by Leslie Harpold
I'll Have What He's Having
The world has folded in an irreversible way. I predict that in three years there will be no more jokes to tell, no more images that shock, nothing new under the sun, and we'll have the internet to thank for that.
There is no longer mystery in slang or jargon. No matter how obscure the profession, there is an online dictionary for that particular slang, particularly if your slang is geek related, rave, drug or rap related. Every funny thing everyone said will have been posted online and then linked to by several weblogs
Anything that one can do in a day will have been chronicled, until there might not even be different combinations left. Then all we're left with is our beauty and our ability to recite song lyrics now that the lyrics server has been shut down. Every article in every zine will have been blown into some full scale feature somewhere mainstream and the people on the fringes will run out of ways to make themselves more fringe.It will no longer be embarrassing to end anecdotes with "and then I thought, Ic an't wait to go home and write about this on my web page!" In fact, it will be the norm.
I've said it before, (and note that I can't even not repeat myself) that this is all too much. As soon as we reach the saturation point, the backlash will be unruly and unpleasant. With search engines like Google actually caching the web pages it indexes, and Deja.com saving every USENET post there will be no forgetting, no undo, no turning back. We will remain the sum of our words for all of time, and lose the right to change our minds. Our children will read our online diaries in twenty years and ask us why we were so upset about them smoking a little pot when we were busy doing things like swearing on the internet.
In the crazy gold rush of new media, we've already learned from portal fever, push fever, ecommerce mania and various other malarial conditions that the minute something works there's both a mad dash to replicate it (in order to cash in and sell out) and an equal push to be the first to pronounce it dead. The sense ofhumor is gone. "Content" has died and been resurrected more times than Aerosmith. Push went low bandwidth and became one way mailing lists. Links pages became web logs. Basically it's the same web it's always been with new nomenclature and rounded corner gifs. Bigger trumps better in the race for domination, and the way that the democracy of the medium is being "preserved" is by letting us share our opinions - excuse me E-pinions on things we purchase.
(And how long until the "most trusted" epionons contributors start getting solicited by product manufacturers? It will happen, mark my words. Some will get righteously indignant, and some will enjoy their free tech goodies. (I'd be happy to shill my epinion for whoever wants to give me a new car.)
You'd think, by the way I was talking that I'm jaded, and truth be told, I'm not. Tainted, maybe but not quite jaded. While I fully support the capitalist model, I'd just like to see a sense of humor come back to the web. There's nothing funny about having venture capitalists staring down your shirt waiting for the millions to stream in though, so until that passes, I guess we're destined for a life of online shoppping portals and pushed content.
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