Is the internet getting boring?

evcom

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I run an community/forum about topics in automotive/transportation/environment. These days, a lot of these topics are also discussed on Social Media platforms.

A few days ago I did a search on the web to find interesting resources about topics we share in the community and I was mainly interested in private, independent blogs, web pages and information. I was really surprised how few websites I've actually found. While some years ago it was trendy to have your own blog or website, this seems to be difficult to find these days. On the first 5 pages of Google search results, almost all results were attributed to company blogs or content that is in some way connected to a commercial background. While there was a wealth of information about the subjects itself, most of it came from a few well known commercial players in the field. If someone shares their knowledge and know-how, it's mostly done on Social Media. The creative space the internet once was, seems to be almost gone. While content on YT or FB may be interesting, it's presented very much in same way every time, same look and feel and so on. It's becoming somewhat boring.

What are your thoughts about it? Anyone has tips where to find unique, independent content?
 

Pete

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I'd say that mostly depends on what unique, independent content you're looking to consume/create.

I'm over in what is possibly the most interesting niche I've seen in years: roleplay. Every site is wildly different, with themes ranging from the beautiful to the eclectic to the visual horror, with content ranging in all different lengths and styles and so on. But it is a deeply creative niche where there are no shortage of sites but finding ones you mesh with is not necessarily straightforward and once you do, it is about collaborative storytelling, something really not for everyone.

The upshot of which is that if you find your groove in such a site, you can quite happily engage with people producing new content every day.

But to your underlying point: has the internet gotten boring? Yes. Too much commercialisation squeezing at the hobbyist market that existed 15-20 years ago, not to mention unsocial media chipping away at it.

I think part of the problem is that running your own stuff is harder than just posting on FB.
 

Soulwatcher

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While some years ago it was trendy to have your own blog or website, this seems to be difficult to find these days. On the first 5 pages of Google search results, almost all results were attributed to company blogs or content that is in some way connected to a commercial background.
I have to agree with you, a lot of subjects that I have looked up lately have been nothing but corporate websites that contain vague information and nothing (I feel like) nothing useful to read. But I am old school and a diehard, and I am going to keep building my websites even if I am the only one talking on them. Because for me, it's a hobby, and eventually I will find like-minded individuals like me.
 

Pete

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That's kind of where it's at though: a certain amount of the world has adopted the internet as a method of making money. There are surprisingly few places that want to build a community around anything any more because that's more effort than reposting content to spam with ads.

That said, we shouldn't forget that corporate spaces *do* provably still want to build communities, the forum is not the sole province of the hobbyist though I get how it can absolutely look that way.

I am glad about being in the RP space for my hobby stuff, none of that works if you go commercial. It needs too much soul for that.
 

Zelda

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I think part of the problem is that running your own stuff is harder than just posting on FB.
Metaphorically speaking, you have hit the nail on the head.

If I were to stumble upon most forums today, I would be required to fill out what amounts to a survey to join. Assuming I do not need to wait for a staff member to approve my membership, I would still need to verify my e-mail address. Next, I would, in all likelihood, need to fill out another survey to complete my profile before I could post. If I were lucky, that would not be required, and I may still need to wait for someone to approve my post.

When it came to Facebook, I provided an e-mail and uploaded a photo. My phone number was already confirmed since I used their app. I verified my e-mail with a single click. Since Facebook's AI automatically confirmed my ID using their photo recognition software, I could post without waiting in about 30 seconds (give or take). There is no waiting or lengthy surveys or manual confirmations by staff members. I could post freely and effortlessly, and best of all, everyone I could ever know is already there.

It puzzles me why any forum would allow Facebook members to join, then proceeds to put up a world full of obstacles in their way. If I am honest, I almost gave up on this very site, for example. Joining a forum has become hard and a lengthy process that most people are not looking to wait for.
 

Pete

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I think that also depends largely on the niche you are in again... my site absolutely has the kinds of barriers you're talking about but they're not merely standard in our niche, they're almost *required* to be a viable contributor. Like this evening we had a signup submit their character for roleplay purposes... it was... not good, and letting them participate as a roleplayer in the ongoing stories with that character would be a disaster.

It's funny, I don't really remember signing up to Facebook because it was that long ago but I guarantee there was no AI reviewing my ID at the time because I couldn't have submitted with a phone, my phone was a Nokia 3330! Facebook also had the verification step to create the account (alternatively they use your phone with a phone number, which amounts to the same thing)

I think forums that allow FB users to join should probably try to cut down on the whole more-barriers thing, but fewer barriers doesn't equate to better members. It might equate to *more* members and *possibly* more posts but I wouldn't assume that more members automatically means more posts, let alone more good posts. But never say never, I guess?
 

zappaDPJ

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I don't find the Internet remotely boring although I agree with the general sentiment which of course is somewhat contradictory.

I spend many hours searching and reading about rare and vintage guitars on more platform types than I have time to list here. It's not uncommon to find myself still hammering the Internet at daybreak. In those terms the Internet is a mine of information and never boring.

On the other hand forums are generally a poor resource for the kind of thing I'm interested in and rarely visited. It's a great shame but for whatever reason in depth forum based discussion is as rare as the instruments I want to talk about.
 

Soulwatcher

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On the other hand forums are generally a poor resource for the kind of thing I'm interested in and rarely visited. It's a great shame but for whatever reason in depth forum based discussion is as rare as the instruments I want to talk about.
Almost all the websites/forums (on the subject) that I have visited in the past are gone. And they are replaced by companies trying to sell you stuff. And if they have any information they are very vague because they want you to buy their product.

I will just list one example my mom bought me a Dell Power Edge T40 server (I get it at the end of the month because its on back order) and I have been searching for reviews and I only found one worthwhile review and it has nothing to do with making it a Minecraft server. If this was 10 years ago I would have probably found all kinds of reviews on all the different types of server you could make it.

Thankfully I have been around the block so long that I already know how to make it a Minecraft server. But it would have been nice to read something about someone else setting it up as a Minecraft server and how they liked it.
 
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Nev_Dull

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I wouldn't say the internet has gotten boring. It's definitely gotten more commercial and finding new or interesting ideas and perspectives takes more effort. It's the people on the internet that have gotten lazy and boring. With such a huge volume of users being on mobile, the percentage of them who are willing to put effort into creating content is shrinking. Everyone wants the information they want to be there whenever they need it but almost no one wants to contribute to it.

That's part of the cycle. The early days of the internet and the web attracted those who wanted to share information with others. Creating and maintaining good content is hard work and many of those early creators have moved on. Now consumers form the majority of users online and much of the content creation is being done by those who are paid to do it. There are still lots of small sites out there where real people share ideas and views, you just don't find them on the first page of Google.
 

evcom

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Thank you all for your thought on this. I've gone actually somewhat the same way with my projects as the internet did. At first I've created experimental websites, then I shared information on more evolved sites. At some point my dev-knowledge was at a semi-professional level so I was morphing some projects into commercial sites. This returned mixed results as the competition is fierce and in today's world it's hard to keep up with development and all the rest, particularly as a one-person/start-up web-based company.

In the mean time I throttled back a bit. It seems the retreat from the commercial battle has removed some blur. And with it the deepened awareness, that the internet has changed it's face considerably. However, I still find it interesting to research it and find useful information.
 

Oldsmoboi

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I think it's gotten boring because everything is SELL SELL SELL. The only point to the internet now is to get eyeballs in front of ads. Even Wikipedia, one of the few truly free useful resources on the net still bombards you with donation requests every few months.

On top of that, any topic, and I do mean any, quickly devolves into a flaming match between trolls. You can't even look up a recipe these days without the comment section being filled with idiots harassing the author or each other while simultaneously being stupid. "This recipe sucks! I substituted rice flour for regular flour, coconut water for the heavy cream, and instead of yeast I used dust from my driveway, and it didn't come out anything like the picture and tastes terrible!"

It's just exhausting.
 

Defiant America

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Is talking about the Internet being boring acceptable to the mainstream media and establishment politicians? I wouldn't want to be cancelled because I talked about it.
 

davert

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I think one major issue is that it's becoming impossible to get any sort of ranking on Google, so even if you have a great blog, nobody will ever find it unless you are able to get links onto "authoritative" sites. Watching my own traffic on various sites, I've come to the conclusion Google even does some weird automatic traffic balancing within sites. I've been pretty frustrated by this, lately, and it doesn't help that there are. no. competitors. Only Google and sites tapping Google results.

I know most people slamming Google as "not letting my site grow" are spammers, but I used to love them for traffic... now their patterns revealed in traffic and Webmaster Tools just seem insane.

Can I also put in a sad nostalgic tribute to Yahoo, back in the beginning, when they really tried to catalog the entire Internet in usable ways - and to the Open Directory before they because so exclusive they apparently banned themselves?
 

davert

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If you look up a review (google) for most items, it produces a review on Amazon with a link to buy. How is this even remotely helpful? I miss the old days of bloggers who wrote out a complete 2- or 3-page review on the product.
Not to mention the spam sites that have the same review on 30 different domain names, or the domains made solely for spamming.

Like I said... Google has become the problem, since there's no other option. We rarely get pointed to good forums, unless you click on page 6 or some such. Google's algorithms have helped the bad sites more than the spam sites.

Their ideological love of the algo is a real problem.
 
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