sent in the first place.
This blog is testimony that I am guilty of all those sins myself. Or at least I am guilty of some of them. You never asked me to write down all these things. As I, on the other hand, never have asked you to spend your time on my website reading my rambling rants. I confess that I also use the Internet as a dump for my thoughts and as a method to vent my moods. But sometimes, I hope, I also leave something useful and helpful for others behind.
However, the longer I use the Internet, the more it reminds me of other mass media like TV. And I completely gave up on TV ten years ago and I don’t miss it at all. Quite the opposite: When I’m forced to watch TV, because I am in a place where it is running and where I cannot switch it off, the broadcasted stupidity makes me aggressive and I need to run away from the place as quickly as possible.
The Internet and especially discussions forums and my daily load of Viagra, fake Rolex and cheap pills emails begin to trigger the same reaction in me. I no longer like the medium whose technology I still find so fascinating. But when it became a mass medium, it not only lost the smell of adventure, it also lost its beauty and innocence.
Today, using the Internet feels like sitting at the wrong end of the pipe when somebody flushes the toilet. You open your browser and your email client and get drowned in dirt. It’s too sad to be even remotely funny.
The web that I once so loved has degenerated to the level of a necessary evil that I unfortunately cannot avoid. Although only unreliable and unverified information is distributed through it, I nevertheless need it for my job and work, and may it only be because I have to use email for my professional correspondence and have to download software and software documentation, updates and patches from the web. Everything else, however, increasingly feels like a waste of my life time and I get more and more angry at myself when I find myself ‘surfing’. All that surfing the web ultimately does is it fills me with a form of sad and depressing emptiness – just like fast channel switching on a TV does. Or watching those ‘bodysnatchers’ in an afternoon talk show and listening to their ‘twittering’.
It’s about time that somebody hits the Internet’s reset button. Now that we know how not to use the Internet, maybe we can come up with something better in the next version.