Sunday, August 11, 2019

Today I Learned

alt: On the Necessity of Posting

I am, for lack of something better to do tonight, going to post an unnecessary rant about others' need to post their unnecessary thoughts online. Perhaps it's my age. Perhaps it's a weariness that's been beaten into me through years of most people not giving a shit about what I think most of the time. Perhaps it's another reason altogether, but I continue to be astounded by the absolute drivel people feel obliged to type and post.

This particular rant comes about due to a thread concerning Jeffrey Epstein's death. This is a news item that broke mere hours ago and has spawned a lot of discussion.

In one thread, one user felt compelled to post the following statement: "TIL Epstein is dead." (For those unaware, TIL means "Today I Learned.) This boggles my mind. Someone, somewhere, read hours-old news, decided the internet needed to know they learned this, typed it up, and submitted it. Given our linear understanding of time, as I type my own rant, there is no state of knowledge of this news than either not knowing or having found out about it today. This is the equivalent of watching the news, seeing the live lottery drawing, turning to your friend and saying "I just found out tonight's winning numbers!" - except with the added step of actually having to type it up.

Now, I know some people are incapable of forming a thought and not announcing it out loud. I have friends like this - any thought or discovery is audibly paraded about as it bounces around whatever synaptic network is required to process the thought. It happens. What I can't wrap my head around is the need to put that ejaculation in writing. How did the commenter from above go from a verbal "oh, interesting" to a typed acknowledgement of ignorance? How did we get to this?

I view it as a form of littering. A form of pollution that is cluttering up our online world. The same malfunction that caused the comment that inspired this post is the one that handicaps online discourse of all types - the same that NPR poked fun at with their April Fool's article about people who only read the headlines. I can't stand it.

With all this in mind, I am reminded that this is how many people use the internet. This is what gets rewarded. People who spend their time doing, creating, or researching (and to head off the accusation, I'm not claiming to be one of these people) are pushed aside to reward the drivel of half-thought-out posts. Posts by the ineffably incurious. With Wikipedia and other resources a mere click or two away, those who would post "what does ineffable mean" instead of taking the extra second to look it up get rewarded for being visible - their mere presence in a comment section is rewarded with attention where the application of self-improvement is silent and, therefore, ignored.

What does this all mean? What does this all boil down to? I suppose it boils down to the maxim "all publicity is good publicity" - if one desires attention, it's best to bombard others with even the most inane thought rather than stop and think for a moment. Which, I suppose, is what I'm doing here. Simon for President.

No comments:

Post a Comment