The Internet Needs To End

Posted on 09/05/2018 in misc

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I was reading the news online recently and realized something. I've been making an effort to get my news from the local paper via their online edition. By online edition I mean a digital representation of the day's newspaper, not the website. I literally flip through the pages, just like I'm reading an actual paper and at some point I'll go through all the pages and be done with the paper for the day.

Done with the paper for the day.

If you get your news from Twitter or even a news website you are never done with the news. It just keeps coming and coming, with some algorithm continually throwing more news at you to keep you on the site.

That's a problem.

And it's not just news sites. Music does the same thing. Instead of listening to an album like we used to, Spotify or Pandora just keeps throwing music at you, whether you are paying attention or not.

Facebook? Instead of making a call or getting coffee to catch up with a friend, you scroll through a never ending torrent of crap, little of it actually related to keeping in touch with friends.

I think a fundamental problem with the Internet, and specifically with social media, is that it never ends. You are never caught up. As I've written before, my life got immediately better (within hours!) when I unfollowed everybody on Facebook, rendering my Facebook newsfeed essentially empty. I had accidentally "fixed" Facebook. It has an ending for me now, usually within about 60 seconds of checking in.

I was never been a big streaming music user. I have about 700 albums in my collection. I don't need more music, and I don't need to discover new music. I am constantly rediscovering albums I liked enough to buy at some point, but haven't actually listened to in a long time.

Throughout all of human history media from papyrus scrolls to modern books or TV shows have always had an ending. There was always some point when you were done, whether it was with a single episode or book, or a series.

The Internet has changed that. The Internet never ends. You are never done. I suspect that is stressful for a lot of people, and it's unhealthy for all of us.

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