Why I’m Getting Bored of the Internet

I need a vacation. From the Internet. It’s just too much with which to keep up, and I find myself pining for a simpler era, wherein one’s online identity culminated in a personal homepage.

I cut my teeth on those personal homepages. I didn’t worry about SEO, nor did I really need to. I didn’t use the latest code, but nobody cares.

And life was easy. I could update my page as I desired, and it really didn’t matter whether it became stale or not.

As time progressed, the Web became more complicated. MySpace was an early indicator of this. And as other social networks popped up, increasingly a person’s online identity was a stream of updates on somebody else’s website.

Today we have Facebook. Twitter. Flickr. Google+. Youtube. DeviantArt. Picasa. Orkut. Gravatar. WordPress.com. Blogger. Delicious. Diigo. StumbleUpon. Tumblr. GetGlue. Foursquare.

And so many more.

I won’t dispute these are great services. They are.

Social networks, all of them. Some are specialized; others are more general. Yet each of them gives you a profile to maintain.

Who has the time to keep up with one of them, let alone several?

I’m glad I don’t have a smartphone. The temptation to “check in” to every location I arrive at or every piece of entertainment I enjoy would be too great to ignore.

I can’t help but think it’s all so much a waste of time, and of course there is the looming shadow that any of those networks will one day shut down, taking your identity with it. (Most of us remember the once popular Geocities.)

I long for a simpler era, perhaps a time when having an online identity meant maintaining an actual website and perhaps even (*gasp*) learning a bit of markup.

No doubt many of us would appreciate the reduction in online noise that this would allow.

I long for an era with no more “Likes” or “+1s” or other arbitrary link tracking, wherein all we do is let corporations make marketing statistics out of us. If you like something, link back to it on your own website, where it matters. “Liking” and “+1ing” is too easy, so easy that I’d say it’s meaningless. (“Liking” on Facebook is so ridiculously meaningless that FarmVille players insist on people liking their statuses to show that a FarmVille bonus or whatever has been received, so that others don’t needlessly click it.)

I long for an era where people wrote for other people, when posts didn’t read like carefully crafted marketing garbage.

Does any of this stuff matter at all? Am I a better person for any of it?

Ecclesiastes, one of my favorite books of the Bible, laments that “of the writing of books, there is no end.”

What would the author have said about the Internet, wherein hundreds of thousands of blog posts, status updates, bookmarks, pictures, and videos are posted every hour?

“Vanity of vanities… all is vanity.”

Maybe what I long for is a paper journal.

4 thoughts on “Why I’m Getting Bored of the Internet”

  1. Hellooo,
    Many times I feel the same way too. Internet addiction can be a boring thing.
    I stayed away from Facebook and Twitter for some times, doing any other things that doesn’t need me to plug-in the internet connection. Well, it works – but then I missed them again, lol.

    Last year, in an act to rebel agaist the exponential growth of technology I cancelled my cell phone and now its only function is an alarm/coaster on my night stand. I spend most my day in front of 2 computer screens and several more hours in front of a laptop. Being online is unavoidable since I make $ doing it. And I am connected through the wonders of Google Voice, email, etc…. However, It just came to a point where I really wanted to be able to “disconnect” from the rest of the world’s need to connect.

    It is too much and most is a waste of time. At what benefit does knowing what your friend had for breakfast via their status update matter let alone a friend of a friend or someone you have absolutely no relationship with at all!?!?

    I could keep rambling about the mass consumerism that we live in and the more I realize how in the end 99% of it really doesn’t matter. To re-work and old phrase; I think it is time to…
    TURN OFF, TUNE OUT & DROP IN to stuff that has more meaning. Hang out with friends in person, do something social, take your kid to a ball game- get back to what really matters rather then focusing on the newest Ipad, Iphone Isomething that will be outdated next month anyway.

    p.s. Rick, thanks for creating openhook…. it has helped me a lot in past Thesis projects.

  3. Geez, Rick! A girlfriend? I had a feeling that when you posted the first poly thingy that your wife wouldn’t be very thrilled. Then you disappeared for months only to return apparently still married! I guess by that time the die had been cast.

    I greatly regret that you are no longer a husband to your wife and what about your kid(s)?

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