I recently 'signed off,' an internet chat forum that I've been participating in for quiet some time. The main reason being, I have very little self-control when it comes to wasting time on the internet. I figured the less outlets I have the better. This was my last post:
Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Blogger, chat forums, it is all a sack of steaming shit. I've already committed FaceBook suicide. I wish I had the bollox to commit full internet suicide. No poxy blog, no email, nothing but I'm in too deep. Per FaceBook, I realized you stop being friends with some people for a reason. Whether its physical geography, social scene or you stop liking each other. Its natural. There's no point trying to force some artificial friendship. If only, we could let things run their course and move on without the baggage.
In this virtual non-world, people carefully create such forced and false personas. I know very well that people spend hours at a time selecting the right books and films on their FaceBook profile, in order to look interesting. Carefully structuring their MySpace page to look ever so 'wild and crazy.' Look at me high school friends. You may have punched me in the face when we were fourteen but now I have interesting work, fuck lots of women, climb motherfucking mountains, and make witty comments on the internet.
Every time I 'log on' the internet, I feel myself die a little.
I fear, people are seeking community here at the expense of real community, taking social risks 'online' but barely able to have meaningful interactions with their neighbors. It is going to catch up to us. There's nothing better than going a way from computers, cell phones and all that shit and having to actually interact with real live physical people. I find the clutter in my head floating out of my ear holes. I find a bit of tranquility and ease but then I slip back into this crap.
Anyway, I'd like to meet you. My name's Pete. I'm a social retard but bare with me. Let's get coffee, grab a few waves and drink some tinnies on the beach. This might be my last blog but I doubt my life is ever going to be meaningful enough to follow through. I could be reading a book right now but for some fucked up reason, it must OK better to my boss to be wasting time on the internet. I'm an empty, shallow, lazy coward, that wants companionship and intellectual stimulation as much as the rest of you but find it increasingly hard to find it in this confused technified culture of ours.
Sure it was melodramatic. I suppose that is the beauty of the virtual world. One can be melodramatic, assume a persona and have very little accountability but it is all crap that has run through my head at one point or another.
Truth be told, I'd like to put the toothpaste back in the tube. I sincerely believe the internet takes more than it gives. It is an easy way out like television used to be. It is full of empty chatter and mindless clutter that clogs your brain or tries to convince you to be a more loyal consumer. I think the internet has fucked with my concentration span so much, that I now even find myself having to actively concentrate when watching crap television.
More and more newspapers are going virtual. Sure, it will save a few trees but there is no way you can take in a newspaper as thoroughly from a screen with all the obnoxious pop-ups and distracting ads.
Recently in Portland, two major news stories broke, one about a downtown shooting and one about the Mayor's controversial love affair. I tried to follow public reaction in the comments section. yet, the discussion soon became incredibly black and white, with inane petty bickering, 'fuck commies, fags, immigrants,' or 'ban guns, screw Conservatives and right-wing nut jobs.' It was almost devoid of meaningful exchange, debate, and intelligent response.
Yesterday, I received multiple emails forwarding me the same story and then I found the same story on multiple blogs. It all proves that the internet really is not this bottomless well of useful and stimulating information. We're all tuning into the same clutter and its mostly buried deep in irrelevant pap trying to sell you something.
And it never ends. We get more deeply embedded everyday with various new scams to suck us in. I just heard about Twitter. I had no idea what it was and still don't, so I went to their website and found this quote:
If you aren't familiar with Twitter, it is one of those things, like MySpace, that sounds totally ridiculous and stupid when you first hear about it. But once you start using it, you realize how much fun it is.
Well if that is the case, how about this: If you aren't familiar with Twitter, then you don't fucking need it! Life was ticking along just fine before Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and even fucking email. To repeat one of my favourite Miki Dora Quotes,
"The bourgeoisie must be reconciled to their customary Orwellian entanglements, rushing to be saved BY technology... and then saved FROM it."
We're looking for easier ways to interact, communicate, find community and meaning in our existence through this medium without pausing to consider how it is destroying real live actual communities and crippling our mental faculties, while freezing our emotional scope. And then trying to fill the void with more of the same.
My wife joked last night that in a few years we'll be seeing "Social Networking Anonymous" recovery groups. I'd say this is a very real possibility as ridiculous as it seems.
Lots of us argue, we're in complete control over the whole thing, use it for our own gain and can sign off whenever we want but sit back take a deep breath and ask yourself,
Can you really?
In saying all that, I went to the library the other day to pick up a couple of books. The place was wedged. People returning books, checking out books, reading, researching, quietly socializing and so on. I skated home, with my library books under my arm, a little bit more hopeful.