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 Daily Picks
"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."
"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."
"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."
"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."
"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."
"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."
"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."
"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."
"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."
"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."
"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."
"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."