Intentionality and the decay of the Internet. Why do you log on?

Outer Heaven

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The Internet, like most things nowadays, is decaying. I think a big part of the reason why is that very few people use the Internet intentionally anymore. When the Internet was invented, it was tedious to access. Computers and Internet access were expensive. You had to sit at a computer that took a while to start up. Your phone line would go down and you had to wait for your dial up to connect. Basically it was a hassle to get the process started before you could even do anything. Because of this process, you had to go out of your way to be online. You had to have a reason to go through this process. In other words, it was intentional and there was a clear separation between being online and not being online that you had to willingly cross.

Compare this to how we use the Internet nowadays. We're never offline because we have phones that are permanently connected to the Internet. You cant do any work or file taxes or find directions without being online. If you're extra retarded, even your TV and fridge connect to the Internet . You no longer have the willing choice to separate from the Internet unless you live like the Amish. The main result of this is complacency. Because the mode people interact with the Internet is now passive instead of active, the quality of activity online inevitably goes down. People simply don't give thought to the media they interact with or the things they post online because they feel like an extension of day to day activities instead of things that you have to go out of your way to do. Its the difference between listening to music passively and going to a concert.

This is obviously a problem that extends further than the Internet, its just that its more obvious to see with how people interact with technology now compared to before because of how fast the change was. People don't do anything actively anymore. Its like they're zombies moving from one moment to another without thought. The solution is to live actively. Why do you use the Internet? Why do you do what you do? Is it just habit or something you really want to engage in? The more you separate your actions and clearly understand why you do them, life gains color. Things don't blend into each other anymore and you wont feel like an animal acting off instinct. Maybe if people applied this principle, the Internet and the world as a whole wouldn't be so awful.
 
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Is that WE LIVE IN SOCIETY thread? First of all I have to strongly disagree with "You no longer have the willing choice to separate from the Internet unless you live like the Amish". Bruh, just turn off phone, go to forest or read a book. Its not that hard. Literally touch grass. Also whole post is totally one sided, analysing how our life is going online, but without pointing out good sides of online going on our life. Like fact that when You already going to touch grass or make some more badass thing like survival, You can prepare to it online. Find people willing to do it with You, read tutorials etc etc. but when You are already going offline you are really offline. All connection here is that You have prepared it with help of internet. There is that lot of points like that
 

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Is that WE LIVE IN SOCIETY thread? First of all I have to strongly disagree with "You no longer have the willing choice to separate from the Internet unless you live like the Amish". Bruh, just turn off phone, go to forest or read a book. Its not that hard. Literally touch grass. Also whole post is totally one sided, analysing how our life is going online, but without pointing out good sides of online going on our life. Like fact that when You already going to touch grass or make some more badass thing like survival, You can prepare to it online. Find people willing to do it with You, read tutorials etc etc. but when You are already going offline you are really offline. All connection here is that You have prepared it with help of internet. There is that lot of points like that
his main point is that the ease of getting online is the reason why the internet is bad. It's not a "it's impossible to touch grass" post. And he has a point even in that regard. Whereas it used to be you had to make an intentional effort to go online, now you have to make an intentional effort to go offline.
 
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his main point is that the ease of getting online is the reason why the internet is bad. It's not a "it's impossible to touch grass" post. And he has a point even in that regard. Whereas it used to be you had to make an intentional effort to go online, now you have to make an intentional effort to go offline.
Thats surly true, but quote with Amish triggered me a bit. Being offline even for day or two still isn't any hard. It is just one thing I will defend, with internet becoming cringe OP surly has a point, and I would also add here capitalism and advertising with its influence around web made a thing too in that transformation
 

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Being offline even for day or two still isn't any hard
For short periods it isn't but you cant work or communicate with people without the Internet anymore so you'll be forced to use it at some point. But that wasn't the main point. Even if you don't use the Internet daily, if you use it mindlessly the quality of how you use it will go down and on a wider scale bring down the quality of the whole Internet. Just like how you wont retain 100% of a show youre watching while on your phone, being passive with the things you do makes you do them worse. The problem is that we use the Internet so much that you just pick up your phone and scroll or watch YouTube videos without thinking. The ease and frequency of use makes you not think of why youre using the Internet. It has no real function anymore outside of killing time or being a bad habit. The Internet itself isn't the issue, its our relationship with it.
 
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For short periods it isn't but you cant work or communicate with people without the Internet anymore so you'll be forced to use it at some point. But that wasn't the main point. Even if you don't use the Internet daily, if you use it mindlessly the quality of how you use it will go down and on a wider scale bring down the quality of the whole Internet. Just like how you wont retain 100% of a show youre watching while on your phone, being passive with the things you do makes you do them worse. The problem is that we use the Internet so much that you just pick up your phone and scroll or watch YouTube videos without thinking. The ease and frequency of use makes you not think of why youre using the Internet. It has no real function anymore outside of killing time or being a bad habit. The Internet itself isn't the issue, its our relationship with it.

yeah, your main point is 100% true, nothing wrong here. I just think that difficulty of being offline is a bit overrated in post, especially that in everyday life and relations this is 100% normal to be offline (ofc making a call is not being online, ok?) 
 

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My biggest thing with all of this is that even if you're not actively engaging in "the internet," the systems that we depend on to survive rely on the internet. If the communications network that we casually call "the internet" were to disappear, then we would have catastrophic collapse. Just 20 years ago this was not the case. Yes, there are a lot of ways that this has improved living conditions (like the fact that you aren't required to make a phone call to buy tickets to disneyworld or something) but the fact that general society relies so much on internet for basic function now is alarming, to put it mildly. We wouldn't have food to feed ourselves if not for some amount of internet function. It's like everyone agreed that pouring all of their money into a crypto scheme was the only way to run the economy and if you don't participate, then you will have no income. Seriously, try operating on a dumb phone for a few years, it will really show you how much we have become reliant on instant internet access anywhere we want. I'll be the first to admit, this sounds so incredibly schizo, but I can't help but think that the whole world agreeing to base their entire societies off of a very new technology with proven downsides in certain areas is an incredibly stupid idea.
 
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My biggest thing with all of this is that even if you're not actively engaging in "the internet," the systems that we depend on to survive rely on the internet. If the communications network that we casually call "the internet" were to disappear, then we would have catastrophic collapse. Just 20 years ago this was not the case. Yes, there are a lot of ways that this has improved living conditions (like the fact that you aren't required to make a phone call to buy tickets to disneyworld or something) but the fact that general society relies so much on internet for basic function now is alarming, to put it mildly. We wouldn't have food to feed ourselves if not for some amount of internet function. It's like everyone agreed that pouring all of their money into a crypto scheme was the only way to run the economy and if you don't participate, then you will have no income. Seriously, try operating on a dumb phone for a few years, it will really show you how much we have become reliant on instant internet access anywhere we want. I'll be the first to admit, this sounds so incredibly schizo, but I can't help but think that the whole world agreeing to base their entire societies off of a very new technology with proven downsides in certain areas is an incredibly stupid idea.
Idk is that sounds schizo, the fact is that too lot of things depends of Internet, wich can be a little unstable, agreed
 

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That's a good thinking exercise. I think I am almost completely intentional with my internet use, as I use it for school, research, agora, and sometimes youtube.
I just think that difficulty of being offline is a bit overrated in post
I am curious your definition of offline. You can rid yourself of excess internet usage, but if you live near other people then they will all use phones that have advanced cameras and microphones, they will take pictures around you, they will record videos around you, does that count as being offline then? Even when I go for walks out on trails near my school people will walk by me with their phones in their hands or their apple watches on, not to mention the countless security and ring cameras that I walk past to get to and from the trails and my house. Maybe this is a bit off topic, I know the thread is about your willing internet usage, but I think its also worth considering our unintentional internet usage as well.
 
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I would definitely argue that many of the problems with the internet today are due to the fact that we all have it in our pockets. Everyone is always online, even when they're not technically online (your phone will get your attention soon enough and bring you back online). Using the internet is fine but we need to spend some time offline too. Now you can be online while doing stuff in the real world so you never truly escape.

And EVERYONE is online. Some people simply didn't get online so much before the age of smartphones.

And because everyone is online, companies are competing for our attention and trying to make their apps addictive in order to keep our attention for longer so they can sell ads.

The internet itself is not a problem, but we need to work on these 3 issues. Some of these things are things we all have to address personally, like being chronically online, while other issues are much bigger than us, like our attention being a commodity that is sold.
 
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Outer Heaven

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I was off the net and pretty much all tech for like 2 and a half months and all I've learned is that the reason people want to use the internet is because its the easiest and most readily available way to entertain yourself and theres not much else to it lol
Much of life has come to this. A lot of people have given up on real meaning and connection. Instead everything they do is to numb themselves and pass time. Its very shallow. I'm not saying every free second has to be productive but if all your time is just entertainment you might as well just neck yourself tbh
 
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Much of life has come to this. A lot of people have given up on real meaning and connection. Instead everything they do is to numb themselves and pass time. Its very shallow. I'm not saying every free second has to be productive but if all your time is just entertainment you might as well just neck yourself tbh
I can't blame em' too much since theres hardly anything worth committing to these days even if you're successful
 
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jonathan_fluoride

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i had a very sad realization a while ago after putting in some real effort to stop my screen addiction. i remember some years ago when every parent aunt uncle grandparent etc etc's favorite thing to say was "looooool all these kids always on they damn phone/video game/tablet!!!" now i've made it a point to like not hop on my phone or anything at all whenever i'm at some sort of get-together or function, and i've noticed that these people are now the ones always glued to a screen. it's just kind of odd now being in the role of someone thinking to themselves, "wow. these motherfuckers are always on they phone..."
 
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You had to have a reason to go through this process. In other words, it was intentional and there was a clear separation between being online and not being online that you had to willingly cross.
I go on the internet today for the same reason I did in 1999: to see if anyone replied to my messages. Failing that, I go slurp up updates from >redditcostanzayeahrightsmirk to quench my thirst for new new new.
 
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The Internet, like most things nowadays, is decaying. I think a big part of the reason why is that very few people use the Internet intentionally anymore. When the Internet was invented, it was tedious to access. Computers and Internet access were expensive. You had to sit at a computer that took a while to start up. Your phone line would go down and you had to wait for your dial up to connect. Basically it was a hassle to get the process started before you could even do anything. Because of this process, you had to go out of your way to be online. You had to have a reason to go through this process. In other words, it was intentional and there was a clear separation between being online and not being online that you had to willingly cross.

Compare this to how we use the Internet nowadays. We're never offline because we have phones that are permanently connected to the Internet. You cant do any work or file taxes or find directions without being online. If you're extra retarded, even your TV and fridge connect to the Internet . You no longer have the willing choice to separate from the Internet unless you live like the Amish. The main result of this is complacency. Because the mode people interact with the Internet is now passive instead of active, the quality of activity online inevitably goes down. People simply don't give thought to the media they interact with or the things they post online because they feel like an extension of day to day activities instead of things that you have to go out of your way to do. Its the difference between listening to music passively and going to a concert.

This is obviously a problem that extends further than the Internet, its just that its more obvious to see with how people interact with technology now compared to before because of how fast the change was. People don't do anything actively anymore. Its like they're zombies moving from one moment to another without thought. The solution is to live actively. Why do you use the Internet? Why do you do what you do? Is it just habit or something you really want to engage in? The more you separate your actions and clearly understand why you do them, life gains color. Things don't blend into each other anymore and you wont feel like an animal acting off instinct. Maybe if people applied this principle, the Internet and the world as a whole wouldn't be so awful.
Great points. Many people (myself included sometimes) have replaced reflection with consumption. The daily act of showering is so mundane and tedious, but it forces us to confront our thoughts in the moment. Listening to music or a podcast/video might add some joy to the routine, but it's at the expense of pure thinking time. Long-term, this behavior slowly undermines our capacity to dedicate time and focus to simply reflecting on our past and future actions, worries, goals, beliefs, etc. Daily reflection is an incremental yet powerful method of self-development, and we're losing it in the shift toward passive entertainment.
 

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I went from 2009-2019 give or take without internet in my house and without a smart phone. It was fine. I went to the library or a coffee shop a couple times a week, downloaded a shitload of movies/music, checked to see if there was a club night or party to go to, checked my email...then left. It was better that way. I'm married now and have internet in my house and frankly I'm not that big of a fan - but I still more or less have the same habits. Turn on, do the thing, get out. The internet is basically just a thing I use to keep up with music and download romhacks of 90's games at this point and I'm ok with that. Leave your phone at home, let that shit die for a couple hours, enjoy some silence and god forbid...boredom...from time to time and all is well imo
 
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This is probably off topic but I think the decay of the internet in large part is because it's now going to be a loop of what's come before. New generations are going to be born and most will become a part of the internet, thus companies and creators are going to appeal to them the most since kids are incredibly manipulatable. Garten of Banban replaces FNaF, skibidi replaces those quirky gmod animation clips, and theres like 5 online multiplater shooters every year that replace the trending ones the year prior. The point I'm making is that the internet is likely never going to innovate simply because of the lifespan of humans and our inability to stay on it forever, forever trapped in a loop where content and concepts will be re-packed perpetually.

We will just eat the same slop with slightly different variations from now on, all the good stuff is hidden away in some cracks behind all the algorithms, made by some 40 year old russian dude in the middle of sibera working on a passion project on a forum that only has 2 users a year.
 
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Mostly to check if people have sent me emails, hulu, listen to weird russian rock, and do some sort of study while I pretend to move my life forward. Also, look at various NSFW things.....

Its not very intentional and I often find myself wondering where the time went. Simply put: was enjoyed.
 
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