Give Me Freedom AND Give Me Underwear

I like to think I keep things pretty real on this little blog of mine. I may not keep things lively (almost two months since my last post…), but I definitely keep it real. Quality over quantity, right?

Thus I should probably go ahead and make the confession, (if you haven’t figured it out already) I kind of completely hate the internet. Not a fan. People waste way too much precious time and energy on it, especially when most of its content is repetitive and useless, built upon attention-hungry individuals and their stupid shit.

(*Remember, this is the majority of the Internet. Doesn’t mean there aren’t also plenty of delightful beacons of light out there amidst all the shit.)

Seriously though, I am like the closest thing to being a Luddite that you can get without completely despising technology.

Thus, I hope you’ll excuse my lack of digital involvement from time to time. Just too busy reading and adventuring, ya know?

However I recently read a nice little book that made me reevaluate my strenuous relationship with cyberspace, and recognize the — dare I say it — beauty it can bring into millions of people’s lives.

Freedom is Blogging in Your Underwear

In Freedom is Blogging in Your Underwear Hugh MacLeod writes:

“This is the appeal of the internet–the sense of freedom that it gives us, the kind of people it allows us to be. The fact that it happens via computers is secondary.”

I hadn’t even finished the book’s introduction, and already my interest was caught. If there’s one thing I truly love it’s when someone manages to make me look at things from a different perspective, especially one that I so strongly disagree with. Hugh MacLeod was going to get me thinkin’, and I was totally on board

Don’t get me wrong, this petite ode to the internet is incredibly simple: only 117 pages long, half of which are MacLeod’s well-known hand-drawn cartoons. Yet it is insightful and intelligent. And it convinced a tech-hater like me that the Internet just might be a-ok, so I’d say it’s definitely worth your wile to read.

Creativity

I appreciated the fact that MacLeod had his own criticisms, not so much for the Internet itself but of its users –the ones who produce a lot of that shit I mentioned before.

MacLeod recognizes the way that the internet can bring like-minded people together, building  communities, relationships and who knows what else, that otherwise probably would never have happened. But he also points out the idle wastefulness of time spent on the Internet (*cough* Facebook *cough*).

“Just because there’s interaction going on doesn’t mean there’s any interaction going on.”

Being an artist himself, MacLeod looks at the Internet from an artist’s point of view.

It’s no secret that the web has become the go-to venue for do-it-yourself creatives, turning hobbies into businesses, as well as for professional artists and artisans to promote and sell their work. While this is a great online benefit, it is by no means what gives the Internet its greatness. MacLeod quotes Sonia Simone of Copyblogger.com, saying that, “If your busines model is ‘I want to make money on the Internet,’ you’re not going to get very far.”

What makes the Internet such an exciting technological space is not individuals’ ability to reap personal gain, whether it be wealth, notoriety, infamy, etc. It’s every single internet user’s ability to share with millions of other people.

“The most important Internet word isn’t “Search”; the most important Internet word is “Share.”

It’s a whole new venue for exploring, expanding, and sharing what we choose to with the world, whether it be watercolor paintings, Harry Potter twinsest fanfiction (you people know who you are!), or videos of pet raccoons. The possibilities really are limitless, more than ever before. Because whatever strange or lovely (or both!) thing you choose to post on the web, there is more than likely some individual out in this great world we live in, with a keen interest or crazy fetish for it.

So yes, Internet, I suppose you’re not so bad. Even I can’t deny I use and even need you from time to time. Without you I wouldn’t be writing this right now. So I guess we’ll call my constant battles with you a truce. For now.

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