Back To The Future
Let’s Cut Off The Internet
I think it’s time to shut down the internet.
The thing does nothing but hijacks our perspective, acts as a cauldron filled with tasteless voices and half-wit advice, all of which make us seemingly selfish. Why Al Gore would take credit for it is anyone’s guess.
The fact is the internet is a trap full of crap. We use Google thinking it has all the answers when its search function is a poor setup. Digging into it is a food errand. Try finding solutions to pressing questions like who can you trust to help you with an angry child, who is qualified to fix your leaky roof, and why do I have hair here, and you’ll wind up with a mall worth of links that have nothing worth believing or buying. Heck, ask it if it’s okay to “come out of the closet,” and it’ll answer “probably.”
Google is just an example of how technology can play both sides of the same coin. According to a Pew Research Center article, by 2025, 915 innovators, developers, business and policy researchers, and activists foresee significant changes, including inequality on a grand scale, give even more power to big tech, spread misinformation.
The article does go on to say that tech will help level racial justice, enhance the quality of life, and produce technology enhancements. However, some 47% of respondents feel like life around tech will worsen by 2025, while 39% said otherwise. Some 14% said I’d believe it when I see it.
See, wouldn’t it be nice if tech was more committed to your cause. Social media undermines their value because they won’t take responsibility even though they know they filter their data to suit your needs. And as you read and read and read the same opinions over and over, your belief system sinks deeper and deeper into a way of thinking that it’s just hard to escape.
And why? Because at the time you initially heard those opinions, you had questions about how that person came to those conclusions. How is free education going to work? Why is it that, in a chamber filled with a socially distanced, masked, and vaccinated congress, can’t be seen as a marker of social responsibility rather than pariah’s for claiming success against fighting Covid-19.
Look, here’s the bottom line: it’s okay to have different opinions and ideas. However, it’s worthless when no one is bothering to listen to the other side. And when you have a utility that makes that easy to do and we don’t, that’s just plain sad, so why bother?
The Internet’s Infearmation
The internet has taught us a cycle of infearmation. Here’s how it works: you read something that leaves you feeling uncertain, so you search for other information to resolve that uncertainty. And the thing is, you’re an intelligent person, so the answers to your questions aren’t hard to find, but they are hard to believe. So you keep looking.
But at some point, you have to conclude either believe it and act on it or not. The bottom line is you cannot search for guarantees forever. You must choose a path with conviction.
And, what stings the most is regardless of whether or not you buy a new set of earbuds, put faith in online therapy, or hire an electrician off Home Advisor, you stake your dignity on such things. And as small and large as these steps may be, you have a little more faith in the system when things work out. But when it doesn’t, it’s an unrealized crushing blow.
The essential ingredient of civility is belief. And when you have teenagers expecting to be famous on YouTube and Tik Tok, it’s a problem. It cracks their sense of hope for the future. The fact that someone can be famous on YouTube is great for those who put in the work and understand the hard road. For those who aren’t, it’s a travesty. They go through life thinking this impossible task was supposed to happen for me? How will I ever learn to pack a lunch?
eCommerce Advertising — Don’t Even Get Me Started
eCommerce advertising is out to get you. You can click an ad for Noom to see whether online weight loss is a thing, and next thing you know Noom is everywhere you go from Facebook to Spotify.
Look, I don’t need anyone trolling to sell me weight-loss products. In my mind, the only way Noom works for me is if I get pissed off to the point that I abandon my device and get off my ass to avoid Noom. If that’s what Noom is and I lose 20 pounds in the process, sign me up. Otherwise, how do I stop Facebook from shoving Noom in my face all the time when I know cutting the web’s wire could end the cyberstalking once and for all.
The customer service flat-out sucks too. These companies take umbrage in providing either incompetent bots who cannot even direct you to simple answers to your product questions or cookie cutter emails saying, “Sorry, we cannot provide a refund per the Terms of Agreement.”
The Terms of Agreement is a formally written document that outlines the rules of the contract designed as more of a sleep agent than a sound accord you’re aware enough to understand.
I bought an online highlighting service, figuring it would be an excellent investment for when I read. I stopped using it after three months.
After being charged for another year’s worth, I asked for a refund and cancellation of the service. Someone from a kitchen table somewhere responded, “No, we won’t give you your money back, and we’ll cancel your service. However, you can still use it until the service contract ends per”, you guessed it, “Terms of Agreement”.
They don’t care. Go on and choose your yellow, choose your teal and go top highlight yourself to death. For them, as long as you leave them the green, that’s what matters.
The experience left a bad taste in my mouth, which leads to another reason to cut off the internet: restaurant reviews are the pits. I don’t believe those star ratings anymore. One man’s dumpster meal is another man’s French Laundry feast. So really, like everything in this place, what’s the point?