Before I began writing this entry, I wanted to reach out to a few of my long-time online friends just to shoot the breeze. I wanted to ask them how work was going, how their side projects were coming along, if there was a project that we could collaborate on, etc. This is what the internet used to exist of when programs like ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger were running wild on everyone’s desktops. In 2014, we don’t have that any more. Sure, we have Facebook Messenger and Gmail Chat, but they’re both extensions of different social media websites. They’re not designed for one-on-one interaction between individuals in a private, friendly setting.
Frankly, the internet in 2014 kind of sucks.
While I don’t think that we need to go back to the days of the Prodigy internet message boards or the original America Online, I do think that as we’ve moved further down the path of “Social Media Life” we’ve actually removed much of the interaction that we used to have with our online friends. Even as close as 10 years ago I could log-on to the internet and have my Yahoo Messenger load up as well as my AOL Instant Messenger and immediately engage in any number of one-on-one conversations with both my “real life” friends and my internet friends. And the conversations weren’t useless or the type of silly drivel that you read on these humor websites. No, we were making connections and having real conversations. It was fun!
Today, everything seems to need to be filtered through a Facebook or other social media-like portal and I don’t like it. I want to be able to log-on and talk to the folks who originally made the internet fun for me. I also want to be able to pick these people’s brains in a more readily available manner than sending a message into a seemingly black social media hole. There’s no connection in that method of communication.
Unfortunately, though, I don’t think that we’re ever going to get back to that level of meaningful one-on-one interaction on the internet. I think we’re stuck in a mess that doesn’t allow people to grow real friendships through shared online interactions. And given the friends that I’ve made through these online interactions, I think that’s a real shame for future generations of internet users.