The Internet Isn’t Dead

It's just resting.

photo of iphone, smartphone, mobile, hand, screen, apple, creative, girl, technology, web, internet, touch, phone, communication, blue, business, black, arm, cell phone, device, blank, iphone 6, design, hands, display, style, touchscreen, interface, smart, template, interaction, mockup, mock up, human action, endurance sports
CC0 Public Domain image from PxHere

WIRED senior writer Kate Knibbs argues, “The Internet Isn’t Dead. It’s Saturday Night Live.”

The internet sucks now. Once a playground fueled by experimentation and freedom and connection, it’s a flimsy husk of what it was, all merriment and serendipity leached from our screens by vile capitalist forces. Everything is too commercialized. We commodified the self, then we commodified robots to impersonate the self, and now they’re taking our damn jobs. We live in diminished and degrading times. I miss when memes were funny. I miss Vine. I miss Gawker. I miss old Twitter. Blogs—those were the days!

Stop me if these gripes sound familiar. In 2023, the idea that the internet isn’t fun anymore is conventional wisdom. This year, after Elon Musk renamed Twitter “X” and instituted a series of berserk changes that made it substantially less functional, complaints about the demise of the good internet popped up like mushrooms sprouting in dirt tossed over a fresh grave. Some people even complained on the very platforms they were mourning. Type “internet sucks now” into X’s search bar, you’ll see.

The New Yorker published an essay by writer Kyle Chayka on the subject, calling the decline of X a “bellwether for a new era of the Internet that simply feels less fun than it used to be.” People loved it. (Sample comments from X: “Relatable.” “Exactly right.”) Chayka claims that it’s now harder to find new memes, websites, and browser games than it was a decade ago. He also argues that the rising crop of platforms popular with young people—Twitch, TikTok—are inferior, enjoyment-wise, to the social web of the 2010s.

Both of these arguments are baffling. Memes fresher in the past? Yes, it’s tiresome to see Tim Robinson in a hot dog costume for the 500th time, but c’mon. In the early 2010s—the years Chayka longs for—the internet was all doge and doggos. It was the era of reaction GIF Tumblrs, the Harlem Shake, the Ice Bucket Challenge. Give me literally any still from I Think You Should Leave over “You Had One Job” epic fail image macros. Only glasses of the rosiest tint could recast the 2013 internet as a shitposting paradise lost.

The argument that the 2010s social web was superior amusement to the platforms now popular with Gen Z is even stranger. TikTok has major issues, but being unfun is not one of them. It’s been a springboard for some genuinely talented people, from comic Brian Jordan Alvarez to writer Rayne Fisher-Quann to chef Tabitha Brown. Binging Twitch streams certainly isn’t my thing, but people aren’t being held at gunpoint and forced to watch seven straight hours of Pokimane. They like it! They’re having fun! And how can one say with a straight face that gaming got worse? Roblox alone is a gleeful world unto itself; to pretend it doesn’t exist and isn’t a vibrant digital hangout is goofy and obtuse.

Corrosion of specific platforms on the internet—X, to pluck the most obvious example—is an observable phenomenon. (I, too, mourn old Twitter.) Musk’s changes to how X operates have made it harder to surface and verify information; his antics have driven away both advertisers and power users and allowed the cryptogrifter class to spam inboxes with invitations to NFT drops and meme coins, resulting in a digital space that feels abandoned and crowded at once. Other platforms, though, are flourishing.

She’s right, of course.

Part of the issue is the degree to which social platforms, especially, have been siloed. I was a pretty heavy user of earlier waves of social media, from blogging to Facebook to Twitter. But I’ve never used Vine, have only a passing familiarity with TikTok, and am only vaguely aware Discord even exists.

Platforms disintegrate routinely. I was never much into MySpace, which was aimed at a younger cohort than me even way back then, but it was the dominant social network until it wasn’t. Those of us of a certain age still mourn the demise of Google Reader. And, yes, I’ve written more than one post lamenting the days when blogging was much more communitarian–probably starting fifteen years ago.

Things change. All the time. Especially on the Internet, which is by definition a work of technology.

Twitter, in particular, gets outsized attention because it’s where the creative class, including the people who write magazine and newspaper articles, congregate. It was already going through enshittification, although mostly just from an inability to scale, before Musk bought it and seemingly torched it just for lulz.

And it’s really, really hard to re-create that sort of community elsewhere. Twitter has been around for almost 18 years now. I’ve been on it almost 17. Bluesky Social, the wannabe replacement that I’ve adopted, doesn’t have anything like Twitter’s critical mass and may never achieve it. Partly, that’s because people who’ve abandoned Twitter have scattered to numerous platforms, not just one. And, partly, it’s because a lot of people—myself included—just aren’t going to expend the time and energy to build a new platform that can just go away at any time.

Regardless, Knibbs’ point is that it was always thus:

The impulse to describe the internet as being in a dire existential crisis is an understandable one, especially if you love going online—it’s easier to get people to pay attention to emergencies, isn’t it? All sorts of decidedly not-dead things get declared dead periodically, from literary criticism to monogamy to Berlin. “My favorite platforms are faltering and I don’t like the new ones” isn’t as compelling a pitch as “The basic experience of goofing off online is on the brink of extinction!!!”

But the basic experience of goofing off and being creative online is not on the brink of extinction. Ten years from now, there will be writers—even if they’re AI chumbots churning out shitty prose on SubstaXitch, the demonic merged iteration of Twitch, Substack, and X our poor children will use—earnestly reminiscing about the good old days of 2023, when that affable menswear guy showed up on everybody’s feeds, and TikTok wasn’t banned in the US. I know this. I know it because during the era that Chayka is now nostalgic for, people were also complaining that they missed the old, good internet. (Real headline from 2015: “The Modern Internet Sucks. Bring Back Geocities.”)

Which leads us to the analogy teased in her headline:

This brings me to my theory about the internet. To understand how people feel about being online, look at how they feel about the long-running sketch comedy television show Saturday Night Live.

Bitching about how SNL is so much worse than it used to be is a time-honored tradition. It has been declared “Saturday Night Dead” regularly since it debuted in 1975, nearly 50 years ago. In 1995, for instance, a New York magazine writer bemoaned the “slow, woozy fall of a treasured pop-culture institution.” The cast at the time included Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Norm Macdonald, and Molly Shannon, all widely considered comedy legends in the present day. In 2017, in fact, New York ranked that cast’s run as the third-best era of SNL, ever, describing it like this: “At its peak, it’s hard to argue the show was ever better.” Quite the reassessment!

It’s indeed true that people have been lamenting SNL’s decline for pretty much as long as I can remember. Knibbs’ argument is that it’s generational:

In 2014, writer Liz Shannon Miller examined the impulse people have to favor whatever era of Saturday Night Live they grew up with and watched during their formative years. “It’s a generational problem that leads to parents and kids just not being able to agree on the talents of John Belushi versus Will Ferrell,” Miller wrote for IndieWire.

A similar sort of generational problem is playing out right now about what it’s like to spend time online. Millennials grew up logging on in the 2000s and 2010s, maturing alongside Facebook. The internet from this era is the internet of our salad days. Of course watching it get eclipsed by a different iteration hurts. Of course some of us look at TikTok and wish it was Twitter—it’s the same impulse that propels family squabbles about whether the Lonely Island guys were funnier than the Please Don’t Destroy boys. Saturday Night Live has always been wildly uneven. Every era now heralded as golden was once pilloried as corny dreck.

To insist that the fun is over is to adopt an overly nostalgic stance, and one that rests on a pathetic fallacy: Just because you aren’t having fun on the internet doesn’t mean the internet itself is broken. It’s what it always has been, a flawed mirror of the cultural moment. It’s fine not to like it. But don’t pretend there aren’t young people alive right now who are having the most fun they’ll ever have online, just as there are young people alive right now who will be raving to their kids about how hilarious Bowen Yang was on SNL—especially compared to the synthetic clones of Gilda Radner and Jimmy Fallon the AI programmed to imitate Lorne Michaels cast in the 2061 season. We don’t need to make the present sound worse than it is. The future will come, soon enough.

I was too young for the inaugural seasons of the show but started watching with some regularity circa 1979, when I was 13 or 14. And, indeed, that cast (Jane Curtin, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, Harry Shearer, Al Frankin, Don Novello, etc.) was pretty good. But I was still pretty young during the years when it was pretty much Eddie Murphy carrying the show.

SNL has indeed had some fallow periods but has generally rebounded to brilliance. A confluence of events—moving to the Eastern Time Zone, having kids, getting older, and the ability to simply watch clips on the Internet the next day—has made my days of regularly watching the show a thing of the increasingly distant past.

The main ways that aging has made the show less interesting for me are the musical guests and some of the other pop culture references. Then again, even in my relative youth, I pretty much watched the show for the opening monologue, Weekend Update, and political sketches. There was never a time when every sketch in a given episode regularly appealed to me.

Still, the analogy works pretty well. It’s not shocking that my peak enjoyment of blogging and other forms of social media came when I was younger. Not only were the experiences much more novel then but I had fewer demands competing for my time.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture, Science & Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    The fun is still on the internet, it’s just that the weirdos who make the fun realized that being in a corporate panopticon ultimately ruins the fun, so they’ve been moving to smaller, hidden places where they’re in control again.

    Unfortunately for some, that means you need to be invited in.

  2. Kathy says:

    The headline had me flashing back to when the bubble burst. A lot of people I knew back then, assumed that was the end of the internet.

    As to SNL, some of the sketches were good, a few were memorable. anyone recalls the multi-ep “shooting of Buckwheat” saga*? And there was one with host Edwin Newman and Brad Hall doing a parody of My Fair Lady.

    I recall a bit of it:

    Newman: Who’s the leader of Iran?
    Hall: The Iaccoca!
    Newman: The Ayatollah.
    Hall: Right. Ghadaffi!
    Newman: Khomeini. Now, repeat after me “Iranians pains come mainly from Khomeini.”

    *I still find it odd they made a parody of both Reagan’s shooting and Kennedy’s assassination.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    Has Knibbs truly identified the death of the internet? Or perhaps merely cranked out another click-bait article in the vein of “Why Popular Thing X is the Worst Thing Ever”. As every aspirant to virality knows, sarcasm and condemnation is a much quicker route than positivity.

    I started reading the New York Times when I was 18 and very quickly stopped reading any of the critics, on any subject. They all desperately wanted to be sophisticated and the cheapest way to sound sophisticated is to hate everything popular, and only occasionally like something obscure. Once every few years they might risk admitting to liking something popular, but it must be presented as “Hey, isn’t this a hoot that I actually like this thing!!?” Years later I read a TC Boyle story, “Sorry, Fugu”, that captured this perfectly. It was about the incredible lengths a chef in a small NYC restaurant went in order to get the Big City Paper food critic to actually taste the food, rather than merely munch on it while thinking of scathing ways it could be described.

    I’ve only read what James has excerpted here but it truly seems what is transpiring is a pundit growing older and finding that spending hours searching for goofy and arch stuff on the internet doesn’t give her the satisfaction it once did. She may even realize this, but also knows there is no clickable article in writing, “Now I Am Older And This Is How That Is Working Out”.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    Since we are talking about SNL, I’ve always been astounded that they snuck this one past the censors, which ends with the speaker asking Ronald Reagan to “Give me a hum job”. Ranks what up there with Lou Reed’s “Walk On the Wild Side” for using an obscene term that hadn’t quite made it into general usage yet.

  5. Chip Daniels says:

    I was born in 1960 and it is weird to hear people young enough to be my children doing the “these kidz today” routine that my parents’ generation used on us.

    Like those memes you see where people list a bunch of markers from their childhood (“We drank from a hose! We played on dangerous swingsets!”) and declare how they were braver, less spoiled and more robust than todays coddled weaklings.

    I’d like to show images of my adolescence in the 1970s – We smoked weed! We had casual unprotected sex! We drove drunk! Click Like & Share if you think your kids should be more like this!

  6. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan: I read her just directly opposite the way you do: She’s pushing back on the recurring “Internet sucks now” complaints.

  7. Rick DeMent says:

    I have to say one of the appeals of this site, aside from the improbably congenial hosts and commenters (most of the time) is that “old school internet feel”. No ads that interrupt every other line of content, and bots for commenters. The work that hosts put in to make it that way is the kind of thing that makes it a daily read for me. So bravo!

    However, there was a book I read recently called “Major Labels” which is a meta-analysis of music criticism from the early ’60s to the ’90s for different genres. In the chapter on Rock music, there was an observation from the critics who covered the birth of rock in the mid-’50s through the British invasion to Woodstock, that the new rock acts in the ’70s had lost their “edge” and became “corporatized” and “what is it the kids see in this drek?”.

    So the phenomenon that the OP highlights here is not new, and a decade from now there will be commentary laminating how Tic-Tok isn’t what it used to be (or maybe next year … grin).

    Everything new becomes old and everything old becomes new… 🙂

  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Too lazy to look it up, but I read and interview with Jane Curtin a while ago where she said that she watched old SNL episodes she was in with her family and was embarrassed to discover that not a single thing they did back in the day was funny to her now.

    It’s just the way of the world.

  9. Michael Cain says:

    When I moved to New Jersey in 1978 to work at Bell Labs, I found that some of the sketches I didn’t get previously required being familiar with local New York City media stories and advertising.

  10. Joe says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    there will be commentary laminating

    This is (I assume) an autocorrect error that seems strangely at least as correct as (I assume) the intended word.

  11. JKB says:

    Aging is such sweet sorrow. The real surprise is that Facebook is holding on as the social media of old people. Sooner or later, in internet time seemingly instantly, an alternative will arise for the “kids” who want a more unrestrained platform. Well, until restraints are imposed to keep the investor/advertisers and finally show a profit. Then the teenagers will be off to the next big thing while the now 20-somethings will lament “it’s no fun anymore”. Hey, when I was in high school, we’d go out and drink beer while driving round and round in heavy traffic. The social media of the late 1970s.

    There’s this meme that tech culture is solving one problem: “What is my mother no longer doing for me?” Or, as George Packer put it in 2013, “It suddenly occurred to me that the hottest tech start-ups are solving all the problems of being twenty years old, with cash on hand, because that’s who thinks them up.” –Russ Roberts, Econtalk

  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    The logarithms have sucked the life out of the internet. What made the internet fun, were the random discoveries that would be shared with friends (until they blocked you for your taste). That serendipity is gone from today’s internet unless you actively reject the logarithms suggestions and randomly search on your own.

  13. steve says:

    Agree that it’s generational. Have to keep the kids off of my internet lawn.

    SNL has always been inconsistent, especially the sketches. Watching it live is kind of low yield. Better to wait and see what is good after the show. Stuff like Tom Hanks on Black Jeopardy is just as funny even if you watch it weeks later. The current iteration of Weeknight with He and Jost is pretty good.


  14. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: My bad. In my haste I mixed up authors. I was trying to reference the New Yorker article by Chaka that set her off.

  15. Rick DeMent says:

    @Joe: I live and die .. mostly die by auto-correct 🙂

  16. MarkedMan says:

    Years ago I realized that there are methods of interacting that you learn based on your surroundings when you are young, and that once you are older and your circumstances and the technology available to you change, you mostly just try to figure out how to replicate those interactions. Sometimes a new technology simply isn’t as useful as the old one for the way you’ve interacted in the past and we tend to initially judge it harshly, only to eventually shift our interactions until we see it in a new light. Here’s the thing: people who grow up in a certain way and with certain technologies at hand are really the ones that have to figure out the usage. It’s silly to do an “Oh, these kids today” routine because they are the ones who are going to show you what your tomorrow will be like.

    The first example I remember is the answering machine. I am old enough that when I was growing up and then into the very beginning of my working life, if you made a call and no one was there to pick it up, you had to keep trying until eventually you called at the right time. If someone was already using the phone, you got a busy signal. The alternative in all but a few workplaces was to send a letter by USPS. But in my early 20’s answering machines became cheap and available and you could leave a message if the person wasn’t there. People my age “got them” right away and embraced them, but older coworkers, say ancient 40 year olds, would actually get angry about having to talk to a machine. I think almost everyone eventually came to see it as a plus, but that initial reaction got me thinking about how we could get dialed in to the “correct” way to interact.

    Years later when mobile phones became widely used and texting was introduced, albeit with an awkward to use numeric keypad, I realized I was the “old” in that I found it much easier and more convenient to just call someone than to struggle with that miserable keypad and go back and forth, back and forth, when one 15 second conversation could have got me there all at once. But those significantly younger than me seemed to prefer it. And of course, since I first got a Blackberry with a full alpha keyboard I came to prefer it myself.

  17. ptfe says:

    @steve: Adding to this, our memory of all the bad/filler content isn’t as good as our memory of That One Great Sketch. Like, people will quote a 6-minute SNL sketch from 1978, but around it you’ve got 40-odd minutes of confused looks, raised eyebrows, period-accepted misogyny, and occasional chuckles.

    Likewise the internet: for every “early Twitter, before the Nazis found it!”, there’s “actually, Twitter was always home to Nazis, the algorithm just didn’t serve them to me as aggressively” – and boy oh boy was that a shitshow. Similarly, you remember early Facebook as the place where you were able to tell your 40 closest friends about your beach vacay without having to email all of them, not as the place where some kid you knew in h.s. regularly posted vaguely threatening racist rants.

    I do miss the early internet and reminisce about bulletin boards, but then I remember that there was a weird guy in high school and this 30-something guy in the neighboring town who used to write raunchy racist and sexist stories to post on the BBS just for shits and giggles. Which, looking back, nobody was moderating that, which gave it the patina of being “ok for the online space”. And we all know where that’s led us.

    (I’m noticing a theme where racism and sexism are both default background noise and also really ruin things.)

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    My internet time goes to YouTube, NYT, WaPo, WSJ, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, RCP, Axios, and OTB. Also Amazon Prime Video. I’ve cut my Twitter time by 99% since Musk’s Nazi invasion. I deleted Facebook a couple years ago. I have no interest in Instagram. So, yeah, for me the internet peaked years ago. The various algorithms that are supposed to keep me entertained are utterly useless, indeed frustratingly obstructive.

  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    I have Discord, I use it to post things I want my family to see, since none of us use Facebook. I also do a bit of organization of my gaming life, which is a highly social, by the way.

    And of course, there’s my blogs, like this one.

    The biggest loss I feel is the collapse of multiple communities centered around blogs, because the blog discontinued. That’s on the blogger primarily, but it also is the result of too much fame resulting in what I would call “hostile engagement” in the comment section. I feel sad about that, definitely.

    I also engage with Reddit a fair bit. People often don’t really think of it as social media, but it is, and of course, it is part of the “siloing”. The thing that got harder is finding “your” people.

    The siloing, in my opinion, is quite necessary because an open internet channel is a textbook demonstration of what Adam Smith called ‘the tragedy of the commons’. It gets filled with junk. A Nazi bar, for instance, as some have called it. This is the force that is siloing us. People. They are terrible.

  20. Just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: This particular “ancient 40-y-o” bought an answer machine the day the price for one dropped below $100, so speak for yourself, geezer.

  21. just nutha says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Are you the guy who was trying to simultaneously pick up and evangelize the (avatar) woman next to him at the Texas Holdem game I was playing a day or two ago? 😉

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha: Hah! I can’t tell you how many of the older engineers I worked with when I got mine absolutely refused to leave a message. Needless to say, their justifications for this made no sense to me…

  23. Jay L Gischer says:

    @just nutha: I only hit on the hottest avatars.

    The. Hottest.

  24. Jay L Gischer says:

    In a strange reversal, it is my wife (who is 12 years younger than me) who hates “talking to machines”. She still does. I adapted pretty quickly, mostly because I can remember how much I heard old people complain about how things used to be. I found it unattractive and kind of un-self-aware, so I resolved to not be like that.

    What bothers me now, is not so much the new things, but the passing of old things I loved. I have a list now, not just one, of favorite restaurants that aren’t there any more. Favorite food and drink products, too.

    The world changes, and it doesn’t ask my permission. Sometimes it doesn’t even drop me a note on social media.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Avatar came up to me, tears running down his face. Big avatar, strong. The best avatar. “Sir”, he said, “Sir, you are the bravest action hero I ever met…”

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Okay. So it might have been you, then.

  27. Matt Bernius says:

    Great article. To your point, I’m old enough to remember people decrying the death of the Internet (or at least Usenet) after the Eternal Summer in 1993 ( Which also coincided with Wired’s first (or possibly second year) of publication.

    I was a pretty heavy user of earlier waves of social media, from blogging to Facebook to Twitter. But I’ve never used Vine, have only a passing familiarity with TikTok, and am only vaguely aware Discord even exists.

    One thing to note about this is that different forms of media are more migratory than others. So for example, while I’m not on TikTok I end up seeing lots of videos that originate on TikTok via other platforms.

    Honestly, TikTok I think, is one of the best counterexamples to the idea that the Internet is dead/dying. The level of creativity on TikTok, because of the authoring tools built into that app, blows away previous platforms like YouTube. And as a result we have seen whole new forms of creativity with both general and niche applications.

    The other key thing to remember is that often platforms get used in initially unintended ways. Twitch started largely as a way to stream games and has evolved in lots of interesting ways. I see no reason to think that pattern is changing any times soon as new platforms and tools come online.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The world changes, and it doesn’t ask my permission.

    I consider myself lucky in that many years ago I internalized that nothing lasts forever. I don’t expect it to, and I don’t get sad that it doesn’t. That great restaurant down the street? Enjoy it while it is there. The TV show you loved so much has been cancelled? Well, this isn’t 1980. You can still get all the episodes you loved in other ways. You grew up in a great neighborhood full of kids? Well, inevitably, most of the people who lived there stayed there and they got older and their kids moved away and now it’s a neighborhood of older people. Don’t worry, in another ten to twenty years they will have moved on, one way or another, and since they didn’t upgrade in the last couple of decades and probably let maintenance issues slip those houses will go cheaply to people willing to invest in sweat equity. You know, young people just starting families…

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The biggest loss I feel is the collapse of multiple communities centered around blogs, because the blog discontinued. That’s on the blogger primarily, but it also is the result of too much fame resulting in what I would call “hostile engagement” in the comment section. I feel sad about that, definitely.

    I also engage with Reddit a fair bit. People often don’t really think of it as social media, but it is, and of course, it is part of the “siloing”. The thing that got harder is finding “your” people.

    There are a lot of small communities hanging on in weird little spots focused around niche interests. Pick anything from classic car restoration to toylines from the 1980s to dressing like a cat, and you’ll find a few. Little communities, unmoderated or undermoderated. Tiny spots of free, non-corporate, unhomogenized internet.

    It used to be that they were fun and pleasant until they reached a critical mass and were targeted by assholes doing shit for the lulz. And then the assholes would get bored and wander away off for newer challenges and the communities would come back.

    After the 2020 election, about 20% of Americans just turned into full time assholes. Vicious, intolerant, aggrieved people who believe that the election was stolen by the people on the other side of the cultural divide. They find it impossible to just roll their eyes at the stuff that isn’t their vibe, and need to attack. The number of assholes went way up, and much more firmly rooted into the communities.

    You end up with either heavily moderated spaces, or dysfunctional spaces. Neither of which are as much fun.

  30. Bill Jempty says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    My internet time goes to YouTube, NYT, WaPo, WSJ, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, RCP, Axios, and OTB. Also Amazon Prime Video. I’ve cut my Twitter time by 99% since Musk’s Nazi invasion. I deleted Facebook a couple years ago.

    I only use Twitter and Facebook to promote my books to my readers. Nothing more.

  31. Bill Jempty says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The world changes, and it doesn’t ask my permission.

    The only constant is change.

  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    The internet followed a familiar path from curiosity item, to toy, to commodity. Just like cars and airplanes. It’s about as exciting as getting on a plane, which is to say it’s increasingly an unrewarding pain in the ass, a chore you drudge through. Sick of all the signing in bullshit, all the verification, the ads and the complaints about ad blocker. It’s GIGO, the more democratized the web became the higher the percentage of crap. And I hate being contacted by people from my past.

    For a while I could amuse myself on YouTube but it’s become less and less interesting as the fucking algorithms punish me for curiosity. I was interested by the one clip of the Nicholas Brothers, but I don’t need to see 500 iterations of the same thing. Like YouTube, the Netflix algorithm has never suggested anything useful. I’ve looked in at Tik Tok but my appetite for leggy girls in short skirts dancing badly is limited.

  33. Kathy says:

    I had to learn to leave messages on an answering machine, What worked was composing it before making the call, and addressing the person one wants to speak to.

    These days it’s easier. I hang up before voicemail kicks in, and I send a text with the message.

    About things gone, it’s worse when things remain but change for the worse. Or when you change so you no longer like them, but still miss them. This happened to me with pancakes. One now is ok, but not the treat they were until my mid 20s. Even my banana coffee pancakes don’t quite get there.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The internet followed a familiar path from curiosity item, to toy, to commodity. Just like cars and airplanes

    This! Take cars. First they were the domain of engineers and inventors, who were just trying to get something to work. Maybe they believed one day it would be useful, but not yet. Then at some point they were sold to enthusiasts and hobbyists who were fascinated by them and considered them fun, but didn’t really have to use them for anything in particular. For both of these groups, the car was the thing itself. But eventually the inventors and engineers were successful enough that a third, much larger group, joined in: users. Users may or may not think cars are fun or cool, but primarily they just want to go to work or pick up groceries and use the car to do that. An entire infrastructure of businesses making money off cars come into existence to service these users, and extract money for them.

    Similarly, in the beginning Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc are the domain of the enthusiasts. But once these things got to a certain point people grew to rely on them for other things (for example, more and more businesses I frequent don’t update their web page, but only their “social”), and businesses grew around them to extract money from them. So of course Facebook isn’t what it used to be. Nothing that makes it into the mainstream can be what it was when it was burning through investor and hobbyist money.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: When I moved to China and got my new iPhone, I searched for how to set up my voice mail. I guess I thought of voicemail as a function of the phone, but it really is a function of the carrier, and now my carrier was Chinese. And Chinese wireless providers came into being when a vanishingly small percentage of the population had land lines. Which meant that all phone users had SMS texting associated with their phone number. S0 – the providers never created a voicemail system.

    When I asked my Chinese colleagues about setting up voicemail, I had to explain what I meant, and when I finally got it throught to them they looked at me like I had just asked “Where do I put oats into my car?”

  36. Kathy says:


    In the trunk. Though if the volume isn’t too large, you could put the oats on your back seat.

    I never set up voicemail on any phone. I figure there’s a preset, or people will call back or text if it’s important.

  37. Jay L Gischer says:

    @MarkedMan: So true. I endorse the sentiment of “nothing lasts forever”.

    AND, I don’t want to become numb. When things disappear, or go away, it is a loss. Grieving for loss is a normal and healthy thing. I mean, stoicism and the ability to focus and get things done when everything has gone to shit has helped me big time, yeah. I don’t want to get stuck in that, any more than I want to get stuck in the past. Grieving is how you let go.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Don’t worry, in another ten to twenty years they will have moved on, one way or another, and since they didn’t upgrade in the last couple of decades and probably let maintenance issues slip those houses will go cheaply to people willing to invest in sweat equity. You know, young people just starting families…

    Gee, I dunno. Where I live–the 4th poorest city in Washington State at last measure–the cheap/slipped maintenance houses are selling for a quarter mil and up because of our proximity–only 75 miles–to Portland, OR.

    Still, I hope you’re right somewhere, anyway.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: One of my acquaintances constantly complains about my not having a personalized message on my voice mail because my voice doesn’t invite him to leave a message, so he doesn’t know whether he can or not (3 years after I switched phone systems). 🙁

  40. Barry says:

    @steve: “SNL has always been inconsistent, especially the sketches. Watching it live is kind of low yield. ”

    Back In the Day (late 70’s) I decided that SNL was three shows in one:
    1) A great 30 minute comedy show, followed by
    2) An OK 30 minute comedy show, followed by
    3) A 30 minute show best avoided.

  41. Grumpy realist says:

    I was raised on Anna Russell and Flanders & Swann. Not much U.S. humor has ever appealed to me. Except for things like XKCD and Bill Watterson cartoons.