Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Bored of the Internet

After years of surfing the web, sending e-mails, sharing pictures, social and professional networking and watching "original content" movies, it has finally happened: I am bored of the internet. How did it come to this, and is there anything that can be done to rekindle the old spark?

On a recent night of being confined to my home shouldering the arduous task of looking after a 3-month old baby, I found myself (after the cause of my home confinement was put to sleep) surfing the internet and suddenly realised that I was bored of it.

The Facebook status was updated, I had read and answered all e-mails and I had watched movie trailers for more movies than I will realistically be able to see over the course of multiple years.

The usual news pages had nothing spectacular to offer (which could be seen as a good thing) and I was running out of things to do.

To give some background, I have been using the web since its very early days, which is about 15 years ago. With what can from today's point of view only be described as very rudimentary tools, there was a limited amount of content but it seemed like a great tool to communicate through "electronic mail" or even put pictures up on a website during a year abroad to keep the folks at home up-to-date.

These early days were of course followed by boom, bust and the another boom over the course of a decade.

Thinking about it, I could attribute my lack of enthusiasm to one reason, namely the internet having turned into a tool, something utilitarian, not unlike phones, cars, television, radio etc.

Nobody would imagine staying home a night to "spend an exciting evening on the phone", so why would I imagine to be thrilled by the thought of doing exactly that on the web.

Internet is so omni-present nowadays that it has become a means to do everything from acquire information, order pizzas, send picture postcards, invite to parties and so on, that it does not seem to be a technology that wows in its own right.

This does not have to be bad thing but is rather a sign about its wide-spread acceptance and about how people have become accustomed to it.

You would imagine that the first telephone users made calls simply because they could and to use this ground-breaking technology. If you call somebody today to let him know that you are excited to be able to make phone calls, you might figure what kind of response you get.

Then again, cars have been built as a means to enable us to get from A to B. But still, you would not need to have an Aston Martin to achieve this goal but could still do this with a Ford Model T.

So there is hope that the pleasure will find its way back to what is a mere tool currently. And I don't mean pleasure in the way Avenue Q thinks the Internet should be used.