I wrote about finally overcoming that strange computer issue I was having in my last post and in continuing with the theme of computers I thought I’d finally get this post about the current state of internet culture from my very limited perspective.
I have to say my age is really going to show in this post so why don’t I just put it out there? I miss the days of AOL and chat rooms where regular people would just chat. They weren’t overrun by trolls, there was very little political discussion and it was exciting to be able to “chat” with someone in a topic room where everyone wanted to do just that,,, chat!
Reflecting on this nostalgia I did some research to see if these rooms still existed. It lead me back to the even older IRC and made me remember by wonderful ICQ. I installed a client on Firefox but learned that IRC is still just as boring as before. I can’t find any lively rooms and the one I did enter had one text of chat in three days.
My search next lead me to the Discord server. It seems that instead of open chat rooms, the internet is full of trolls and so everyone walls their discussions off and the public is not invited. I mean just take a look at the comment sections of anything now days and it is easy to see why people want to keep their groups private. In fact, DON’T look at the comment sections unless it is Reddit, or a major publication such as the NYT where the top comments can be actually pretty good.
So I joined a topic on Discord that I do enjoy which was Lord of the Rings. It seemed kind of interesting for a while until I learned that the moderator was a bit crazy, and like to go off on tangents, was depressed and then ended up deleting the whole thing. So much for Discord and I really haven’t found any other rooms that might be of interest.
So what was left? Reddit was left and that seems to be what internet chat rooms have evolved to. I do like Reddit but it can be a colossal wasted of time because it will draw you in. The comments are great and I don’t even read the articles but find myself going directly to comments. I even learn something! Well, one of the main things I learned is I really don’t like internet culture these days.
For example, there is now a group of guys called “incels” which stands for “involuntary celibate.” In short, they want to, errr,, “do it” with girls but are losers so end up complaining how awful women are. And they form a group to do this!!! When I was growing up we would just call them losers. If we were unlucky with women and unfortunate in our looks we didn’t form a group and cry about how we “deserved” a little action! For those that didn’t like being “incels” they then formed a splinter group called MGTOW or “Men Going Their Own Way.” It is the same thing as an incel but they just want to drop the “loser” portion of it all.
I’m baffled by this and no longer want to read about it. If they want to be losers, then go be losers, no need to form a group on the internet and whine about it.
But with Reddit, you can form a subreddit on any topic and the amount of topics are astounding. If you can think of it, there is probably a subreddit for it.
The second thing I don’t like about internet culture these days is how everything suddenly turns into politics and people argue with each other. What a waste of time? Everyone is walled into their own echo chamber and just repeat what they hear in these chambers over and over. The internet was supposed to be a wealth of knowledge where we would actually learn. But unfortunately the opposite has happened and people get together and reinforce what they already believe. Thus we have nonsense like anti-vaxxers and flat earth morons. The science that created the technology which runs the internet has inadvertently given rise to groups that are anti-science! How is that for ironic.
The third piece I don’t like about the internet these days is everything has to be “monetized.” This means the old pages that were just information now have popups, advertisements, click-bait and so on which will drive one crazy. Thank God Wikipedia is still a throwback to the old internet where knowledge is just put there and isn’t monetized.
So where do I find myself going on the internet these days? Well, Facebook is a major because I have friends from all over the world and if I were to delete my account I’d lose contact, in many cases forever, with a lot of friends. The second place, as I mentioned before is Reddit. I do learn something here although a good majority of it is junk. The third is my news source which is the BBC. I remember when Fox News was just a third place boring news channel back in 2002 and of course now it is one big Right Wing propaganda outfit. I quit watching CNN when they glorified the Iraq War with Christine Amanpour running through the trenches in her stilettos trying to make money off conflict and death. So I settled on the BBC because they seem to have so far not given in to becoming just another source of propaganda.
I forgot to mention the other social networks. Instagram is a big one but that is overrun by “influencers” who want to hawk products. YouTube is full of young kids making fools of themselves for likes: I’ve caught my son watching one or two channels where they act goofy, laugh every two seconds and basically just be a baffoon. There is also the “Ryan Toy Review” where the parents prostitute their kid and make him play with toys so they get a lot of likes and revenue. There was one episode where the parents were running around a store frantically throwing toys into their carts. By doing this and gaining millions of followers they are now multi-millionaires. They worship at the alter of commercialism and it all feels just so creepy that I cannot watch.
Finally, the one refuge I have on the internet are my blogs, they are my home and where I like to spend most of my time. The internet has become one big monetized mess and I long for the nascent internet when it was a place to meet people and learn things. It was not a place where I see boys putting on makeup, losers grouping up to whine and a big display of look at me! Gosh, some of the females I know post picture after picture of themselves day after day. I know what you look like due to the 4,948 other pictures you uploaded! Yes, I know you go to the gym and workout, you’ve let everyone and anyone know continuously for the past four years! The internet has become a place where everyone is demanding attention!
And thank God I didn’t date in the age of Tinder. Trying to find a partner by swiping left or right, based on a profile picture doesn’t set the stage for a healthy and stable relationship.
What a mess. Anyway, I’m done ranting and need to get to bed. It is past 8:30 which is 30 minutes past my bedtime. Hopefully I’ll dream of “You’ve Got Mail,” and the pretty ICQ flower turning green.