Just. The. Internet.
While we're talking about me going through new changes and whatever, I might as well go ahead and talk about how little I like being on the internet these days.
In no way should you read into that and internalize it. I still like you. I still like writing for you and hearing from you and sharing with you. I just don't like doing it on the internet right now. And it's almost entirely because I feel absolutely no sense of discovery on the internet anymore.
At one time, the telephone was a marvel of engineering. Electrical pulses transmitted human voices across a copper wire. Stop and think about that for just a moment... A physical handset translated your mouth noises into electrical pulses, sent them across a piece of wire, and then untranslated them on the other end. Even now, in 2009, this is astoundingly impressive.
But it's just the phone, right? It's just that stupid little thing that rings when people have good news you're jealous of, bad news you can't be bothered to hear or when your car's warranty expires. It's ubiquitous. Nobody doesn't have a phone. And it's been that way for decades.
Well, that's what the internet has become. It's gone from this marvel of human engineering coupled with an astounding social impact for a small group of people who realized its potential to "just the internet" for me. A place with cat pictures and shocking (meh...) videos of people doing gross or dangerous things with various degrees of success. It's the sum of human knowledge at our fingertips, played offstage by a cat on a keyboard. It's no longer amazing or astounding or frontierland. Everyone's making books from their blogs; everyone's voting on the news; everyone's seen or done everything. It's just. The. Internet.
And everyone's got it. And that's kinda the problem. From where I sit, the internet has not benefitted in any measurable way (except perhaps volume of usage) by more people being on it. In fact, just about every website, application, tool and game available both on and off the internet these days seems somehow... Dumber. More generic. Simple, and not in the "easy" sense.
It's like the meaty parts have been chewed off and all that's left is the gristle. The base level of IQ on the internet has dropped. The average user is now actually an average user, and everything shows those seams. And it's not that I don't know where to look for stimulating content - I most certainly do. I can begin reading upwards of 12 active discussions right this very second about emerging trends in astronomy, mathematics, painting or even paleontology. It's just that I don't care to.
Much like I can pick up my phone and call any number of observatories, mathematics think-tanks, art colleges or natural history museums and ask the person on the other end of the phone anything I want. I just don't care to. I've never cared to.
The stimulation from the internet - the actual discovery that I was experiencing and the things that energized me -- was NOT the sharing of knowledge on subjects. It was the actual growth and development of the platform upon which all of this could happen. And now it's grown and developed. The land has been cleared and the big businessmen with big machinery and big dreams are shoving out the settlers and building malls. And anytime a speakeasy does rear its head, it gets eaten up by a Facebook group of the same type, or commoditized into three wolf shirt like trends gobbled up by trendy pseudo-geeks and The Big Bang Theory watchers.
It's no longer the interconnectivity of highly creative, scientific and enthusiastic minds. It's just the internet. And these days, when it rings, I pick it up half hoping for something great and instead hear more garbage about my expiring car warranty. So much noise, so little signal.