“The Internet is causing mass homogenization of human identity, making us all look the same.
We use the same tools and social networks, fitting into the same templates, designed by companies to maximize page views and profits (with some notable exceptions like Craigslist).
Most online experiences are made, like fast food, to be cheap, easy, and addictive: appealing to our hunger for connection but rarely serving up nourishment. Shrink-wrapped junk food experiences are handed to us for free by social media companies, and we swallow them up eagerly, like kids given buckets of candy with ads on all the wrappers”.
Our Digital Crisis, by Jonathan Harris, Read Full Post
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. The early web was very democratic and people were encouraged to express themselves. We all had ugly Geocities pages with mad tiled backgrounds that we made ourselves. There was no right and wrong.
But as time goes on, the average user has been squeezed into a little Facebook page (for example), where every natural urge to self expression has been squashed. All spare space has been commercialised. You can’t even fill your profile with garish, unsightly gadgets without considerable effort!
Vast swathes of the internet are now like a radio station where the commercials play at the same time as the songs, and that’s a real shame. Worst of all, that seems to be how most users like it.
Aug 25th, 2010 / 3:54 pm
My child may have his/her entire life documented on flickr, for easy access.
Aug 25th, 2010 / 6:58 pm
On the part if communication gets shorter and faster than a tweet. Yes, it can: the like-button.
Aug 26th, 2010 / 5:20 am
What? I want concrete examples. Facebook pages and twitter don’t mean that the internet is commercialized and inhuman. Yes, those exist, but so do longer-form blogs, so do videos, so does music. The internet is not limited to two websites. And I would argue that Instapaper is symptomatic of a move in the other direction.
A lot of people are lamenting twitter but I think Ebert is the best example. He used to lament the speed and callousness of it as well and is now a complete convert and uses it in extraordinary ways. People can express themselves as well as ever on Facebook or twitter even with the limitations (even if they just link to another website they set up.) It’s just that now people are more likely to actually look at their work.
Aug 26th, 2010 / 11:09 am
The error this author makes is common today and much fodder for page/screen filling. The assumes that the average tweet/facebook message is shallower than the average human conversation. Most tweets/etc. are the banal minutiae of your day, of half-baked haphazard thoughts. This is what MOST people talk about when they talk.
Intellectual types though often have deep conversations, and they assume other people do too. They also believe (likely through conceit) that their tweets/etc. are deeper than most, since they can see all the shallow ones since they are public.
They then assume that the internet is making people shallow, when people were shallow all along. Twitter is only a medium, and its very popular. If it were unsuited for sending the information people wanted to send they wouldn’t use it. The realization is that a large portion of human communication is banal. I’ll end with an example of 90% of all human conversation:
“How was your day?”
“It was fine, there are some things I liked about it and some I didn’t. How was your day?”
“It was fine, there were some things I liked about it and some things I didn’t.”
P>S> The move toward meta-consciousness is inevitable and progressing steadily. Soon we will tweet our emotions and memories. We will forget which ones we experienced and which ones we downloaded? Will there even be a difference?
Aug 27th, 2010 / 7:37 am