karaite on 7 Dec 2000 21:05:43 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> They came, they surfed, they went back to the beach

> Even more rare is the recognition of the possibility
> that people might make an informed choice not to
> continue to use the internet.

While I agree that the way in which people oscillate
around access to the internet over time is an
important area to look into, I am happy to be
completely mystified by the usefulness of recognising
such a possibility as this 'informed choice not to
continue to use the internet'.

Such a concept is up there with the rarely recognised
possibility that a person might make an informed
choice not to read any more books, not to make any
further use of the French language, the telephone, or
the wok, or not to listen to any more music in the key
of E.

It is a rarely recognised possibility because it is
almost entirely devoid of meaning and as the points of
access become more widespread, becomes still less
meaningful. Quite apart from anything else, how would
an informed ex-internet user ensure that they remained
so informed, lest they accidentally use the internet
again? Does it count if someone else uses the internet
on their behalf? (Has an offline friend never asked
you to look this or that thing up for them, or,
instead, asked you something or other that you could
only answer via Google...) What constitutes 'use' on
this periphery?

And, bluntly, who cares?

There are no more informed ex-internet users than
there are informed ex-book readers or informed
ex-newspaper readers. With any technology that is
centered around information and information flow, you
cease to be informed at the point that you cease to
use it and to keep yourself informed about it. Ceasing
to use the internet because it is 'boring' is
*exactly* like ceasing to read books because they are

It is hard to argue with such a view - obviously, if
all books are boring there is no point in suggesting
that perhaps *this* book is interesting, since the
decision has already been made that all books are
boring, so *this* book too must be boring. Similarly,
anyone who has decided that anything reached via the
internet is boring is not going to be interested in
nettime, slashdot, kuro5hin, the onion, amazon,
whatever, since they already know that these things
are all boring. Must be. After all, how hard is it to
make an informed decision not to use that boring
internet world comprised of nothing but smelly
dysfunctional frustrated young white men?

The headline that springs to mind is along the lines
of 'Dull Unimaginative People In Can't Find
Interesting Material Online Non-Shock' but any
research into this matter is likely to end up in the
JoStBO (Journal of Stating the Bleeding Obvious).

Surely it's far more interesting and worthwhile to
look at ways of getting access for the remaining many
millions of intelligent informed people who are not
yet  online than it is to look at why unintelligent
closed-minded people who find the online world
'boring' so do. Such people presumably also find books
and newspapers intrinsically boring, tabloid or
otherwise, and switch TV channels away from news and
documentaries religiously.

It is possible that there are intelligent literate
people out there who cannot get their heads around the
concept of a genuine candidate for the nearest
real-life thing to Borges' library ever, but there
aren't many and their number diminishes all the time
as the lightbulbs finally click on one by one.

It all reminds me of another (much shorter and equally
imaginary) JoStBO article - 'Heart Of Nothing -
Encounters With The Marginalised Voices Of People With
No Ideas Of Their Own And Nothing To Say'. 



Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Shopping - Thousands of Stores. Millions of Products.

Nettime-bold mailing list