he cyber lifestyle has brought us ways to do nearly everything faster. I just ordered an entire refrigerator of groceries in about 20 minutes, then had them delivered to my house. I can record five shows at the same time. It’s so easy to search for directions. Remember when you had to stop at a gas station only for the teenager behind the counter to get you totally lost?
The World Wide Web has brought us advancements far beyond human imagination. It has also brought a world – often a world with very different sensibilities and backgrounds – closer together. The melting pot of ideas is kind of in that stage right now where you just made that recipe for buffalo dip, but it still has a couple hours to heat up. It’s still clumpy in the middle and not all the way mixed together.
To desperately break out of the melted cheese metaphor, the Interweb has brought together communities that weren’t really ready to mix together.
Republicans and Democrats. Gay and straight. White and black. Star Wars fans versus people who have made poor decisions in their life and like to be wrong.
And they’ve given them all a voice. Everyone’s voice is equal on the Internet. Everyone gets a vote. Even your stupid co-worker’s kid who has impregnated seven people in his town and likes to shoot the tires out of parked cars. Yeah. That guy gets to tell you why Knives Out “sucked” on Twitter.
In the old days, marketing classes said that it takes seven good things to overcome one negative review. The ratios are way more out of whack now. We can simply post whatever happens to emit from our assholes and appear “informed” or “in the know” about that restaurant across the street that had a dirty spoon. Or are applauded for our bravery when we gave the guy on the street corner a dollar which also happened to be in a 200 word post on your Facebook.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we need a ratio system on the Internet. It needs to be closer to one to one instead of say, 50 to one. If you want to crap all over The Avengers movie because there was some plot hole in the third hour that didn’t completely line up with the comic books, you should be required to do community service hours, or read to blind kids, or something. You need to put a fraction of good into the world – like we used to do.
We used to give a bum a dollar because we had a dollar to spare, not to take an Instagram selfie. We used to tell people about bad (and good) experiences at a local business to a neighbor because we genuinely wanted people to go to or not go to their business – not so your Google Guide rating can go to Level Jenga or whatever.
Now, someone will reply to this passage and say something negative like “you can’t call people bums anymore.” Which, hey, great. Thanks for listening. But I guess you miss the point. And when everything – every word – every phrase – is parsed in this polarizing world – you can’t help but not be perfect all the time. This isn’t to say you can just say anything. I didn’t say the bum was a bum in a racially insensitive or a lifestyle insensitive sort of way… I just said the bum was a bum because… smell, mainly.
In a binary world where you’re either a winner or a loser, I feel like I’m living in the middle. Maybe I’m the only one left. I can both be disappointed by a plot hole in a made up science fiction movie and still love the movie 3,000.
The Internet has brought us everything. Too much, in fact. It has brought us groceries and all the free porn you can put your palms on. But it has also brought us closer to the worst of us.. Like columnists… or worse, podcasters…
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(Get in the cyber middle with Chris Kamler on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed, or find him on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube)