Monday, July 21, 2008

Internet Suburbia

Readers here know that I’m associated with, which we’re selling as a mashup between Facebook and National Geographic. I believe in the site. I believe we can do good things. But part of me also believes, deep down, that we’re just adding noise to an otherwise already noisy Internet. Part of me wonders, as I peruse the Internet myself (and make useless contributions to it on this blog) whether we’d be doing a better service by buying up web sites just to shut them down.

Does that happen? Do sites get shut down, or do they just get buried? Buried, most likely. Now, way back in my computer infancy, I ran several websites, hogging space on the University of Idaho servers. I had one on the Secret of NIMH. I had one on Watership Down. I had others showing off my own writing, and even one on sage brush. All shut down. All down the drain. And good riddance, says the author of that dreck. But here I am again, spewing a mighty fireball of nothing onto the nothing that is the vast Internet suburbia of sites that maybe friends or family visit, plus a random collection of national and international strangers who, if Feedjit is right, want information on Second Life. And why they’d want that, I have no idea, since my experience with Second Life boils down to anime characters chatting about prims. Whee.

But that’s okay, isn’t it? We’re all getting our kicks trolling the Internet, thinking, somehow, we, too, can make a contribution that involves tricky sentences with lots of words stacked between commas. But we’re still in the burbs, squatting in some isolated cul de sac that nobody but family and the garbage men ever visit. Most of us are better off where we are, because what we want to contribute isn’t all that great to begin with. So we stay, once and a while replacing the burned out bulbs on the porch because, hey, we want to make sure all the lights are on and working when we get that fifteen minutes of fame. But do we get it? More like fifteen seconds these days, because there are so many in the burbs now, staring at the distant lights of the big, bright city, knowing that we can’t afford the gas to get us there. And nobody in the city’s coming to us, no matter how much we fool ourselves.

So shut them down. Shut them all down.

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