So when you are home the week after next for the holidays are you planning to discuss the recent contretemps on smarm with your family? How you do think everyone around the Christmas table feels about Upworthy's multiple algorithms that repackage content in an attempt to get it trafficked on Facebook? Do you expect a lot of debate about what Twitter is doing with its block function in the wake of the IPO? Of course not. That would be insane. There are maybe a couple thousand people who care about any of that stuff and you know most of them. They are the people you work with. They are in your affinity groups. They are the friends you share funny GIFs and go to emoji art exhibits with. Unless they are also people who work in an Internet-related industry and thus have egotistical reasons for wanting to pretend that any of this stuff actually has meaning or significance, there is no way that the members of your family know or care about Bustle.com or misandry or bronies or anything else that you count on to fill up the space in your head that would be otherwise used to face the fact that you are going to die. This is all the detritus you heap value on to camouflage emptiness, and your family doesn't have any idea what any of it means because they have chosen to keep themselves unaware of their inevitable demise through more popular and accepted forms of death-denial such as sports or reality television or partisan politics. Or, if they're super-boring, the state of the novel. It is all garbage that we are focusing on to help distract ourselves from the horrors of existence or to fool ourselves into feeling that the things we are doing as occupations have some sort of impact or worth on lives beyond our own. Actually, it is less than garbage, which at least has physical presence and some level of value, no matter how minor—what you deal with daily is essentially air, blown about from person to person before disappearing forever and leaving no trace. That being said, this piece on How The Internet May Change Next Year is certainly worth the few of your empty minutes it will take to read.
Friday, December 13th, 2013