Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Paradise Found and Lost: Where Goest the Internets?

I've been wondering if I'm just suffering from my summer ennui -except it seems to have months ago - or if I've simply become bored with my corner of the internets. It all seems so irrelevant anymore.

A couple years ago, Twitter was a great place to have conversations in real time. To connect with people I care about- and meet new people, friends of friends, and learn to love them before I ever see their face. It was conversations and drinking games and giggles and all that is good with the internets.

Then it exploded into another marketing scheme. Into an obsession about followers - seeing people as only a number. It became another platform for broadcasting a message; dominated with one-way streams. Many days I have to fight to find anyone interested in conversation. They are too busy marketing themselves. Broadcasting their ideas. So I slip away to find other amusements.

Facebook, which early on confused me then changed and charmed me then changed again and became once more a head scratcher to me, has turned into merely another Twitter feed with time-sucking games included. Why go to the website and actually SHARE A LINK when you can merely feed your twitstream over, save time, and share the tiny url? Why look for anything more there than how a friend measures up on some inane game? Or visit their imaginary abode every day to get a few imaginary coin? Why seek to interact with people there? The average user is too busy selling themselves or distracting themselves to actually interact.

Blogs -once THE place to build community and find commonality- have, to me at least, become rather repetitive and dull or once again about pushing my image upon the world. Community building is rare; conversations are stalled. Comments-where the real conversations happen- are apparently becoming "love fests" or disappearing.

And websites that once offered reasons to visit daily -hell, hourly- because of their special niche and the community they drew around that niche have chosen instead to try and compete these powerhouse social networks. Instead of staying with got them great, they try to imitate -poorly, I might add- the tools and options offered other places. And in doing so, dilute the visibility of what made them great appealling places to begin with.

I thought that this year video would finally hit it big -conversations not only in real time but with real faces and voices. Until I realized that I don't people seeing me with wet straggly hair, or tired, or less than publicly presentable. If most people feel that way, the appeal of a video site lessens. And the technology has yet to make such a community building experience truly viable.

I wonder if there is a place I can go that invites community building and conversation without the ever-present need of self-promotion? I desire that place again. Yet every time I think I've found it, it devolves into the same noisy chatter as everyplace else.

I'm almost -almost- longing for the old days where conversation took place in usenet groups and ICQ. Before most of the days of "internet marketing" and "self-branding". I've become disillusioned with this place I love and want desperately to find a crush again. But I suspect each place will eventually become a paradise lost.

I'I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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