I saw a few people asking this on Twitter lately, but my views don’t quite fit into a tweet. Ten to fifteen years ago, I remember the joys of just finding things, clicking links through to other links, and in general meandering through a thick, messy, exhilarating garden.
Today you can’t do that as much. Many media sites are gated, a lot of the personal content is in the walled garden of Facebook, and blogs and personal home pages are not as significant as before. Then there is the email subscription newsletter, whether free or paid. All you can do in fact is visit www.marginalrevolution.com and a few other sites and hope their proprietors have not been sleeping since you last stopped by.
That said, I do not feel that time on the internet has become an inferior experience. It’s just that these days you find most things by Twitter. You don’t have to surf, because this aggregator performs a surfing-like function for you. Scroll rather than surf, you could say (“scrolling alone,” said somebody on Twitter).
And if you hate Twitter, it is your fault for following the wrong people (try hating yourself instead!). Follow experts and people of substance, not people who seek to lower the status of others. And if you’re really feeling the internet to be rather empty, head on over to Twitter search, still the most underrated single thing on the internet today (the MR search function is another underrated corner of the internet). Type in words of interest, such as “Ethiopia,” and what comes up will be gold.
It’s a different method today, and it uses a more centralized portal, but no the internet is not in decline. Not yet at least.