Best Of The Web
“One of my fondest memories of the internet involves me sitting alone in a neighborhood restaurant, watching the snow fall. It was a Friday evening and I was feeling lonely, so I tweeted about it. Then two friends, Tim and Robin, people I hadn’t even met at that point, “kept me company” as I ate alone, chatting with me on Twitter while the snow fell.
Such memories feel almost anachronistic now. Small, quiet, moments of intimacy seem out of step with the massive machine that is the contemporary social web. Yet strangely, it’s the very size of networks like Facebook and Twitter that facilitates the rare intimacies that still emerge. Without the internet, I’d never have friends thousands of miles away, or connect with family scattered across the globe. Sheer scale is also what allows the internet to be such an enormous repository of information: The fact that you can look up almost any topic on Wikipedia or YouTube is a function of just how many people use and collectively contribute to those platforms.
Digital companies, lacking a clear business model, followed the Google ideal and simply scaled up and figured out an ad-based business after the fact that was sustained by how many eyeballs were captured. That size then led to a series of benefits: reach, a more democratic or meritocratic set of ideals, and the ability for people across the globe to connect. Alas, that scale then became the root cause of all the ills of the web. This is an odd paradox. It seems worth asking: Is the internet today simply too big?”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Kurds have been staunch allies in America's struggle against ISIS. Without them, America would have paid a far steeper price in blood and treasure to defeat the brutal outfit. That's why President Trump's move to pull U.S. troops out of..."
"For the first time since President Richard Nixon refused to turn over the White House tapes, the United States is facing a genuine constitutional crisis. To be sure, Donald Trump had already created a crisis in the presidency by abusing the..."
"Every October for the past five years, Fat Bear Week has showcased some of the healthiest, hungriest, and chonkiest bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve, a four-million-acre expanse of wilderness in southern Alaska..."
"I sat on my childhood bed, surrounded by 52-year-old stuffed animals, with a smartphone lodged between my ear and shoulder. My father had died unexpectedly the day before, and I was jotting down notes as my rabbi back in Ohio described various..."
"In August, it was SoulCycle and Equinox. The month prior, Home Depot. Back in 2017, L.L.Bean. These are only a few of the companies to ignite the collective ire of progressive consumers over corporate ties to Trump. In the case of the boutique..."
"Movies like Gemini Man are usually ideal airplane viewing. Take a formulaic plot about spies and cloning, then add dialogue so predictable that getting interrupted by pilots’ announcements and turbulence and your seatmate’s need to get up and..."
"It’s still unclear whether Israel’s next election will be in four years or four months. But either way, if the center-right wants a better outcome, it needs to learn the lessons of September’s election. So here are two: First, while center-right..."
"Smart homes, bountiful oceans and casual sexism: the future as envisaged from 1967 ‘Yes, life will be richer, easier, healthier as space-age dreams come true.’ In 1967, the Ford Motor Company (then known as Philco-Ford) released the short film..."