the candler blog

The Internet Sucks: A Reading List

Technology, Writing

In the past week (and then some) I’ve read so many stories that have done an excellent job articulating something I’ve been feeling for awhile now: the Internet sucks, and this is a new thing. I’ve tried to put this into words before, but the below articles do a better job.

The Internet is a vast landscape, yet all the same garbage bubbles up to the top these days. I don’t have any answers, but I do know it’s something we should be vigilant about. The web is too important to give up on. So here’s a reading list enumerating where we are today.

“Self Referential” by Gabe Weatherhead:

It’s obvious that publishing original content is a fading career opportunity and is being replaced by micro blogs such as Medium, Twitter and even Instagram. Not only do I think these are replacing individual blogs, such as this site, but I believe they are actively speeding the demise of original work.

“The Web We Have to Save” by Hossein Derakhshan:

There’s no question to me that the diversity of themes and opinions is less online today than it was in the past. New, different, and challenging ideas get suppressed by today’s social networks because their ranking strategies prioritize the popular and habitual.

“Escaping the new media cargo cult” by David Moldawer:

Whether you blame Facebook, Buzzfeed, HuffPo, or “algorithms,” the new media landscape has grown a big fat mainstream of its own. Not at one particular site, but in the sense of a particular mechanic of creative expression: tailored for clicks, pasteurized, grabby. The long tail of odd and authentic content is bigger than ever, but if you find your content the way most people do, through the algorithmically warped suggestions in your social media feeds, the stuff you stumble onto feels less like writing and more like wordage, a sort of tips-and-tragedies lorem ipsum.

“The trolls are winning the battle for the Internet” by Ellen Pao:

The Internet started as a bastion for free expression. It encouraged broad engagement and a diversity of ideas. Over time, however, that openness has enabled the harassment of people for their views, experiences, appearances or demographic backgrounds. Balancing free expression with privacy and the protection of participants has always been a challenge for open-content platforms on the Internet. But that balancing act is getting harder. The trolls are winning.

It’s Friday, so let’s end on a high note. Here’s a link to the instructions for the Penicillin, a cocktail my pal Noah turned me on to with a tweet. And here’s a video of its inventor, Sam Ross, demonstrating how to properly make it. The Internet doesn’t always suck, it seems.

Bottoms up.

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