The other day, Warren Ellis wrote this paragraph in his e-mail newsletter, Machine Vision*:
I cannot, lately, shake this peculiar sense that the net is quieter than it used to be. Possibly because email is less of a thing? Because I don't live on Facebook? And social media is technologically privileged over, say, news or RSS?
This is something I've been noticing lately, but I haven't been able to articulate the thought. I follow a lot of blogs, and they're still publishing. I follow a lot of people on Twitter, and they're still tweeting. But whenever I spend time online now, I get a sense that the lights are off and nobody's home. I wonder if it's because I'm a text-centric person and the internet feels like it's moving more toward photos and video than text? Or if it's because there are more people online, but they're all staying within their carefully defined niches and sharing the same content?
This is a frustrating thing to discuss because it's entirely anecdotal. I'm sure all the facts and figures indicate that more people than ever are spending time online. But everything feels so small and predictable, now. Maybe now that I've been online for over a decade—I was a late bloomer—the sense of novelty is gone? Where the hell has the internet gone?
* If you're interested, you can sign up for Machine Vision at warrenellis.com.