Why the Internet Isn’t Fun Anymore

🔗 a linked post to newyorker.com » — originally shared here on

Posting on social media might be a less casual act these days, as well, because we’ve seen the ramifications of blurring the border between physical and digital lives. Instagram ushered in the age of self-commodification online—it was the platform of the selfie—but TikTok and Twitch have turbocharged it. Selfies are no longer enough; video-based platforms showcase your body, your speech and mannerisms, and the room you’re in, perhaps even in real time. Everyone is forced to perform the role of an influencer. The barrier to entry is higher and the pressure to conform stronger. It’s no surprise, in this environment, that fewer people take the risk of posting and more settle into roles as passive consumers.

The overall message of this New Yorker article is that the internet isn’t fun because big tech platforms have turned the internet from a place you stumble upon quirky and novel content into a machine designed for no other purpose than to capture your attention and keep you hostage for as long as possible.

I feel like that’s so defeatist. Everyone keeps wanting to create “the next Facebook”, but what I’m looking for is “the next single topic, PHPBB-driven message board with ~400 regular posters.”

When I got my UMN email address in May of 2006, the first thing I did was sign up for Facebook. It was so cool to join a place where everybody was.

In the ten years that followed, though, it turned out that being in a place filled with everybody was pretty terrible.

I think in order to make the internet feel like it did in the early 2000s, we need to shrink, not grow. Specialize, not generalize. Be more digital nomads rather than live in untenable metropolises.

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