It should be a surprise to no one that it appears that the human race has forgotten how to pass time without the internet. Some nerds at a university somewhere did an study where they gave a group of American adults the choice between spending 30 minutes alone without their phone and painful electric shock, around 60% of the participants chose electric shock. The idea of not having access to the internet is painful to the modern American. We have become addicted to it.
So where are we spending our time when on the internet? Is the personal time we spend on the internet at all productive? Most people spend time on sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Instagram is a site for people to look at the false perfections of other peoples' lives so that they can become dissatisfied and depressed with their own life (I honestly believe that every girl under the age of 26 who is currently suffering from depression should file a class action lawsuit against Instagram), Twitter is a ste which is specially engineered to make you angry because hate generates more clicks than love, and Facebook is . . . well I don't really understand what Facebook is (one of these days I'll write an article about that) but we all know it is a waste of time too.
And then there are all the sites people go on to just watch videos and consoom content. Things like Netflix are just like TV but worse because they give you the option to waste an entire day by watching an entire TV series in one sitting. YouTube is a site filled with content creators who all cultishly worship some "algorithm" whose desires are always and whose ways will never truly be known. Tick-Tock is a modern clone of Vine which has evolved to be even more cringy and has caused the average attention span of zoomers to drop below ten seconds. Porn videos are also abundant and popular, but also highly destructive to the human mind.
The modern internet has evolved into a harmful drug rather than a helpful tool.
Of course the internet wasn't always like this, this is obviusly due to the limitations of past technology, but it is also because back in the day the internet was used by an entirely different breed of people. The very first internet users were researchers in universities, they developed the internet and used it mainly to share their research with eachother. Eventually the World-Wide-Web (which if we were to get oboxiously technical is the real term for what we call "the internet") was developed but for years it was really only used by computer nerds because use of the internet required a computer at a time when owning a comuter was quite rare.
When the World-Wide-Web did start to gain traction with these nerds most of the sites were text based because the technology to store and distribute mass quantities of data simply didn't exist. If a site did have a picture on it it would take much longer to load. There was much less though put into what we would call web design because that technology didn't quite exist either, websites looked a lot more like this one and a lot less like modern Facebook. The fanciest thing the average website would do would be a goofy gif.
Search engines back in the day were also less powerful which means that search engine optimization was not a thing. You may not realize that for the vast majority of the articles you read on the internet you are not the main audience, Google is. Writers employed by news sites have to take special care to include key words several times, this is why when you are reading a five paragraph book review the title of the book will be mentioned twelve times witin those five paragraphs and the authors name eight times. The audience of the review is not a human that has an attention span but it is a cimputer with a checklist. The internet before good search engines was an internet that wasn't flooded with this type of dull writing.
In short the internet of the past was an entity made by people for people, while the internet of today is made by coorporations for a machine. It was quite easy for an average person back in the day to learn to make a site comperable to many of the sites of the past, today it would take much more effort or investment for just anyone to make a site that looked like the popular sites of today.
Of course we don't have to be satisfied with how the internet is now, all of us have the option to make our own way. I once mentioned that Luke Smith's website was a big influence on why I ended up creating my own site, I modeled the overall look of my site after that one. Of course now if you visit Luke's site today you'll find that it looks nothing like mine as he has gotten rid of his CSS stylesheet so that he could have a site which truly prioritizes content over style, and the best part of his site, and mine for that matter, is that nobody is telling anyone what to say. There is a lot of talk today about the importance of free speech, especially on the internet, and while I agree that free speech is essential to a free society, I have come to the conclusion that it is an inpossible thing to achive on the internet unless you are the one paying for the server your speech is hosted on.
Has the internet lost its humanity and the personality that goes with it forever? Well no, of course not, I am here ard you can be too. The internet was not built so that everyone could all go to the same five sites and all view the same coorperate sponsored advertizements and consoom the same dead content. Engineers dod not research design and build technology that could connect the world only for writers and other content creators to end up having a computer program as their target audience. You should not be using the internet as a tool to escape life, rather it should be a tool for you to enhance it.
I believe that the internet can be a massive tool for good, unfortunately the social media which dominates the internet of today has proven iteslf to be effective in bringing out the worst in people. Trends to post positive things on social media are only that, trends, they end and the negativity lurking in the background always prevails. In order to save the internet, and more importantly ourselves, from this negativity we need to leave those sites entirely and create our own. I speak from experience when I say that I feel that writing stuff to put on your own personal website has the potential to bring out the best in you, and that is what the world, and more importantly you, need. Don't spend your time on sites designed to make you feel bad, spend them on sites designed to inspire, and create your own sites to inspire others.
Setting up and maintaining a website has never been eaiser, the skills neccecary an be learned in an afternoon and server space has never been cheaper. If you want to start but don't know where I'd be willing to help. Together we can make the internet ours, we can create truly unique sites that are actually fun to browse. The state of the internet today does not have to be its state tomorrow, we can take it back.