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The Interweb Thingy by silvertongedevil Written on 12th February 2006

I hate the Internet, sweeping statement I know but I really hate it, so when those nice people at TLO said. “Oy, you! What about writing somethin’ about the internet?” I said. “Where’s the motivation?” I was shown the sharpened stick hung on the wall over the signed picture of Stalin.

When the Internet was new, I – like many other people thought ‘what a wonderful thing this is going to be.’ But to a certain degree it’s just a phenomenally massive amount of shyte spread right over the globe in quite a thick layer. I know that seems like biting the hand that feeds you from someone writing for an Internet site but there are also just a few gems, like The Last Outpost. (There, I’ve got that in so that the pointy stick stays on the wall)

Seriously, there are some good sites and no I’m not going to list them but on the whole most of the web is a waste of electricity on a grand scale.

To those of you who nod your head in quiet agreement I ask why is this? A platform such as this with so many options and an endless freedom so do and say what we want should be a glistening pearl, so why has it become such a festering boil? I think there are many reasons but two of the most important are that very freedom that makes it so appealing and the fact that many sites have no quality control what so ever. For instance, the most popular sites brought up by the search engines aren’t always the best, they just happen to be the sites that are best designed for the search engine ‘spiders’ to find, or the ones with excellent search engine ‘friendliness’ or the ones that get used the most. It can be down to the code writer not the page content.
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The Internet brings us views that were unthinkable years ago.
Consider this. You search for information on a particular subject, what happens? Well unless you know exactly what you are looking for and use an advanced search, most search engines will only bring up something like 16% of sites that have connections to what you are searching for, some of these having very tenuous links too. If you are lucky the search engine will find pages that contain information that is of use but think, is the author of the website an expert on that subject or is he/she a half-hearted anorak that has web space to fill and writes expanded porkies on a subject they know little or nothing about? Either way, some bedroom Internet – info junkie jockey will leave his connection in the belief that he now knows all about the subject he has just visually digested.

Captain Cook discovered Australia – it’s true. No it isn’t. Some of you that have just read that are now thinking “he did.” Most of the others are now thinking “No he didn’t, the Dutch discovered it.” Okay, Captain Cook was the first English man to set foot in Australia. Now more people are thinking, “yeah, that’s better.” The ones that know are shaking their heads saying “No he wasn’t.” even if they don’t know who was. It matters not who was but the point here is that some people would have believed some of those statements as fact simply because some lonely corduroy clad geek that runs a website says that what he writes is true. I agree, most people researching something will look in more than one place if they want facts.

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There's plenty of culture but is it acurate?
I’m not saying that finding the information in a book will ensure accurate research but the difference is, a book not only has it’s author researching but then there are readers, researchers and finally a publisher to go through before it is seen by the general public. This is not always, and rarely the case on the Internet.

Put it to the test, think of a subject that you know a great deal about and then go and research it. If you are lucky you will find a site that is clear to read, easy to navigate and accurate, but the odds are you won’t.

I admit, I’m no expert as I don’t use the net that much but the point is if it has any use at all then it should be as good to use for me as it is for the regular user. I just don’t have the time to arse about with companies and individuals that think their tiny bit of web space can have anything but a passing interest to me.

There are also loads of incompetent companies employing total numpties in their IT departments. For instance, I had a letter to send off yesterday and I had the address but I didn’t have the postcode, so onto the Internet I went with the certain knowledge that the Post Office would have a postcode finder on their web pages. They did so I pressed the relevant button and was taken to a page to register. TO REGISTER TO FIND A POSTCODE? Jesus H. Christ on a stick, what are they thinking of, why in the name of all that is reasonable would I want to spend MY time filling in forms to help THEM? Needless to say the letter went without a postcode.

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There is certainly plenty of this kind of thing. Not that I ever look of course!
There are too many forms, too many scams, too many idiots and to few decent sites to bother. And then there’s ebay. If it wasn’t for the fact that they cornered the market before anyone had time to react, ebay and their money-making-machine subsidiary Paypal would not be able to compete at the side of a decent company. It is such a shockingly complacent and badly run organisation it sits in the category that contains BT and NPower.

I’m sure that is you are sat here reading this, you must have some interest in the Internet and you are probably saying, “I use the Internet a lot and it’s great.” That’s okay but there’s only so much porn you can take in one day, and then there’s the porn industry itself. Being a hermaphrodite I have a hobby of my own and don’t need porn but it is probably the biggest draw to the Internet and yet there is a sinister element – how many times do you hear on the news that someone had been jailed for downloading images of children? In the past few days there has been a report that BT have had a record number of stopped searches to child pornography sites, it would seem that this disgusting trade is growing and is exactly the type of activity that will take away the freedom of the Internet for the rest of us. Of course if you live in China where the Americans are helping the Chinese Government to censor Internet content you won’t be able to read this article because of these two words – Tiananmen Square.

Without doubt, the Internet is the future. Magazines, newspapers and even books are on the decline as younger people grow up with the World Wide Web and use both it and mobile phone technology to communicate and spend their free time, but I have to agree with the AOL ad running at the moment that “The Internet is the most dangerous weapon ever invented.” As the world’s loony, religious groups spread their unacceptable message of terror, the Net has become their mouthpiece showing images that would have been unthinkable before the Internet, but this is the cost of free speech in a world where free speech is constantly being eroded.
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If you live in China - you won't be able to see this.

The Internet is so important; in the next few years I’m sure it will expand even more as new uses are found for it. In the future it will evolve and be very different but for the moment it still seems to me that it is a child that is taking a very long time to grow up and yet has endless potential for good with the ability to cause suffering on a massive scale.
And I still hate it.

By the way, the identity of the first Englishman to set foot in Australia is not known but he was a sailor of an English ship ‘Trial’ which run aground on it’s shores in 1622. The first English man to land there, record and document Australia was William Cecil Dampier (1652?-1715) and yet if you search the internet Cooks name still appears on many websites as the man who discovered Australia.


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