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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why the internet doesn't matter

I've discovered a new mathematical formula today. It expresses the relevance of the internet, and I have calculated it to be 0.1%.

How did I do this? Quite simply. I took the 300,000 people who said on Facebook that they would march to the French Embassy to protest against the thieving of our World Cup place and divided that number by the 300 or so who actually turned up.

This little illustration firstly confirms the old gag that internet petitions aren't worth the paper they're written on. But it also reveals the extent to which posturing has replaced action in the repertoire of modern man.

Perhaps we are much more cowed, more frightened, more afraid to rock the boat than previous generations. Perhaps we are more lazy, more indoors, more sedentary too.

But primarily I think we're more inclined to spoof and bluster and posture than previous generations, and few things fulfil that remit better than the 'look at me' amateurism of the internet, especially (yes, I know) blogs and social networking sites.

We already know that such things aren't work. They aren't proper communication either. And if they're what passes for fun in the 21st century, I'd like to be put on the first bus back to the 20th, please.

So what are they? A billion electronic clamours for attention? Hard to say. One thing is increasingly sure though. The internet doesn't matter, and what you read there is almost definitely bullshit, unless it was nicked from some more trustworthy offline source.

How bullshit? Well, on the basis of my calculations at the French Embassy today, somewhere around 99.9% bullshit (unless I somehow missed a quarter of a million people in my count.)

1 comment:

truthisfree said...

That's one of the disappointing things about the internet, people are quick to sign a petition but very slow to join a physical protest. I hope this is just a phase, otherwise it does not bode well for the future of organizing demos via internet.