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bLink 39

My love hate for the Interweb.

By Thom Wong 27 Jun 2006 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He has also been a teacher and contract specialist. With eight years of education and three bachelor degree, Thom focuses mostly on marketing writing.

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39th of 40 bLinks

As this is the penultimate bLink, I thought I'd take a walk down memory lane and examine all the wonderful websites that have brought me such joy over the years. Or I should say, I was going to do that when I realized that the Internet and I are on sketchy terms these days. Over the last month I've spent increasingly less time online, finding that the World Wide Web does not hold the same sort of pull it once did. Could it be that the sunshine has lured me like a siren from my cloistered computer desk? Or have I simply lost interest in the many but often very similar offerings?

The truth is a bit of both. Even a diehard geek such as myself cannot resist the call of the giant fiery orb that appears but briefly in Vancouver skies. And frankly, the Internet is getting a little boring. There are only so many videos of people being stupid or mean or baffling that one can watch in a day (current limit=7).

The one thing I still appreciate about the Internet is how easily it facilitates community creation. If you're a Harley-riding, Jell-O enthusiast, chances are there is an online group waiting for you (do not ask me to Google that -- you are perfectly capable of doing so yourself). I can still remember the day I wandered onto the website of Wong Karwai enthusiasts, which at the time was the Master’s thesis for the site's originator. I posted occasionally and enjoyed some overblown philosophical discussions, where I actually got to use my English degree in the manner with which it was intended -- to create utterly specious arguments.

But the true epiphany came when the site launched a forum. Suddenly there were easily accessible topics, polls you could create yourself, and best of all, a record of how many posts you made. By the time the forums met their untimely end at the hands of a hacker, I had about a thousand posts more than my next competitor...er...the next closest member. And yes, this is a fact of which I am unduly proud. When my posts reset to zero that day, I'll admit it -- something inside of me died.

The site is up and running again with a new crop of posters, but my heart really isn't in it. The Internet can be a cruel mistress. One day you're the top poster on an art-house director’s fan-run website; the next, you're working on your next-to-last post for a web-based newspaper column. Oh Internet -- how I love and hate you so.

Thom Wong is a law student who spends an unreasonable amount of time online. His 40 bLinks column runs every Tuesday and Thursday on The Tyee.  [Tyee]

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