Gawker have a point. (OK, I check out Gawker occasionally. I’m not proud.) Lazy television producers getting segments – sometimes whole shows – out of the latest Internet “craze”, which generally was over before the segment started and lasted about as long. The “meme“. (Whatever you think of Richard Dawkins, his concept did not deserve this ignominious end.) Here’s a rule which I think the producers needs to understand: If you hear about an internet meme via any medium except the Internet, it is already over.
These things were only really funny when it seemed like they were special, hidden from the rest of the world by a veil of shared cultural reference. But now the Internet is indistinguishable from other media. Everything blends together and becomes brown plasticine. It doesn’t feel like a separate and more mysterious world anymore. It’s as if the process started in September 1993, when the Internet was opened to the public, has finally reached completion.
This is what some people have said about Google+ in fact, that while it’s still in semi-closed testing (you need an invite to join) there is a standard of good behaviour and quality of discussion there that you just don’t get on other bits of the Net anymore. And as Google+ gives you more control over who you hear from and are heard by than other online social networks, there is some hope that it might stay that way.
But then you have the opposite problem. When the Internet was new it may have only been small, but it was global. Now, it’s fragmenting into a great many personal networks. By language, by country, by age, by interest, by taste. All of them separate.
And all of them of course policed – by commercial interest and by government – instead of being a self-policing community.
We need a new Internet. Anyone know anything about wiring?
- Friday Flash Fiction: Just Ask Me (kieranmacintosh.wordpress.com)
- Look – I Participated in an Internet Meme! from A Rust Monster Ate My Sword… (rustmonsteratemysword.blogspot.com)
- Semantics Sunday (thismamathing.com)
- Stuxnet: Pentagon Wants An Excuse to Help Them Shut Down The Internet (newsworldwide.wordpress.com)
- Are you a Google+ shark? (cbsnews.com)