Love, muesli and Nigeria – how the internet changed everything2013-05-07 6
This is the latest guest post from Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins, collectively known as both The Hipstery and “those two guys who should really get real jobs”…
Anthropologists and other such smart people concerned with all that history stuff will tell us that life has developed in clear ages, involving stones and ice and whatnot, all the way back to something called the Big Bang. I don’t really know what that was but I saw a video online with the same name and I have to tell you, it looked like one hell of a party! I never worked out why they held it on a bus though.
You and I both know that, really, there are only two ages of any real historical significance – Before The Internet, and Now. Before The Internet consisted mostly of sad, lonely, stupid people stumbling around walking into walls and wishing they could Google things without knowing of the word. Now is a giant internet-filled riot of global awesomeness. For anyone born in the last fifteen minutes, here’s a reminder what life used to be like and just how vastly better the internet has made all our lives.
Before, adventurers had to wrestle lions or climb mountains blindfolded in order to earn respect and financial sustenance. Now travel bloggers can make a living posting Instagram pictures from weekend breaks to Barcelona, with blog post titles like Wandering Nomad Dreams: Jeremy’s RyanAir Adventure.
I’ll email you about it. What’s your email? If I forget, write me on FB, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Bebo, Couchsurfing, My Blog, DeviantArt, Foursquare, G+ or Soundcloud. Here’s a picture of my face, just in case you see me in a bar. Will you see me in a bar? My favourite bar is Heiße Hütte on Falckensteinstr. You can get a Futschi for only €1. I’ll be there on Tuesday at 9pm. I’ve made a FB invite here, hope you can make it! Feel free to invite your friends.
Although I already invited all your friends. I hope that’s OK. Your Mum said she’s busy but she’s going to try and stop by later. I couldn’t help but notice whilst browsing your timeline that Alex, your ex-boyfriend from 16 January 2002 to 12 June 2004 is a mutual friend of this guy John I met at Bingo in 2007. Small world, man. Crazy! Anyway, I’ll come by and pick you up on my way to the bar. You usually work late on Tuesdays, right? I’ll just swing by the office then.
What I find really interesting about our loss of attention spans is this article about Sam The Cat With Eyebrows. He is a cat, but I get more work done if I close Twitter. I’ll send you the link.
Companies used to do things in exchange for money. Now they are mostly called Sploodge, Plink, Bingbop, Toob-e, Zinadoo, Wooga, Wazzit and Splonk and need to have the potential to possibly in future, with all their traffic, do things in exchange for money. What they’ll do is something something marketing something for mobile something platform gaming something, also available on Android.
Diaries used to be secret things that you hid under your mattress and locked with a little key and every single person in your family secretly read. Then they became blogs, which you stored online and without a key, and absolutely nobody read.
Letters became emails, which were great because you didn’t have to write them with a crappy, inky, pen that leaked on your hands, plus, emails were free and arrived instantly. In fact, you could receive them from almost anybody in the world! It was like having a big party in which you had no control over who could come and you explicitly stated it was BYO but the only thing anyone brought was SPAM.
I’ll marry you because you’re my neighbour, my colleague or the son/daughter of a friend of my Mum, became oh my God so much choice I’ll try that one and that one and that one and can I also take that one? It’s OK, I don’t need a big dating site algorithm-led version of reality TV show Survivor, in which Jenfun32 gets a date or two with Heimat_Hunk1983 but knows as soon as she gains 1kg or accidentally laughs like a horse while drunk, that’s it, she’ll be voted off. Next!
In the oft-cited old days, small children were happy selling lemonade outside their homes for a little extra pocket money. Then the internet came and told them to think a little bigger. Go global. They were entrepreneurs. A special breed that grabs life by its balls and doesn’t apologise when it twists.
Entrepreneurs should hang out with other entrepreneurs. At founder meetups, followed by a CEO dinner, then founders poker, paying with their FoundersCard and meeting people they know from founder social networking sites and groups, or just Linkedin – where they’re profile lists them as Global Beverage Ninjas and Strategic Refreshment Innovators.
No longer did you have to stare like an idiot monkey at unrecognisable strings of nonsense scribbles from around the world. No, with Google Translate, every language is you speaking now happy also rocket.
You used to have six. Now you have 892, know five of them, and still have no one to go to dinner with tonight.
# (The Hash Key)
Formerly, one of the keyboard’s dustier keys, Twitter kindly repurposed it as a smart way of crudely slapping jokes to the end of sentences without a need for context #truthbomb #hashtaglolz #thisarticlereallyputsthehashinhashtag
Holidays used to be adventurous. You found them via your TV on those funny text pages and it said something like “Spain. Four-star. £199. 5 – 19 August”. You booked it via your telephone which was attached to the wall, with a cord. It was terribly quaint. You hoped for the best. You had faith. It was like a sunny, pina colada-filled game of Holiday Russian Roulette.
Now, thanks to the internet, it’s endless evenings sat on the couch next to your partner, scanning Tripadvisor reviews and saying things like “I like that one, what do you think, honey?” “Nah, NomadJohn42 stayed there on Tuesday and only gave it four stars for cleanliness. I think we can do better…”
All answers to all questions are now unanimously decided for everyone by whoever is the last person to edit Wikipedia. Gandhi rode a green elephant called Knucklez? Wow. How fascinating.
Making Money Online
Before their was an “online”, there was no way to make money online, because there was nowhere to put adverts to sell ebooks called “how to make money online”.
Money never really made any sense, but it had been around so long everyone had forgotten – “If I do this thing for you for nine hours you’ll give me some rectangular bits of dead tree and metal circles that I can redeem later for crisps and chocolate? Ha, nice one! How stupid do you think I am? Get out of here you chancer.”
So, the internet did its best to make real money seem like really a very good and sensible investment by creating something vastly more retarded called Bitcoin, an internet economic system defined in three phases:
1.) “What? I’ve never heard of it.”
2.) “No, I don’t understand it either. Yeah, I think I’m probably going to invest in it soon.”
3.) “It’s now worth how much? Fu?!*#K!!!!-…too late.”
The internet made it possible to customise muesli to your exact requirements, simultaneous representing both the highpoint of global capitalism and the perfect example of how the internet likes to fix things that aren’t broken.
The vast riches trapped in the estates of Nigerian royalty could now be easily distributed to anyone who has an email address, a Western Union account and an unshakably strong faith in humanity.
All human knowledge became just a click away. Which is lucky, because if it was two or three clicks away, you’d close the tab (see Attention Spans).
Previously, this consisted of short talks from a parent, nervous teacher, or a crusty, sexless man in a dress. Now, with teens having consumed about 10,000 hours of videos featuring tentacles, cups and assorted, exploitative, naked horror before the age of 15 – “Do you like it when I do that?” or “Shall I put that there?” has become “Why the hell do you think women like it when you do that! No, don’t put that there, you disgusting porn-obsessed pervert. Get out.”
Forgetting that no one ever has any idea what they want, and actually hates choice, the internet took, “We have a choice of four, sir, which would you like?” and turned it into, “We have a choice of 14,000, sir, which would you like? Don’t know? Use our online configurator and make your own in just minutes that’ll quickly turn into hours.
Like us on Facebook. Answer this six-question survey that crashes after the fifth question. Ask your friends for help. Like us on Facebook. Compare from a shortlist. Like us on Facebook. Add to your wishlist. Add to cart. Like your cart on Facebook. Spend €4.20 more and get free shipping. Share this offer with friends on Facebook. You’ve got 0.00 loyalty points to redeem, how many points would you like to redeem? Share this offer with friends on Facebook. Like us on Facebook. Your credit card has expired. Share this information on Facebook. Thanks for your order. Error code: 21A345dfh System non-flimage error root sys. Please try again. PS, Like us on Facebook.
Thanks to Airbnb, dark corner-storing neglected old gym equipment, rashly purchased bowling bowl and an old futon was transformed into “cosy, door-accessible urban space with stunning window-sized views of outside and beyond, €49/night”.
Previously, not only did stalkers have to own trenchcoats, disguises, newspapers with eye holes and travel binoculars, they also had to leave their house. It was a terribly inefficient hobby undertaken by only the unhinged of mind. Now it’s undertaken by every single person with a Facebook account and the unhinged of mind, two groups increasingly overlapping.
You used to have to show up on your sofa at a specific time of day to bother your brain cells with whatever other people had scheduled for them. Now, the wacky days of “channel-hopping” to find something good are over, and you can just watch endless YouTube videos of dogs in jumpers doing hilarious things which is what you really wanted anyway, right?
The internet has kindly reduced wisdom down from hard lessons you learnt by experience to inspirational quotes you click “Share” to on Facebook, quotes like “Never worry about the future, because the past is a present you gave yourself to remind you the future is yours to give to others” – only written really nicely in sand or in a blue sky, by a plane – and which totally makes you stop and ponder at the holistic awesomeness of the entire cosmos, for about two seconds…share!
What other life affirming innovations have we missed? Add your own to the comments.
featured image – © lassedesignen – Fotolia.com
treasure map – flickr user Loren Javier
anonymity – flickr user Anonymous9000
letters – flickr user Julie Edgely
startup meetup – flickr user Tim Dorr
Tripadvisor sign – flickr user amsfrank
Bitcoin – flickr user zcopley
mouse – flickr user Dave Dugdale
Facebook Like – flickr user Denis Dervisevic
dog in jumper – flickr user tanakawho
Sam Has Eyebrows Instagram
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All images in this article are subject to the Creative-Commons-Lizenz (credit - no editing, CC BY-ND , link to the legally-binding license agreement). Excluded are pictures that are labelled differently, including from Panthermedia, Fotolia, Pixelio, Morguefile, along with press photos or publishers' own visual material.