Internet is nearing exhaustion

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  • drgs…
    "When I say the internet is running dry, I am not just basing this off vibes. The exhaustion is measurable and real. 2020 saw a grand, mostly unnoticed shift in online behaviour: the clickhogs all went catatonic, thick tongues lolling in the muck.

    On Facebook, the average engagement rate—the number of likes, comments, and shares per follower—fell by 34%, from 0.086 to 0.057. Well, everyone knows that the mushrooms are spreading over Facebook, hundreds of thousands of users liquefying out of its corpse every year. But the same pattern is everywhere. Engagement fell 28% on Instagram and 15% on Twitter. (It’s kept falling since.) Even on TikTok, the terrifying brainhole of tomorrow, the walls are closing in.

    Until 2020, the average daily time spent on the app kept rising in line with its growing user base; since then the number of users has kept growing, but the thing is capturing less and less of their lives.

    And this was, remember, a year in which millions of people had nothing to do except engage with great content online—and in which, for a few months, liking and sharing the right content became an urgent moral duty. Back then, I thought the pandemic and the protests had permanently hauled our collective human semi-consciousness over to the machine. Like most of us, I couldn’t see what was really happening, but there were some people who could. Around the same time, strange new conspiracy theories started doing the rounds: that the internet is empty, that all the human beings you used to talk to have been replaced by bots and drones. ‘The internet of today is entirely sterile... the internet may seem gigantic, but it’s like a hot air balloon with nothing inside.’ They weren’t wrong.

    The tables are already being cleared at the great tech-sector chow-down.10 Online services are reverting to market prices. The Vision Fund is the worst performing fund in SoftBank’s history; in the last quarter alone it’s lost over $20 billion. Most of all, it’s now impossible to ignore that the promise propping up the entire networked economy—that user data could power a system of terrifyingly precise targeted advertising—was a lie. It simply does not work. ‘It sees that you bought a ticket to Budapest, so you get more tickets to Budapest...All they really know about you is your shopping.’ Now, large companies are cutting out their online advertising budgets entirely, and seeing no change whatsoever to their bottom line. One study found that algorithmically targeted advertising performed worse than ads selected at random. This is what sustains the entire media, provides 80% of Google’s income and 99% of Facebook’s, and it’s made of magic beans."…
    “I feel like the trajectory of the 2010s has been exhausted in a lot of ways. The culture-war topic no longer seems quite as interesting to people. Social media isn’t a place where you can be as creative anymore; all the angles are figured out. Younger people are less interested in things like quote-unquote cancel culture. These were kind of, like, the big pillars we used to navigate pop culture in the 2010s. And we had the rise of all these world-spanning, like, Sauron-esque tech platforms that literally have presences on every continent. People want to make things personal again.”


  • hans_glib0

    ‘It sees that you bought a ticket to Budapest, so you get more tickets to Budapest...All they really know about you is your shopping.’

    i've never understood this thought process. surely it's far more effective to make suggestions of other shit that other buyers of whatever it is you've bought have also bought (many website do this already)? <-- spot the non-marketer

    and as i'm sure i'm not the only one to use ad and tracker blockers, rendering all those stupid ads pointless anyway

    • I'm immune to ads. You know these "have you seen any ads of product X"-questions on Youtube? I always choose "none of the above" and Im not lyingdrgs
    • I could not tell for the life of me what ad I just watched 5 min agodrgs
    • I would actually appreciate it if youtube ran ads for cool affordable watch brands or a 100% british wool shawl cardigan etc, things i'm shopping for right nowshapesalad
    • Instead I get annoying ads for that Evony mobile game. I've not played a mobile game since 2009 when i got an iPhone and play game for 10mins then deleted it.shapesalad
    • Instead i'm drilling through google search results trying to find a 100% british stylish knitwear brands. I found instagram shop search to be more useful.shapesalad
    • Internet is peaked shit now. But it won't die, people still use it, platforms will just have to get smarter and better the ad serving, current system is bad forshapesalad
    • all parties.shapesalad
    • @shape YT is the adtech platform. You watch a lot of mindnumbing content and so you get the ads for dumb thingsnb
    • I think you do, based on some of the stuff you share here. I might be wrongnb
  • nb3

    It’s 4:30am here but this is the best article I’ve read in a while. (The substack one, not the vibe check one although that’s ok too)

  • Gardener1

  • garbage2

    I think we're close to a saturation point, but collectively we're going to embrace it.

    I know some folks who are embracing the whole "dumb phone" thing, and this has me wondering if there's a dumb phone rom / launcher for Android.

    • From late friday to monday morning, if I'm going out, I left my phone at home, wife takes hers for daugthers or family calls.OBBTKN
  • Chimp0

    I was thinking that the internet is going through a maturation phase. Perhaps this idea is wrong or needs more thought.

    1. Baby phase of useless websites with bold fonts.
    2. Teenage phase of bitching and moaning but has potential.
    3. Actual useful phase....

  • Morning_star0

    The internet is just a river. If we all wash our arses in it, it becomes polluted and horrible to consume.

    Like a river, it's power is unfathomable and in time we will learn to harness it, bath in it's beauty and it will quench our thirst. At the moment we are not only washing our arses in it but we're close to drowning due to the flotsam and jetsam of corporate detritus.

  • grafician1

    It's not this.

    The trouble is centralization.

    The trouble is that Amazon AWS and Cloudflare practically control the Internet "pipes" and mostly everything goes thru' these giants and they can censor/block anything they like.

    The trouble is that Google can cut your Gmail account and ruin your entire digital AND IRL life with no accountability.

    The trouble is that Tiktok has 80% or more market share with the new generation and its algos are controlled basically by China. China shows productive and educational content on tiktok in China and bullshit, memes and dumb content to the Western world.

    The trouble is Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Oracle, etc. have monopolies on platforms and are showing increasingly anti-user behaviour and dark patterns, etc.

    The trouble is regular folk have no clue how the internet works and don't care so nobody is doing shit to change the status quo.

    Effectively probably 10% of users know actually how the cookies are made and complain in online bubbles to each other while 90% of users just consume with no fucks given.

    Yes, the internet - the last frontier of free thought - will be dead soon enough at this rate...

    • There needs to be some kind of Digital / Internet Education given kids. Most are not aware of the addictive nature of it.Chimp
  • shapesalad1

    Anybody else find going outside without their phone — like we did for millions of years up until the early 2000's — gives them a little bit of an adrenaline rush?

    • Depends on how much of your life is online.
      Most of the people Ik can go for a day without their phone and nothing happens.
    • It is nice, I do it from time to time. Fuck the phone, I’m going for a walknb
    • every time I go for a run, 3 or 4 times a week, no adrenaline rush here. When I get home the phone usually stays next to the wallet and car keysdmay
    • I feel naked without being able to constantly be connected to QBNChimp
  • rootlock1

    I haven't had a phone for 3 years. Have a landline and a computer. Best thing I ever did. I call them fatal distractions.

    I think the new generation will migrate to dumb phones. Much like when they stopped engaging with facebook.

  • utopian2

    No worries...DALLE, Midjourney, and other Artificial Intelligent web and mobile apps will help fill the void for all of the underachieving, narcissistic, vapid, consuming humans out there.