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Northern Harrier

Monday, January 16, 2023

Slave to the machine

                                                                                                right, left... © Robert Sommers 2023

Have you noticed how pernicious and yucky social media and the internet is becoming? Take a seemingly innocuous website like NextDoor for instance. Not necessarily a gross offender but a decent example. It started out as a folksy place where people could complain about immigrants peering over their rose bushes or post pictures of green towhees.

But birds and prowlers won't pay the bills. Now I get five emails a week from the site telling me about all the potential business I am losing out on for not promoting my store through their website with ads. Thanks for your concern but isn't that my problem?

Ditto Linked In

What is the actual point of this website? The only utility I can think of is that it is a public place for white collar professionals to post their CV and look for a new job. Or stupid rah rah messages like this:


I honestly can't think of anything I have ever gleaned that was valuable on the site short of wishing somebody congratulations for being x years in on their job or engaging in serious personal aggrandizement. Am I missing something there? Seems like a total waste of time to me. 

I get an email a week from Linked In telling me about the people searching for me. I get an occasional job offer even, but some of the searchers are rather suspect.

Good thing I am not overly paranoid but please, stop looking for me. I will let you know if I am looking for a job or want to make friends. 

Which is what a lot of these sites apparently do, create new effortless virtual fake friendships for those poor souls that don't happen to have any.

These websites start out as networking tools but all quickly figure out that if they are to survive they need to monetize and then the shilling starts. 

And it never stops. They are really good at finding ways to hook you. And try to sell you whatever they can. And once they do hook you, you can never get their talons out.

Google Ads can be quite pushy as well. I pulled the plug. 

As the old saying goes, if you don't see something being sold on a website, then you are the one being sold and believe me, everybody in the world and their brother has a grand plan to cash in on you.

I don't Facebook, or Instagram. I know people that say both platform marketplaces really help their business but I don't want to sell that way if I can help it. Churning merch to the multitudes...

Twitter is another animal entirely. Forget the brilliant, demented sociopath at the helm, the platform was tailor made for narcissists who like to bellow in echo chambers and vie for some "wittiest tweeter" award. It is a jackoff session.

Unfortunately a lot of news and sports is getting tweeted these days and it is a tricky game to tune in and see what is going on in the platform after you have deleted your account, like I did. I find myself on the outside looking in but I don't want to support the platform, especially now.

I don't TikTok or Whatsapp either and I guess they have taken the rest of the world by storm. I'll live without them, somehow. Honestly, I even hate texting. I know you like to monologue but couldn't we go back to a short two way phone conversation, just for old times sake? 

A couple more things bug me about this internet business. You use a service, buy a widget, see a doctor and everybody's A.I. bot suddenly instantly demands to know how they did, were you happy, can you give them a rating?

It can be incredibly fatiguing and you should be under no compulsion to respond, twenty first century be damned! If I want to give you a review, believe me, I will, but please don't ask. Yet we are increasingly hammered with these continual demands for our online attention.

I get twenty emails a day from people who have done me the favor of checking out my website and want to let me know that it is grossly deficient. Does anybody actually ever fall for this SEO redesign crap? Sadly they must, or we would not be inundated with the constant spam. I will keep my lousy website as it is, thank you.

The internet is a monster that is slowly but surely sucking all the oxygen out of our collective rooms. Orwell and McLuhan absolutely saw this coming.

Phil Dick certainly did, we are increasingly bound to the machine and until the singularity occurs, a machine still incapable of human thought. But at this point, that might not even be relevant.

Our cybermasters do a very good job keeping us occupied, not to mention very stupid and at each other's throats.

But it might not matter, we are hooked in a giant compulsion loop and whatever real rewards it might actually bestow are meager at best.

I think that both Android Auto and Apple Car Play are a gigantic distraction and certainly responsible for a lot of problems and accidents on the road today. You can't just turn on the radio anymore, it is a phone plug in and several buttons pushed now. Takes your eyes off the road. As do the inevitable texts and emails. What I would not give to be able to just play my cd's again in the car? So simple, so tangible. Nope. We have to be plugged in at all times. 

You get in your car in the morning and maps instantly notifies you how far it is to the office. You go home and it gives you the route back as well, just in case you forgot. Knows where you have been, who you have talked to you and definitely knows your browsing history. Strains your emails for keywords and tries to sell you virtually tailored products. Our lives are an open book and I hate it.

For the last several years we have had a fire stick television, with no ads. Now we have an LG, constant ads. How did that happen?

Lucasfilm

We are in virtual thralldom to our new digital overlords, the technology and its demands on us and our time are ever increasing. 

You don't have a smartphone, you can no longer read a menu in a restaurant. No FasTrak, no ride on the road. 

Your computer will be incapable of functioning on its present OS in about three years and you will be forced to buy a new one. The time span of perpetual obsolescence in our hardware is shrinking at ever decreasing intervals.

Of course, we are forced to use the technology whether we want to or not, try to visit a doctor or lab without a virtual check in sometime. 

Citizens, throw off the yoke of your artificial robotic masters! Unplug that virtual robot puppy, smash your phone, let the air out of your nocturnal robotic companion. Go outside and have a breath of fresh air, dig your toes into the green earth, while you still can. citizens. citizens. ctz   c _____.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen

I have never signed up for any of that and I still now get over a hundred emails a day 90% junk. not to mention liveauctioneers. The problem with them is there just might be something you want to bid on. I get about 20 emails a day from them with stupid stuff disguised as something I once clicked on.

Leave me alone!!

Not you - but most everyone else

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your thoughts about the Internet, apps, etc. I am so sick of all the scams, attempts to sell things based on our searches, the endless attempts to get us to buy programs or apps to fix stuff, and more. I am sooooo overwhelmed and frustrated. Then when something goes wrong and you attempt to research "fixes", those don't work and you can't understand the terminology. It is definitely a love-hate relationship with computers, cell phones, etc. And trying to get help from companies is non-existant...can't get through to a person, they blame and point fingers at others and don't want to help. I remember when the concept of "the buck stops here" was the most important thing for companies, but not anymore.

Blue Heron said...

You are so right, customer service is dead, now you are forced to go to a community forum for help, where an equally ignorant person is supposed to assist you.

Anonymous said...

John prime, move to the country try and find Jesus on your own.deli guy