When someone uses the internet a lot, he usually has no idea that most people don't spend that much time on it. Instead, he thinks that the entire world goes online to get news, watch TV shows, shop, etc.
It should be obvious that plenty of people do those things off of the internet. Just look at the millions and millions of newspapers printed every day, available at vending machines and delivered to front doors in every city and town you go to. Almost everywhere you look, there's evidence that plenty of people still read newspapers.
And yet, some internet users seem unaware that newspapers actually exist.
[Internet User:] "Where do you get your news?" [Newspaper Reader:] "The LA Times." [Internet User:] "I don't really like that site. The pages load slowly." [Newspaper Reader:] "No. I read the actual LA Times." [Internet User:] "What do you mean?" [Newspaper Reader:] "The newspaper." [Internet User:] "I don't get it." [Newspaper Reader:] "The newspaper. As in paper." [Internet User:] "You mean e-paper? Do you read it on a Kindle?" [Newspaper Reader:] "No. I mean paper paper. The kind you can touch." [Internet User:] "Oh. You have a touchscreen Kindle?" [Newspaper Reader:] "No. I mean I turn the actual pages of a newspaper."
He'd probably have to take the internet to a vending machine and show him. "Look. These two things I'm holding in my hand are quarters. They're cash. Not a credit card. Not a PayPal balance. Cash. I'm going to put them in this machine. And look. Now I'm taking out a newspaper. A newspaper made up of actual pages. News is printed on these pages. As in text and pictures. Look."
The internet user probably still wouldn't get it. "Where do you click for more articles? And how do you install Adblock?"
I'll admit that sometimes I'm like that guy. Sometimes I don't really realize that plenty of people do things like read actual newspapers. Whenever that seems to be happening to me, I go to YouTube and watch a video of someone reading the LA Times.
Like many people, I use the internet a lot. Especially Google. I love Google. If you want directions to Bob's Pizzeria, just type in "PIZ." And Google will take it from there. "You must mean Bob's Pizzeria. You went there six months ago. Here's the phone number, address, and directions. Do you want us to drive you there? We'll drive you there. We'll send over a Google cab. Do you want to go to Disneyland, too? Do you want some ice cream? Ice cream? Who wants ice cream? I'll bet you do. We have 31 thousand flavors."
I also like how when Google Maps gives you directions, it offers plenty of commentary.
Once I asked for directions from 123 Oak St. Los Angeles CA to 124 Oak St. Los Angeles CA. And it said, "Don't be a smart ass. It's right across the street."
Another time, I wanted directions from 123 Camden Dr. Beverly Hills CA to 456 Crack St. Compton CA. And it said, "What are you-- nuts?! Do yourself a favor and just stay where you are. No one's ever had a good reason for going from Beverly Hills to Compton." But I asked for directions again. And it said, "What? You still want the directions? Fine. But don't say I didn't warn you. 1. Start out by going Northwest on Camden Dr. towards Olympic Blvd. 2. Turn right on Olympic. 3. Get onto the freeway. 4. Get off of the freeway. 5. Close your windows, lock your doors, and put on your bulletproof vest."
And one time, I wanted directions from 123 Main St. Los Angeles CA to to 456 Oak St. Los Angeles CA. And this is what I got: "1. OK. Start out going Northeast on Main Street. 2. Turn right on Hill St. After you drive 0.4 miles, you'll see my cousin Ray Ray on the corner of Hill and Vine. He'll give you the rest of the directions. He also sells weed."
Another site I like and use a lot is Wikipedia. Sometimes it's not that great, though. I once went to Wikipedia's article for "carpal tunnel syndrome," and came across this intro at the top: "Carpal tunnel syndrome is idiopathic median neuropathy at the carpal tunnel. The pathophysiology is not completely understood but can be considered compression of the median nerve traveling through the carpal tunnel."
Um... would you mind repeeating that? And telling me what the hell it means?
I think that intro is for people who already know everything about carpal tunnel syndrome, and just want to read about it for fun.
In Wikipedia's defense, both "idiopathic" and "carpal tunnel" are links to other Wikipedia pages. But "pathophysiology" isn't a link. According to Wikipedia, it's just something that I know.
Why would I know that? I'll bet even 1000-time Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings doesn't know what it is. He wouldn't bet big on a Daily Double if the category were Pathophysiology.
So I'm not too fond of Wikipedia's occasional "it doesn't matter if anyone understands this" style. But all in all, I'm a Wikipedia fan.
Then there are sites I kind of like. Twitter's a good example.
Twitter's best known for having a 140 character limit. It introduced the world to that limit.
Twiitter's like someone who constantly interrupts you. [You:] "And that's when he took out a ring, got on one knee, and..." [Twitter:] "OK. That's enough. You've gone over your limit. Tell me the rest later."
Twitter's very eager to hear what you have to say. "Yes, yes. Go ahead." Until you reach the character limit. "You know what? Shut up."
One thing I've noticed about Twitter is that even though tweets are saved, they pretty much just come and go. Very few people read someone's old tweets. Even though they're not deleted, they might as well be. No one's going to come across them.
I think that's a shame. If someone has a lot of tweets, he should print them out and wallpaper his home with the pages. That way, when he's chatting with his dinner party guests, they'll be able to see how on December 4, 2011, he was feeling very hungry. That could lead to a good dinner party conversation. As could his December 5, 2011 tweet about how Obama is a terrorist. "Jim. I see here that you tweeted how Obama is working for al-Qaeda."
When I first went to Twitter, I wasn't really sure how the site worked. And the homepage didn't link to some sort of "guide to Twitter." If you've never used Twitter before, it can be a little confusing. The same goes for a lot of sites. And most of them don't have an easy to understand tutorial.
At JerrySeinfeld.com, things are different. The top of every page has a link that says, "What is this?" And that link takes you to a page that tells you what the site is.
I think every site should have a "What is this?" link. And I also think every person should come with a "Who is this?" link. When I come across a human being, I want to click on something to know who I'm dealing with. Who is this? "He's a very charitable man. He does beat his wife, though. He also sells refurbished carpeting."
The website I find most confusing of all is Bing. I don't find the site itself confusing, though. I just don't get who uses it.
Bing is one of the most popular websites in the world. How is that possible? Who actually uses Bing? I become like Jerry Seinfeld when it comes to this. "Who are these people?" Maybe they're not people. Maybe they're aliens. That's the only explanation that makes sense. Aliens are using Bing.
I've never come across a person using Bing. Most people haven't even heard of it. Everyone's heard of Google. It's synonymous with web searching. "Just Google it." But very few people have heard of Bing. No one's going to say, "Just Bing it." If you say that, you'll end up in prison. People will think you're a pedophile. They'll say, "This guy's talking about binging things. He's probably a pedophile. Call the police."
As you might imagine, I don't think Bing is going to overtake Google. But you never know. Google might not remain in the top spot for long. Bing might become number one, or maybe some other site will.
On the internet, sites come and go very quickly. In many cases, they go from popular to unpopular in a year. The internet hasn't been around for too long, but it's already developed a rich and varied history. If there were a textbook covering Internet History, the ancient history section would cover events from five years ago. Not the fall of Rome, but the fall of MySpace. And things from ten years ago wouldn't even be history. They'd be myths and legends. "According to a Nordic legend, there was a browser known as Netscape."
And then of course, there's AOL. It has a strange place in internet history. It exists--but many people are surprised it does. Nowadays, when you tell people you use AOL, they act like you drive a Ford Edsel or Pinto. "What do you mean you use AOL? Is your computer stuck in 2002?"
I think it's hard for some AOL users to stop using it. They have to change their email address, and get used to a new program.
But at least nowadays, they're a few clicks away from cancelling their accounts. A few years ago, that wasn't the case. Cancelling your AOL account was like trying to leave the mafia. "Once you've got mail, you've got mail for life. Kapeesh?"
AOL wouldn't even let people cancel their accounts online. "AOL," they shouted. "America Online. You can do anything online." But as soon as anyone said, "Can I cancel my account online?" they replied, "No. Call us up."
[Customer:] "I'd like to cancel my AOL account." [AOL:] "OK. What's your username?" [Customer:] "email@example.com" [AOL:] "OK. Well, we actually have a special offer for you." [Customer:] "No thanks. I don't want AOL." [AOL:] "Alright. Now, I can do one of two things for you. I can either cancel your account, or I can give you three free months of service." [Customer:] "I don't want AOL. It doesn't matter if it's free." [AOL:] "OK, great. So I can do one of three things for you. I can cancel your account, I can give you three free months, or I can give you nine months for just $5 per month." [Customer:] "You're not listening. I don't want AOL. I don't want it if it's discounted. I don't want if it's free. I do not want it on a train. I do not want it on a plane." [AOL:] "OK, great. May I ask why you want to cancel your account?" [Customer:] "Because I don't need it." (20 minutes later) [Customer:] "I just want you to cancel my account. That's it." [AOL:] "Well let me just say this. I can give you 15 months for just $6 per month." (another 20 minutes later) [AOL:] "Alright. I can give you 6 free months, and 6 more months for just $5.99 a month." [Customer:] "... OK." [AOL:] "Thank you for choosing AOL." [Customer:] "Go fuck yourself."
That's what AOL did several years ago, when people started leaving the site. Then the company got sued, and they were forced to stop.
AOL is one of the worst companies in human history. I'm suprised they're still in business.
In 2011, they bought the Huffington Post for $300 million. How did AOL even have $300 million? I know they paid it in stock--but AOL stock should be like Zimbabwean currency. You should need a truckload of it to buy a grape. Or to buy a blog with 10 followers. AOL shouldn't be acquiring anyone. If anything, it should be acquired. "And in tech news, Tommy Jones and Jimmy Sanders made a trade during lunch time. Jimmy got pack of Skittles and 8 ounces of grape juice, and Tommy got AOL and a magenta crayon."
The crazy thing is, AOL was worth $200 billion back during the dot com boom. Remember the "dot com boom" that started in the late 90s? Everything was "internet this," and "internet that." All internet companies became worth a fortune back then. As soon as anyone did anything related to the internet, a bunch of investors handed him millions of dollars. People said, "There's a fisherman who's going to sell his trout on the internet. At trout.com. Let's buy half of his company for $100 million!" He didn't really have much in the way of a company. It was just a fishing boat, a fishing pole, two cans of bait, and trout.com. But all of that was worth $200 million.
That's what things were like. People were dot com crazy. Companies started changing their names. ExxonMobil became known as ExxonMobil.com. They said, "After all--we create energy. And energy powers in the internet. So we're really in the internet industry. Just call us ExxonMobil.com."
It even extended to baby names. One parent said to another, "What should we name him?" And the other replied, "How about John.com. That'll increase his market value." In 2000, births were referred to as "IPOs," and people ended up with names like John.com Semiconductor Smith, Wayne Wilbur Wilson (just call him WWW), Edward Mail Johnson (also known as E. Mail Johnson), and Giovanni Geocities Salvatore.
And then the dot com bubble burst. Internet stocks plummeted in value. And companies began dropping the dot com. Even Amazon.com. They changed their company name to plain old "Amazon." They told us, "We're in the retail industry. There might be something about us on the internet--but what we do is sell goods. We don't manufacture servers or anything."
Even AOL got in on the name change. AOL originally stood for America Online. That was the company's actual name. America Online. But then they said, "You know what? Now we're just AOL. The letters don't stand for anything."
And don't forget about John.com Semiconductor Smith. He did something like that, too. Nowadays, he's known as JC Apple Smith. He had to go to city hall to make the name change. Right after he filed for bankruptcy when he lost his money on AOL stock.
Maybe he should've invested it in one of those hundred mile long websites that sell an ebook. There are a lot of those. Do they make money? I don't know. Maybe not. After all, any time you buy an ebook from them, they give you $1000 worth of free bonuses. And their ebook isn't $200. They crossed that price out. It's just $50.
I actually feel bad when I buy something like that. I email the site's owner and say, "Can I give you some more money? I want to make sure you're able to feed your kids."
Interestingly enough, even the $50 price might not be fixed. A lot of those sites stop you when you try to leave, and they negotiate with you and say, "OK. $40." Once, a site tried that with me--but it took away the free bonuses. "Our normal price is $50. But now that you've tried to leave, it's just $40. But you won't get the $1000 in bonuses." That was a new one. I didn't expect it at all. Imagine a car dealer doing something like that. You reject his $15,000 price and start walking out. And then the dealer stops you and says, "You know what? I'll give you the exact same car for $12,000. But we get to keep the tires, ignition, transmission, and brakes. But aside from that, you get everything. That's a $3,000 discount. Sort of."
Some sites don't even offer any discount at all. When you try to leave them, a confirmation box stops you and asks, "Are you sure you want to leave? I'm asking you. You said you wanted to leave. Are you sure? Think about it."
Does that ever work? Does anyone ever say, "You know what? You're right! I don't want to leave. What was I thinking? Why would I want to leave your piece of shit website? This is where I belong. Now what were you saying about curing cancer with radishes?"
I don't know if that strategy works online. But it does work offline. "Are you sure you want to leave Wal-Mart? We sell 12 packs of beer for just 44 cents. Get back here." "Are you sure you don't want to go to my apartment? In case you didn't realize it, you're pretty drunk. By the way, I'm very rich. If you don't believe me, take a look at my cufflinks. Pay no attention to the Honda Civic I drive."
Instead of asking if you want to leave a website that sells $50 ebooks, a computer should ask you to confirm some of your other decisions. "Are you sure you want to spend another five hours playing Pac-Man?" "Are you sure you want to bid $500 on a Smurf lunchbox?" "Are you sure you want to call your friend an asshole on Facebook?"
And Google should take that to the next level. It should follow you around when you're not on your computer. "Are you sure you want to eat another donut? You've already had five. I'm counting. I know you're not counting." "Are you sure you want to join the Black Panther Party? You do realize you're white." "Are you sure you want to drink $5 worth of Wal-Mart beer?" "Are you sure you want to go to that guy's apartment? He's not rich. And his cufflinks are made of plastic."
I don't spend much time at those "are you sure you want to leave?" sites.
But one site I do spend a lot of time at is YouTube.
YouTube is amazing. You can find just about any video there. "There's this character I like in a little known 1980s movie. I want to see the scene where he throws taco stuffing at his coworker." Nowadays, there's a pretty good chance you'll be able to find that on YouTube. And maybe even a musical remix of it.
The interesting thing is, people keep on adding videos at a faster rate. We used to add ten thousand hours worth a day. Now it's a hundred thousand. Soon it'll be a million. And then ten million. One day, someone will search for that tacos stuffing scene, and end up with 172,000,000,000 results.
I've had some interesting experiences on YouTube. Sometimes I post audio files there. You hear me, but you don't see me. And once, someone left me an insult-filled comment that included the remark, "You sound fat."
I guess calling me fat was high on his insult wishlist. "I definitely want to call this guy fat." But he could only hear me. So he saw what he wanted to see. "Yeah--this guy's fat. He sounds fat. What a fat ass."
Maybe I should respond and tell him that he types fat. "You typed that comment like a fat ass. I can tell your fingers are fat. How can your spacebar stand getting pressed by your fat thumbs? Make that thumb. You only press the spacebar wtih your right thumb. Your other hand is always holding a Bic Mac. You probably wear out ten keyboards a month with your fat right thumb. I'll bet sometimes you have to choose between buying a new keyboard and buying a new hamburger. And you always choose the hamburger. You fat ass."
I think I might do that. It's a YouTube custom. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When on YouTube, call someone a fat ass.
I still love the internet, though. It's one of the greatest inventions ever. But it's even better in theory. After all, we can post and access anything online. Quickly and easily. That makes you think the internet will lead to a new era of enlightenment. But then you actually read a few forum posts or go through a few Facebook comments. And at that point, you're not thinking enlightenment anymore. You're thinking world war.
I think at some point, the internet will cause world World War III. Two people will be arguing in the comments section of a YouTube video. About something like Justin Bieber. The debate will branch out into other topics and draw in more people. And that'll lead to a few alliances, an attack, and a world war. After all, people on the internet disagree with each other.
Again, the internet is great--but it's better in theory. Once you read a few hundred comments online, you kind of want to delete the entire internet.
There's actually a program that does nothing but hide comments that are on YouTube. That's all it does. And plenty of people use it.
I guess there are a lot of people out there who think, "Yes. I need a comment hider. I want to watch videos on YouTube--but I don't want to see those comments. I don't even want to ignore them or scan past them. I want to obliterate them from the face of my computer."
When people were first creating computers, did anyone envision something like that? When some guy was working on computer technology in the 1950s, did he think to himself, "I'll bet one day, almost all computers will be connected together. There will be some sort of system that'll let anyone post or access text, audio, images, and videos. And people will also get to leave comments on videos, and reply to other people's comments. And of course, the people making those comments will end up calling each other 'Jew nigger faggot bitch motherfuckers.' Obviously. That's a given. I mean, with connected computers, videos, and comments, we're going to end up with a lot of people saying, 'Kill yourself, you jew nigger faggot bitch motherfucker.' So I guess we'll have to create a program that'll hide those comments. A comment hider."
Did Tim-Berners-Lee, creator of the world wide web, forsee that? Did he think, "The world wide web. This is going to revolutionize the world. It'll let an anonymous guy from Kansas call an anonymous guy from New York a 'Jew nigger faggot bitch motherfucker.'"
Internet debates are amazing. "You seriously disagree with me when it comes to [insert topic here]? That's it. I want you dead. Let's fight to the death. You should be prepared to die for your beliefs about [insert topic here]. Otherwise, what kind of internet user are you?"
A lot of the best internet debates are at IMDB's message board. It's a place for discussing movies and TV shows. Sort of. [Person 1:] "Arrested Development is the greatest sitcom ever." [Person 2:] "You know what? It's good--but I don't love it." [Person 1:] "Oh--really? You sir, have insulted me. I challenge you to a duel!"
CHING CHING CHING CHING.
Yeah. It's a 275 comment duel. It was originally about Arrested Development, but it quickly branched off into a few dozen other topics, like communism, vaccines, quantum physics, Israel, and Justin Bieber's sexual orientation.
It doesn't matter where you are. As long as you're online, that's what you'll come across. I don't care if you're at a Stanford science forum. At some point, two people will declare their undying hatred for one another. Due to a disagreement about physics. And Justin Bieber. "After all, I hate Justin Bieber. And that other guy only kind ofhates him. That son of a bitch. And he's also wrong about quantum physics."
The internet is really opinionated. When it comes to everything. Especially Israel. Mentioning anything about Israel will lead to an internet war. It doesn't matter where you go. Even if it's Nickelodeon.com. As soon as Israel is mentioned, a bunch of ten year olds are transformed into al-Qaeda members and Israeli special forces.
The internet is the most opinionated place in the world. It's like everyone on the internet has a machine gun--but instead of shooting bullets, it shoots opinions. People pull the trigger, and they don't let go. "I have to form and distribute as many opinions as possible, as quickly as possible. George Bush is a war criminal, Citizen Kaneis the greatest movie ever, Netflix should change its pricing plan, Apple stock is undervalued, teachers should be paid more, Justin Bieber should be paid less..."
And everyone starts with this premise: "I KNOW EVERYTHING." That's the name of the gun they use. It's not an AK-47. It's an IK-Infinity. I know everything.
There's a reason why there's no website called IDontKnow.com. There's no message board where people point out that they don't know something. There's nowhere on the internet where people say, "Angelina Jolie's in the news for some rumored scandal. But you know what? We're not sure what happened. So I don't really have much of an opinion on it, or on her." If there were a website like that, it would attract four people total.
The internet is the world's leading producer of opinions. They're all over the place. There is, however, a shortage of knowledge. Every second, there's an opinion flood and a knowledge drought.
There should be a rule. Any time someone posts anything online, he should be forced to slap himself twenty times. Especially if he's a celebrity. Most celebrities on Twitter should be slapping themselves nonstop.
Or maybe there should be an opinion limit. Ten per person per day. Five if you're a celebrity. And 1,000 if you're me. After all, I know everything.
Opinions are everywhere on the internet. And most of them are saved.
Once again, that's great in theory. But then you come across some content. And you think maybe some of it shouldn't stick around.
25,000 years from now, someone will come across some random comment on YouTube, and think, "Holy crap--this guy really hated Snooki. Who the hell's Snooki?"
Can you imagine what the internet would be like now if it had been invented two thousand years ago? Jesus would've had a blog. And people would've left comments for him. And the blog and its comments would still be online today.
Just imagine going to Jesus's blog and seeing a 2 millennium old comment someone left for Jesus. July 3, 30 AD. "Nice religion, douchebag. Do you actually think the world is going to listen to some loser who can't even afford sneakers? You and your 12 followers are gay."
Jesus would've added a Christian response, and ended it with, "Even though you seem to hate me, I still love you. Jesus will always love you."
And then the other guy would've said, "Dude--you're getting gayer and gayer by the minute. And I don't care how many towns you and your followers go to. You'll never spread your religion. The only thing you'll spread is AIDS."
I think Jesus's Christian attitude might've converted that guy. Because there aren't too many Christian-like people on the internet. I've never seen an exchange like "Drop dead, douche." Reply - "I love you." We need some sort of a modern internet Jesus. He should go from website to website just like Jesus went from town to town.
But once again, the internet is full of opinions. There's never going to be a shortage. The world is never going to have an emergency meeting and say, "We need more opinions on the internet." The President's not going to put together a stimulus package. He's not going to address Congress and tell them, "ChristianKiller144 used to post 8.4 comments a day on YouTube. Now it's down to 4.3. We need to get that back up to 8.4"
There's no shortage of opinions. But there is a shortage of patience. The internet is using up the world's supply. Nowadays, a lot of us go crazy if we don't get something immediately.
Tim Berners-Lee--it's your fault. You founded the web. The blood's on your hands.
We need some sort of patience conservationist movement. The hell with saving trees. Let's save patience.
Every once in a while, we should take away people's iPhones, and throw the iPhone users in the hole. Lock them in a room containing nothing at all, and leave them there for five hours.
And all computers should force people to stay on one website for an hour straight, once every day. Someone will click on a link or a tab. And then the computer will say, "No--sorry. You can't click on that. Stay here for another 57 minutes."
At least nowadays, we actually wait for something to happen before we form opinions. But ten years from now, opinions will precede events. We'll beat them to the punch. You won't even have to wait. There won't be a waiting period.
[Person 1:] "That Angelina Jolie is trash. I can't believe she left Brad Pitt for Jake Gylenhall." [Person 2:] "But she's not with Jake Gylnehall. She doesn't even know him. And she hasn't left Brad Pitt." [Person 1:] "She's going to, though. I know she is. She's unbelievable. I hate her!"
That sounds pretty internety. That'll be the internet in five years. But it's not like things are any less ridiculous now.
One thing I love about the internet is that you can type in just about any theory, any opinion, etc., and you'll find plenty of people supporting it. There's nothing like that offline. Not even in a gigantic library. You can search the Library of Congress all you want, but you're not going to find anything on how Richard Nixon and the Buddha are spying on us through hidden microphones in magazine barcodes.
I will say this, however. The Nixon-Buddha-Barcode-Microphone theory isn't especially popular on the internet. There are only 2,354 people online who are into it. Most people prefer watching that video of a sneezing panda. It's up to 300 million views. I think it's just a distraction, though. It's distracting us from the barcodes.
Another thing I've noticed about the internet is that the people on it are easily offended. And sometimes they have strange standards.
A popular comedian on YouTube once featured a video of a dog getting beaten up by a deer. And his viewers were offended. They thought the video was extremely inappropriate, and they let him know about it. A dog geting beaten up is offensive to people who post comments on YouTube. They will, however, laugh at a 3 year old girl getting kicked in the head by a horse. That's hilarious. So if you're trying to beome popular on a site like YouTube, keep that in mind. If you want to show someone getting hurt, it better be a 3 year old girl, and not a dog. And definitely not a cat. Cats on the internet are like cows in India. They're sacred.
Aside from being easily offended, people on the internet are also very insulting. A hundred times more than they are in real life.
When people are face to face, they're only willing to say certain things to others. There's a spending limit on their insult cards. They can only get away with so much. But on the internet, things change. Your insult card has no limit, and you don't have to pay your bills. And in some people's minds, there's a rewards program. "I'll get 1% cash back every time I curse someone out online." So they run around saying things like, "I hate everything about you. Kill yourself."
What did people do before the internet? Did they call random people in the phonebook and tell them off? "May I speak with Aaron Abramson?" "Speaking." "Mr. Abramson--you're a piece of garbage. Kill yourself. By the way, you sound fat."
I guess that's pre-internet history. Should that go into the textbook?
Let's get back to internet history. My favorite thing about it is how Tim-Berners Lee developed the web and then gave it away for free. That's impressive. I like him. But he thinks he's so cool. His mother also seems pretty impressed. She always calls up my mother and brags. No matter what they're talking about, his mother somehow ends up mentioning how Tim invented the web. She says something like, "...and I found the address on the internet. By the way, my son created that entire system. He invented the world wide web. The most important invention in human history. I just thought I'd bring that up, in case you forgot. So what has your son been up to?"
Big deal, Mrs. Berners-Lee. So your son created the web. Don't forget about the porn.
Someone should remind her. "Your son invented the web. Congratulations. That led to the distribution of 5 jillion millajigabytes of porn a day."
Is there such thing as a millajigabyte? I think so. We had to invent a new unit of measurement for internet porn. Before, we had gigabytes and terabytes. But now we have millajigabytes. Because of the porn. And because of Tim Bernes-Lee.
Good for you, Tim. You let us distribute more porn, and you killed patience. That's your contribution to society. We better include that in the Internet History textbook. Chapter 5: "Tim Berners-Lee, Porn, and Patience."
I've already spent some time going through some of the internet's top 100 sites. Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, Bing, AOL, and IMDB. Well guess what? All of the other ones are porn sites.
Internet porn is $175 trillion a year industry. And that's just what people pay for. 99.9999% of internet porn is the free kind.
And porn is becoming mainstream. People used to be offended by porn. Nowadays, they still are. But usually for the opposite reason. Just imagine your college roommate coming across your Playboy magazine, and confronting you about it. "Playboy? What the hell is with you, bro? ... Don't you know about the internet? I should light this Playboy on fire. Get online, and watch some internet porn like a normal person."
But in summary, the internet is one of the greatest inventions ever. I've covered a lot of it. But there's one thing I haven't gotten into yet. Here's what a big chunk of the internet comes down to. Information about some 1980s celebrity.
If you use the internet, you probably use it to do a lot of research. "I need to know this. It's very important. I need to know more. I'm going to get to the bottom of this." And every once in a while, you might go through your browsing history, and take a look at how you decided to spend your time online. You look back and think, "Wait a second. I spent 45 minutes researching Scott Baio?"
No one knows why that happens. You're on the internet, and somehow, you think, "I need to know more about Scott Baio. Much more. What movies and shows has he been in, what diet is he on, who is he dating, does he keep in contact with Ron Howard?"
That's what people end up doing. Somehow or another that's what happens. I don't know why. I don't know how.
The internet tricks you. It does something. It's tricky. Tricky internet.
Why would you choose to study Scott Baio? You don't come to the internet with that intention. You don't think, "You know what? That sounds like a good idea. Let's spend 45 minutes learning about Scott Baio."
You don't plan that. No one would plan something like that.
But you end up clicking this and clicking that, and you come across Mr. Baio. And you learn about how he gained 15 pounds and then lost 18 pounds. And he divorced this person. And he was almost cast for this role. And he made this much money per season for one of his shows. And he signed an endorsement deal with some company.
What's the thought process when you decide to continue studying something like that? "10 minutes? That's not enough. Let's extend this to 15 minutes." And then 15 becomes 20, 20 becomes 25, etc.
Where does all of that come from? There should be a meditative practice where you detach yourself from your desire for Scott Baio information, and wonder where it comes from.
Why, with so much available on the internet, do we study something like Scott Baio? Freud--do you have any theories? Is it our id, ego, or superego? None of the above. Freud's model of the mind can't explain that one. Freud had a lot to say about a lot of things--but he drew the line there. "I know why you do this, I know why you do that. But I don't know about the Scott Baio thing. No idea. There's no way you can figure that one out." That's chapter ten of Freud's book.
Freud, Jung, all of them. They threw in the towel on that one. "We don't know why. For some reason, people just do things like study Scott Baio."
That's a big part of the internet.
There's only one group of people convinced that it's not weird to spend 45 minutes studying Scott Baio. And that group of people is celebrities. Scott Baio himself will tell you, "Yeah. You should study Scott Baio. That's why the internet exists. Finally. The world has full access to Scott Baio trivia, news, and more. That was the missing ingredient in the world. Now we have it. Thanks to the internet. And Tim Berners-Lee. He was probably inspired by me. He watched Charles in Charge and Happy Days, and then he came up with the idea for the world wide web. So I basically co-invented the web. I should add that to my Wikipedia page. So when people do their 45 minutes of Scott Baio studies, they'll know."
I consider Tim to be the world's Person of the Century. As for Scott Baio, he's somewhere in the top 1000.