Friday, July 16, 2010

"The Internet is boring today" - A Brief Look at How This is Even Possible

When I was checking my email last night before tucking myself into bed with John Irving, I noticed a Google Chat status update from a former classmate that read as follows:

The Internet is boring today.

I immediately asked myself: How is this even remotely possible? There is just so much information available on the Internet - however, this is not to say that all of it is credible, interesting, or even entertaining. Most of the stuff one finds on a daily basis holds their interest for a matter of minutes, sometimes even seconds, which certainly does not make time fly if one is bored out of their minds. I don't think that it was necessarily the Internet that she was bored with - quite possibly, she had simply run out of motivation.

I would argue - and maybe I'm starting in with the big guns of optimism a little too soon -that even someone with the most niche and the most obscure of interests can find something interesting, intriguing, or inspiring to read, interact with, create, or watch on the Internet on any given day. But - and here's the catch - one has to actually be in the mood to seek it out. Optimistic, starry-eyed scholars love to elevate the Internet to this amazing source of ultimate information, comparing it to a bridge that will connect all peoples in their quest for knowledge, truth, and cute kitties. But the echo chamber into which most bloggers are contributing (guilty, I'm sure) and through which most readers are hand-picking their content of choice does not lead us to these infinite options as much as we would like to believe. However, if one is smart enough about their pursuits of knowledge and is willing to devote time to seeking out content and information, then the Internet can never be truly boring. This "boring" label should be more appropriately slapped on the user.

Sure, the viral video selection might not be as exciting as it was on Monday, or maybe the details of the Financial Reform Bill just don't pique your fancy, or perhaps Twitter is down and you just don't know what to do with your info-hungry self. But as I'm considering all of these caveats for why one would state that "the Internet is boring," I can't help conjuring up the adage "if you are bored, you are boring." Was my media-obsessed (and I would think she would have to be to pursue a Masters degree in the field) former cohort making the statement that the Internet was boring to her at that moment? That she was bored with the information or news she was finding? Or that she was simply bored with the Internet?

Whether or not the day's local or national or international news is particularly appealing or exciting for one reason or another does not negate the wealth of yet-unread blog posts that one has been meaning to get to; does not immediately discredit the available fiction, non-fiction, opinion, and how-to articles on which one has been meaning to sit down and focus; and certainly does not mean that one has watched, listened to, clicked on, or looked at everything available on a given day. Most of us go to websites, blogs and videos to look for things that interest us - however, I can understand how one can become tired of staring at a screen for hours on end if, say, one's job requires them to do so, and how one can subsequently become bored of looking for things to do on the web. This was probably her way of saying she was "bored," but was looking for someone/thing to blame for her boredom. And of course, who better to blame than an intangible, potentially info-rich source of information? It's like someone walking into a library with the explicit purpose of reading only to fall asleep on their pile of books and then report back to their friends that "the library was boring today." While this is entirely possible, one should blame their lack of sleep or disinterest in the subject matter before blaming the books - but then again, this blog entry is simply the nitpicking of a five-word status update, which could perhaps be used to prove that I, too, have nothing better to do online and that I, too, have also found that "the Internet is boring today."

1 comment:

Geoff said...

"The internet is boring" is no different than "I am bored." It seems that the internet couldn't cure her boredom. In other words, I agree with your analysis.