Clips, Internet, Social Media

Five Takes On Digital Boringness

Zouch, May 14, 2012.

The Internet is over 40 years old.
The World Wide Web? Over 20.
Google has made the Internet navigable.
Apple has made it portable. Facebook has made it social.

So, it’s all happened, then? Maybe that’s why we keep encountering more of the same.

There are aspects of the digital ecosystem I know I’ve had enough of, each time I see them. It’s then, I also realize that I’m feeling bored, surfeited, and jaded.

What might they be?

Cloud. “Cloud” this. “Cloud” that. In theory, each time you come across an observation about the “cloud,” an invisible ring of déjà vu should descend on you. Not because the word denotes a meteorological phenomenon, but because it’s become a digital tech buzzword of our times.

And, as if we’re not getting enough of it in tech blogs, venerable dailies, literary magazines, and local rags, we’re also seeing them pop up else elsewhere, as posters, sculptures, and whatnot.

Interestingly, we’ve been using cloud services for a long time, although we may not have known that. Were we to have adhered to the old paradigm, we’d still be calling the Internet, the Internet. You guessed it. Cloud=Internet.

The Big Four. Tech news seems to be dominated by constant updates on only the Big Four: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google (worthy successors to the erstwhile giants Intel, Microsoft, Dell, and Cisco), each of which is fighting to colonize the “cloud.”

Is it just me, who experiences a dull fatigue on reading about them? It’s a bit tiresome that one of them has, sort of, even spilled over into the supermarket isles of household cleaners.

Tide Pod, the latest product offering from Procter & Gamble—palm-size, liquid detergent-filled capsules— that’s being hailed as the biggest innovation in laundry in about a quarter century has an uncanny Apple-y flavor (no pun intended) to it.

Meant to pique the curiosity of consumers, who dote on high-tech gadgets, did you notice that the Tide Pod is a phonetic cousin of the iPod?

Infographics. Unless you’ve been leading the life of an oyster under the rock, you’ve probably noted the explosion in the trend of non-textual story-telling, of presenting complex information, visually.

We’ve entered what many observers are dubbing as the “Golden Age of Infographics.” Soon, the day may be upon us when even news headlines are depicted pictorially, resurrecting the mode of communication of the Neanderthals.

Infographics are eye candy. I love them. Only, I see too many of them, too often.

Apps. There’s an almost frightening array of apps. In early March, the Apple app store, which hosts well over 10,000 apps, registered a staggering 25 billion downloads. But that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the 600,000, or so apps available in the iOS app store.

There seriously should be a moratorium on them.

Social Networks. No one should expect extra credit for knowing the names of the social network behemoths—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+.

But try Proust? Badoo? Cowbird? Jaiku? Orkut? FetLife?

Jotting down the names of the entire swarm of all such platforms that are out there globally would exceed the length of this feature. The point is, with these sites, there’s a visceral feeling that you’ve encountered them somewhere before, for they betray an uncanny familiarity.

Their content is surprisingly similar to the one that came before it; their message, as hackneyed as the other; their format, as predictable as the next. Let’s not make them anymore.

Yawn.

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