the main point of the internet


[Update:] Afterthought by Mark Earls:

But the important thing – and the really revolutionary stuff at play here – is that this kind of (Internet) technology destroys many of the cultural, economic and politic brakes on our fundamentally social nature.

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  1. What’s up dude, I really like what you usually have to say (even bought your book early:) but I gotsa say, this is one of the most idiotic cartoons you’ve ever done. I realize social media is your shtick and whatnot, but can we get past the mystery that you can actually “socialize” on the internet? Am I socializing with you right now? Not really, unless you define socialize as Person A relaying a message somehow to Person B… what a dumb definition that would be. Here I am typing a comment to you, without know that you’ll ever even read it. Ok, so maybe you’re reading it now… are we socializing yet? At the end of the day, I’m sitting here hacking away at the keyboard staring at my monitor, maybe you’re staring at a screen right now reading this comment, and we call that socializing? And this is the main point of the internet? How sad that would be. Frankly the internet devalues social interaction, because by me spending time here staring at the screen, I’m not actually interacting, face-to-face, with a real human being in real-time. What I hear over and over again is what a waste of time things like FB and Twitter are, how empty it makes you feel. Of course there’s the flip side that you can meet really cook people by way of the internet (I’ve certainly made friends by way of internet, people I’ve met in real life) but to say that the main point of the internet (I agree Tim, there’s a main point?) is to remove social barriers??? The internet _is_ a social barrier, one that people hide behind so that they don’t have to face people in the real world. To make the point superclear: what if you were correct, this was the main point to the internet, and it was successful, i.e. it removed _all_ barriers to socializing, and because there are now no barriers, _all_ socializing between humans occurred on the internet! How f’ing depressing does that sound? Frankly if you want to socialize meet up with a friend or go to the bar – socializing on the internet is seriously lame, and all this talk about “social media” and “social objects” frankly just sounds ridiculous to any sane person who doesn’t spend most of their time on the internet.

    The main point of the internet should be to make life in the real world easier and to limit the time spent on the internet. Sitting in front of the computer all day staring at a monitor and thinking you’re connecting with people is unhealthy.

    • Lee, who says you have to spend all day on the Internet in order to remove barriers to socializing? Certainly not me…

      N.B. When I say “socializing”, I don’t mean just “hanging out at the bar with your pals”. I mean something a bit more broad than that, including doing business.

      Thanks for the rant! 😉

  2. Reminds me of something that Julien Smith wrote a while back:

    The ideal social technology duplicates all human behaviours.

    If you can duplicate one social behaviour that we humans have, you’ve got a real success. Think Digg, Facebook, Twitter, even PlentyOfFish– all hugely successful sites that facilitate a natural human behaviour.

    If you can do many of them, you’ve got a… well, I don’t know quite what, but something crazy.

    Your job, then, is one of three things:

    a) Build a tool that facilitates natural human behaviour.

    b) Reduce friction in facilitating one of these behaviours through an existing tool.

    c) Become a master at one of them

    • agree about the socializing – but removing barriers? why not just socializing? not sure i totally understand the distinction.

      women are starting to take over and i think it’s because they see the possibility for connecting. technology is lame but chatting is amazing.

      the second point of the internet is porn, right?

  3. Mark Earls afterthought sounds like a definition of a paradigm shift. The different perspectives and somewhat provoced comments in this thread serves as a nice illustration to this definition.

    Clay Shirky predicts 50 years of chaos. Hell, in 50 years we might be able to socialize as freely through tech as we now do without it.

  4. […] to decide whether you agree or disagree, and in what way. That’s how it is when he explains the main point of the Internet. Perhaps the Internet has helped redefine “socializing” as well. But it’s just […]

  5. Some of my best and most trusted friends are … people I have met using the internet, and with whom I have built up real and trusting friendships, personal and professional.

    But those friendships have required more ‘socializing’ with them than just one or two exchanges of comments.

    That said, it felt like, and for me was, ‘socializing’ from the first link onwards.

  6. I think the main point of the internet is:

    We humans have thoughts and questions, our thoughts and ideas that we type into a search engine get saved into a data engine… for what? where is this engine? why?

    What do computer do? they try to act and function as close to your brain possible… a computer saves data, so does your brain… (a computer doesn’t think by it self) but one day they will… thanks to all of our questions, thoughts, dreams, ideas, feelings and much more… One day computers will answer your question to a point that you will think a actual human is answering you. It will command you to do so, it will manipulate your brain just like the media is doing now (implanting images) so that we accept the corrupted society we live in.

    The internet could be the salvation of humanity but that’s if everyone was to understand that we are all the same. One kind, One love, No God, just us. Humans or whatever you call yourself,

    Internet… all the sudden we use it…


  7. Yes, I agree. I’m astonished people haven’t noticed their lives being slowly destroyed by technology. Perhaps it has happened so slowly that they don’t know. I think most people have become progressively unhappier since the 1990’s. Adderall, xanax and 10,000 other pills are pumped into the system to keep people ‘sane’. Apart from that, what is the goal of the internet? To connect everything with everything? Most people just collect a paycheck and build whatever junk their boss pays them to build. Yes, it’s a strange and tragic era.