(Note: @amisuggests on Twitter remarked that this post sounds angry. I'm not sure why. Perhaps the tone in some of the items below suggests anger? For the record, this post isn't actually an angry post, nor a reflection of some personal experience with the below items. These are general assessments of the Internet, some of them good and some of them bad. I'm not angry at all. I haven't the time to be angry for the things mentioned below.)
The last few months have been pretty intense. I've attended two conferences, I've had all manner of problems in my personal life, and a mountain of unnecessary Internet drama that would make Jonathan Swift roll over in his grave. Through the course of all of this, I've come to a series of conclusions about what I've learned about the Internet:
- YouTube is probably the biggest intellectual cesspool to ever exist. Worse than the United States Government. Worse than the most radical of political activists. Trying to have a conversation there is like trying to convince a tiger not to eat you. You keep talking, but nothing changes, no matter how persuasive you are.
- The Internet is the premiere place to say whatever the hell you want without worrying about or even considering the consequences.
- People you meet on the Internet will often violate their own personal rules to get back at you. This is attached to #2, obviously.
- These same people will make a public spectacle of your personal life if they think it will lead back to you and, in effect, harm you.
- And if you're smart, you learn to shrug it all off like the petty, vindictive, childish nonsense that it is, without letting it rule your life. Because...it's just the Internet.
- E-commerce is the greatest thing to happen to the modern world. I can buy anything I want online, and that's freaking awesome.
- I can literally find information on anything I want on the Internet. That may not sound impressive anymore, but imagine a world in which we had to spend weeks searching through a library of books. I'd still like to do that, but I don't have time to do that for everything I want to know. The Internet makes knowledge available to everyone. That's kickass, in my book.
- Trolls and other inflammatory Internet types are almost as bad as child molesters, and sometimes fit into that latter category.
- Hulu, YouTube, and other video or audio services have revolutionized the way we watch or listen to anything. Likewise, they've revolutionized how we produce and distribute visual and aural content (i.e. music). Podcasts, webshows, and so on. There has never been so much free entertainment in the history of humanity.
- Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and all these other nifty ways of engaging with the WWW are just the tip of the iceberg. Just wait. Something is coming that will change the way we do things now so much that it will cease to resemble the current way of doing things. Just look back to the beginning of the Internet and see the difference between then and now. The Internet is evolving at a rapid pace, and we have to try to keep up with it.
There you have it. So, what have you learned about the Internet in the last few months? What about in the last year?