The Good, The Bad, and The Internet

Okay, before I start, I want to make it clear that I know the irony of where I am posting this piece.  You don't have to point it out.

These days, it seems about two-hundred percent of people use the internet on a daily basis.  They use it for things like watching videos, social media, and shopping.  But the most common and original use of the world wide web is for finding information.  It's the information superhighway.  If you want to learn about something, you can do so online.

This is all acceptable, and greatly appreciated by most members of society, but I cannot help noticing all the damage done by having instant access to virtually anything you would want to know.

Last month, I was sifting through the pages of my old issues of the magazine Nintendo Power, and was overcome with nostalgia, which was overcome by sadness, which was replaced by anger.  A whole lot of anger.  A couple years ago, Nintendo Power, which had been in publication since 1988, was abruptly discontinued, all a subscriptions were cancelled, leaving all of Nintendo's loyal and passionate fans dumbstruck and wondering what happened.  From what I could figure out, the third-party publishing house that printed the magazine wanted to go digital, Nintendo didn't agree with something about the move, and the magazine was killed off.  Bummer.

I just spoutted off a mouthful of trivia, but the main thing to focus on is the part about the magazine going to digital distribution.  The internet has essentially killed all other methods of delivering information.  Well, no, it's not the internet's fault.  It's the people who use it.  People, despite all the attempts made to show themselves as being sophisticated, deep or genuine, only truely care about getting what they want and getting it as fast as possible without the need to consider others.

Let me try to explain what I mean.  Before the internet became as unbelievably important as it is today, people were not as susceptible to the thrill of obtaining whatever they desired as soon as they desired it.  People used to plan for things or anticipate them, stuff like buying a new TV or reading a new book.  Now, thanks to the web, if someone wants something, they can just go to a website and immediately buy it or download it.  This ability to satisfy any whim has ruined people's appreciation of what is available.

The other concern is how fast someone get get want they want.  That TV, the buyer could have it shipped immediately if they are willing to pay for it.  The book, even faster.  The download is instant.  The utter torture of driving to a store is now gone.  To think, people used to have no choice but to wait for the paperboy to deliver their news.  We don't live in the stone ages anymore, folks.  We get what we want and we get it now.

The possibly greatest nut shot to society is the total indifference to other people that comes along with instant gratification.  The sooner you can get something, the less time you have to spend dealing with other people in order to get it. The less time you spend dealing with other people, the less you care about them.  The less you care about them, the less time you have to spend learning about them and what they like.  This is a very large and ongoing chain, but it all ends with people who only care about what pertains directly to them, and are willing to forget about other people's concerns, ideas or interests.  Eventually, it becomes about how you don't need to learn to socialize with people who don't share your concerns, which means not knowing how to socialize at all.

No magazine survives in today's market unless it offers a distinct "feel."  The writers and editors have to ensure that the articles not only present the news, but do so in way that shows character and at times humor.  The only problem is the need to appeal to multiple people with varying personalties.  To accomplish this they need to offer information on multiple topics, but do so in a way that satifies the reader.  But if a reader, thanks to the internet, does not care in the least about another person's interests, they will stop reading.  What's the point of reading over a hundred pages of articles on topics you don't care about when you can ignore everyone else and focus on yourself and your hobbies?  Periodicles are about and for communities, and sharing opinions, and it's hard to wtite for people in a community that don't care about each other.

Getting what you want, getting it fast, and getting it without the need to consider others in your life is the chain reaction that killed Nintendo Power, and it all started with a web search.  First you found a sight that offered gaming news.  Then, you figured out you could get the news instantly and everyday.  And finally, you were so inundated with articles about your specific topics of interest that you no longer cared about sharing ideas with others.  All of this added up and resulted in the death of the magazine.

The internet is great, there is no questioning this.  The only problem is, just like anything else in life, too much of it can be detrimental.  I'm not trying to sound like I blame the internet and everyone for the loss of things I enjoyed.  I'm only trying to point out how self-indulgence can have negative repercussions that affect other people.


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