The Internet is flat

When I read RSS feeds, there’s a way in which everything is the same. It’s a list of things to read through: a war in the Gaza Strip, previews of upcoming video games, ruminations on language, lolcats, government scandal. Think about that list for a second. War in the Gaza Strip has killed over a thousand human beings, with the potential to spread conflict and chaos throughout the region. Lolcats are at worst an annoying trend incapable of actually harming anybody. I especially notice this when sharing links with friends and family–here’s a celebrity death, there’s an amazing Lego project, and over there’s an update on net neutrality. I sometimes worry that the way I treat these pages is leading to my not giving enough times to important things and way too much time to ephemera. I’m not sure what the solution is, or even how big a problem this actually is.


One thought on “The Internet is flat

  1. Remember, lack of context is something we’re already quite used to from evening news broadcasts. As in, “Today, in a distant land, 27 people were violently maimed and at least three heads were stuck on pikes. And now, a new Best Buy has opened up on the riverbank. And now, a fistfight has broken out on the floor of the Senate. And now, American Idol has a new judge.” You see what I mean?

    The great thing about the internet is that you can follow any of those threads as deeply as you wish at a moment’s notice. But given how much stuff is happening at so many different levels of seriousness and stupidity, I think it’s thoroughly appropriate to use the “bird’s eye view” of an RSS feed. After all, there’s always a certain degree of danger in letting someone else decide what you “need” and “don’t really need” to know.

    Use your best judgment and try to keep yourself sane. Or maybe just crazy enough.

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