With every new internet application that becomes popular (Twitter! Facebook! Chatroulette!), there are millions of pixels written about the said phenomena. Almost all the “good” reporters write articles or do teevee news reports about how “<insert name of new web application>” is either ruining the internet and/or is a new revolutionary way to communicate with each other. (Except at Slate magazine of course, where I’m pretty sure that they’ve either written or are currently writing an article about how email is still the world’s most important “killer-app”).
Now, traditional journalists are not that fond of the internet as they claim to be. For them, the internet is sort of a bête noire. They may pretend to embrace it, but in most cases they simply come across as people devoid of any understanding of it whatsoever. Whenever they talk about the “new media” you can almost spot the froth coming out of their mouths. They can’t even know where to begin to understand the internet (to be fair, no one can. Maybe that is the beauty of the internet? OMG, we made an observation! And since it’s not on an old media platform, it probably doesn’t count!), but they bravely continue to talk about it. With embarrassing results.
The Internet in 2010: It knows everything. Just like that obnoxious kid in school.
Now here is the internet’s most common phenomena:
(a) Person A writes something and puts in on the internet.
(b) A large amount of people agree & disagree with Person A’s opinion
(c) Some snarky blogger links to Person A’s article/post and metaphorically tears it into pieces
(d) Person A writes post about how everyone who didn’t agree with them misunderstood them and/or the internet is full of mean and rude people.
The Internet in 2010: Just like your abusive ex-boyfriend. Nothing you do is ever going to be good enough.
Journalists' pride themselves in being the “first chroniclers” of history. However, nowadays, apparently, anybody with a computer and ability to type thinks “their opinion matters more than that of a journalist!” Silly idiots! How dare they think that? Thanks to the damn internet, the first chronicle of history will be by some stupid un-important person who doesn’t even have a teevee or dead-tree magazine gig and didn’t even go to some fancy journalism school.
Now, for a moment, imagine if you could read Cleopatra’s first person blog (Fuck like an Egyptian), how would you be able to figure out what she was saying? Would you have guessed that when she posted about her epic orgies with a Roman general named “Mark A”, she was referring to Roman general Mark Anthony? How would you be able to put two and two together, without the help of a journalist? How would you know that she was the first woman to ever get vajazzled?
And would Shakespeare have even bothered to write “Julius Caesar” if he found out that Caesar's death was caused by an harmless frat prank? Would there even be a “Caesar salad” if people thought that the man’s last words were “Don’t Ice me, bro”?
The Internet in 2010: Ruining history for future generations
The internet is a lot of things to lot of people. It even helps people create their own reality. Whether you want to still believe that the earth is flat, or that Paul is dead, there is an app for that. There is no universal truth anymore. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. And as it turns out, to their own facts. You don’t have to believe anything you don’t want to. And only on the internet can you have a second life, even if you don’t have a first one.
The Internet in 2010: Your own personal echo chamber
On the internet, opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one.
You may think that you’re smart, funny and insightful, but there is someone on the internet who is smarter, funnier and plenty more insightful than you will ever be. For every person who likes what you say, there are ten who think that you are full of crap.
The choice here is between speaking your mind or not saying anything at all.
If you think that anyone owes you respect because of whatever, well, just remember that on the internet no one gives a shit who you are.
To paraphrase some dude, The internet owes you nothing. It was here first.
The Internet in 2010: We’re all like a bunch of monkeys trapped in a cage. You can duck all you want, but one of these days you’re going to end up with shit on your face. The best you can do is to wipe it off and hope that no one figures out that the stench is coming from you.