Viral

September 3, 2010

I’m just going to come right out and say this: I love the internet. Love. It. You don’t have to come clean, too. I already know I’m not alone.

Every day millions, maybe billions (pfft, math…) open up their chosen Internet browser to their chosen home page and begin scouring the world wide web for new information. This multitude checks e-mail, reads news happening in every corner of the globe, and uploads content to be perused and critiqued by others. Human beings are transmitting and receiving information constantly, and almost instantaneously, from the moment we wake up in the morning and log onto iChat, Twitter, or Outlook.

From the time we type the first letter into that search bar, and Google’s A.I. finishes our very thoughts like a familiar lover, we are connected to something much bigger than ourselves. And I find that AWESOME.

Some people are frightened of “Big Brother,” afraid of our technologies surreptitiously and systematically destroying our morality and sense of self, but not I. I welcome Big Brother as my generation’s surrogate father. A silent, omnipotent cultural observer. Both a mirror and projection of contemporary society. A place where we can all have a soapbox, megaphone, and hecklers. Biggest fans and antagonizers. The Internet is a place where popular vote really means something.

I embrace this age of index-card-sized portable phone/ camera/ computers. I clear the future of these technologies for landing; seriously can’t wait.

Why so hyped up on the Interwebs, you ask? Honestly, just think about it. Long and hard. Think about how incredible it is that not only can we communicate with strangers in Russia, but we can hold conversation in real-time– actually SEE one another– while doing any number of other things at the same time, including holding other conversations. We can instantly share with every one of our “Friends” on Facebook how adorable our cats look in silly hats, or our snarky commentary on the latest pop culture trends.

The internet is a place where everyone has a pretty fair shot at fame (although perhaps not always intentional). For something, or seemingly nothing, it doesn’t matter. If you have a good or controversial enough YouTube video, UStream, or website, It doesn’t matter who you are. In fact, you don’t even have to be yourself!

The age-old game of “who you know” has had it’s gates crashed by ambitious “nobodies” armed with e-mail addresses, Twitter handles, and thoroughly Google’d “close sources.” The masses have begun to rebel against social elitism, recognizing our anatomic and genetic equality. The general public has begun policing itself– checking corporate power, political powers, and reality stars’ egos alike, with the threat of rallying a digital mutiny. Brushing shoulders with stardom and celebrity has never been so simple. Amassing a small army against tyrannical bureaucrats doesn’t even require putting on pants. In an era where Facebook officiates relationship status, and families text each other from the next room, it is certainly not out of line to say you “know” someone when they’ve validated your online friendship!

Limitless forums, pages, social networks, and directories all point different arrows to the same destination. A veritable wonderland in the space between fact and fiction. A place where human intrigue gets to take the stage– where pet tricks and hostage situations are equally “recommended viewing.” The internet is a place that demonstrates the best and worst qualities of contemporary civilization, often simultaneously. The internet is our societal Id. Raw, real, uncensored.

The Internet is dynamite, volatile and ominous.

As long as there are matches, there will be fuses. As long as there are fuses, no walls are safe. As long as every wall is threatened, the world can happen. [[StillLifeWithWoodpecker.TomRobbins]]

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