The Internet used to be a very different place. I went online in 2008 or somewhere along those lines, when Web 2.
0 was still in its infancy, Nokia was still making some decent smartphones, and 3G was yet to become a thing.
It was a magic place. Skype, ICQ, LiveJournal, VK as it used to be - you name it. The Net was like a new frontier.
Self-expression (which I paid dearly for later on), personalization, information flowing so freely and openly. Opportunities seemed to be endless.
VK was still a useful way to keep up with real-time friends.
2007 has come to be regarded as the best year by many people, at least across my generation, not in the least due to the Internet of this time.
Then came the omnipresence of smartphones and high-speed mobile Internet.
Ironically, these advances only hastened the demise of the Web as it used to be, for with them came the shift towards uniformity. Thence things went irreversibly downhill.
Anonymity became non-existent. The line between the real life and the online life became blurred. That's when all the fun fizzled out. That's when the Internet became a dull place.
So boring is it nowadays that we have come to view being offline as a privilege, something that would have been impossible just a decade ago.
Nowadays, it is all boring, insipid, sterile, uniform. Gone is VK. Gone is FB. Gone is YouTube. Reddit seems to hold ground, but, perhaps, it's just because I'm new to it.
The monopoly of a small handful of companies, the dominance of those digital behemoths, rendered the Net corporate.
No sooner had the said companies realized that they could monetize people's communication than whatever novelty there used to be was gone. Thrill of learning something new waned.
Social media users became a new oil in this digital age we're living in. VK, a FB clone, used to be a platform to chat on. Now it's all about ubiquitous advertising and being spied on.
Youtube is tightening the screws, demonetizing independent channels that furnished high-quality content that was worth our while,
whenever they do not fall in line with the prevalent political agenda. A few prominent channels have been blocked. The only thing YT seems to be interested in is promotion of big corporations.
Now it's about THEM, but it used to be about US. It's all gone. What we are left with now is just a vanity fair on IG, a popularity contest pretty much elsewhere.
We no longer talk to each other as we used to on the streets or at dance clubs because we are glued to our phones, because we are too busy perpetuating this vicious cycle of envy, self-loathing,
and comparisons we have embroiled ourselves in, unbeknownst to ourselves.
While the golden age officially ended in 2009, things seem to have been fairly good up through 2014, despite a slow yet steady decline in quality.
In 2016 we saw people's opinions being shaped entirely on VK, FB and Twitter, and onward we saw social networks double down on their shit at a higher rate.
Now, it is a dystopia without aesthetic.
Can something be done about it? The Renaissance will only be possible if we take a stand, scale down and create something unique. Something about US. I will take efl-forum over Reddit every day.
I will take Skype over DMs. It's time we stopped, reflected and reappraised our daily habits and our love-hate relationship with the Internet.