Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My big web rant, because I am a dork.

I have been as of late, because of work stuff, been thinking about how people use the web, and one thing that struck me is our tentative we are in admitting that the web is destination entertainment -- like TV, or nightlife, or whatever.

The lionshare of time spent on the web is spent wandering, kvetching, staring at spectacle, chasing down leads, doing
detective work. The web people IDENTIFY WITH EMOTIONALLY isn't a practical toolbox, it's a livingroom occupation, an intimate place to dream.

The Web is the only medium we have that has the potential to change us profoundly every time we engage with it. True, good books can have that effect, but when we pick up a book, we are locked into a linear presentation
of data. It's more difficult to wander in most books.

With television, we surf, but more out of frustration. And the experience is necessarily siloed. Obviously, this is all old news, but somehow, we've ignored the basic behaivorial truth that people use the web as entertainment and not primarily in the sense of destination websites, but the actual act of exploration itself.

Like I stated above, it's an intimate act. It's the place we cultivate interests that aren't necessarily ready for prime time. It¹s the one place where each of us can be as geeky and obsessive as we want to be, without having to explain it to the
world. There's the hackneyed meme of the obsessive geek who uses the web to indulge his fascination with cuckoo clocks, or whatever. I think where this idea fails is that web is an internal experience, sometimes one we are barely cognizant of even as we experience it.

Yes, we are all geeks, but we are becoming more non-linear. The Cuckoo Clock guy who is using the web to obsess over cuckoo clocks is missing out on the web's sublimnity. We nibble and try on new interests, as well as indulging
our regular "public" interests.

For example, one person might wear his Yankees fandom as a public personae, but online, that same guy might spend a night geeking out on Dungeons and Dragons and never engage that interest again. But for that one night, that guy is all about Dungeons and Dragons, and in indulging that fleeting interest, he's picked up knowledge, he's changed his outlook, tried on a shallow layer of expertise and perhaps understands something about the world he never would have bothered exploring
because the cost of entry to the subject would have been too high for casual engagement in the real world, such as being seen in a Dungeons and Dragons store, or whatever. He might have even changed his mind about something.

Basically in that hour or four he was online, he has changed as person.

Now, the guy has a point of reference from where he can better judge whether he wants to take up this new interest. If it is something he wants to pursue, he has instant access to the issues and culture surrounding that topic. That¹s why the idea of stickiness is such utter bullshit. It ignore the very thing that makes the web so powerful any piece of data can lead
to any other piece of data.

So, everytime we surf, we create a story.




Anonymous Sasquatch said...

There is also a LOT of great free porn to enjoy!

1:32 PM  
Blogger kimananda said...

'Everytime we surf, we create a story.'

I like that line. I'm stealing it for my thesis proposal, if that's o.k. with you. :-)

1:53 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Kim --

By all means. I'd be honored.

8:10 PM  
Blogger G. said...



5:02 PM  

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