Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why the Web should adopt the subscription model (or how you started worrying and stopped loving unoriginal shit like Dr. Strangelove references)

If I had to pay a quarter for every twitter account I followed, every facebook "friend" whose bullshit showed up on my feed, and every rss I subscribed to, how would my mind be different?

If I were interviewed in Monocle (get at me Tyler), the inevitable question "What is your media diet like?" would most likely cause me and the interviewer to gag as I conjured a living, caloric metaphor of the slop that I shove down my brain throat. The answer would bring to mind the daily feeding habits of the most gluttonous, high fructose-stuffed obese red stater crossed with a food critic forced to judge every cooking reality show on cable: both trash and high-brow, but, most importantly, entirely excessive. Why is this?

It's because people share way too much, way too boring, way too often. This thing right here is a gift the likes of which intelligent human beings have never been given in history. The birth of many-to-many was a revolution in communication on par with the printing press and the TV blah blah blah, everyone knows this. But the problem is that the lowered barriers have placed this immense tool in everyone's hands, especially the least discerning among us. Some people kind of ruin it.

Yes, it is partly my fault for paying attention and "subscribing". But as a curious, focused, determined consumer of media I can't unplug from the overwired digital lobotomy junkyard lest I miss that sweet piece someone tosses out. If I were to even attempt to get rid of every abuser of internet from my screen I would be left with barely anything to read and this would take the fun out of it. The fun part is that we're all shootin the shit here, crackin jokes, sharing mind-blowing stories and even creating innovative, consciousness-expanding ART. As a price for this, should I be forced to click thousands of little buttons to turn off all the boring thoughts I've been coaxed into receiving? I didn't realize when I clicked your button six months ago or two years ago that I'd be subject to inane mind spittle. Fuck that, you should have to convince me FIRST that what you have to say deserves mine and everyone else's attention!! I would subscribe to that.

Convergence is a detriment in one huge way; articles from the New York Times can show up on feeds (on your phone, on your social network, on twitter, on your RSS) next to the dumbest, most pointless information in an infinite continuum of inexplicable digital stuff. This model is broken. It is the saturated fat and second hand smoke and greenhouse gases of our intellectual world that has yet to be regulated. And it is running rampant!!!

Stop starting blogs that suck. Stop sending out spam PR with utterly pointless content (video interviews or really 90% of anything video). Stop starting tumblrs for kooky memes three minutes after they are spawned. Stop sharing your lunch. Stop refreshing your drug of choice page and start exploring those other tabs on your browser to bring something dope to the conversation. Because really, we're all trying to have a conversation here and you keep interrupting!!

Treat every tweet like it's a haiku, because it is. Your facebook status updates are more important than your haircut, the crew you ran with in high school and your favorite band t shirt combined because 10 times more people will see it than any of that shit. So why do you treat it like it's the margin of your diary and you're scribbling text doodles? I'm not even going to go into detail and post screenshots, links or anything like that because, honestly, I have no idea where to start.

If you bring the goods you get my internet high five from now on. We all live on this internet so treat it with respect! I like it here and don't think I can survive cold turkey after being plugged into the electric information tsunami for so long. We've realized that the Web was visually designed like shit so we redesigned most of it. It's time to realize that the Web is being used wrong; stuffing it all down one pipe has caused a big fucking clog. Let's separate the pipes. A pipe for bullshit and another for useful, inspiring, CREATIVE information sharing. Let's try it!!!!!

I'm gonna do my part. Everything I add will have slap in it and I will give out slaps to that which does not. This is a SLAP-ONLY guarantee. From now on, when someone asks me what my media diet is, what I'm riding to, you will know my answer.

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