5 Creeping Forms of Madness the Internet Is Spreading. Essay

Submitted By breedonkey
Words: 1314
Pages: 6

5 Creeping Forms of Madness the Internet Is Spreading
The Internet is making us all crazy. And I'm not talking about the obvious stuff, like third graders screaming racial epithets over Xbox Live, 4chan stalking, or YouTube (literally anything YouTube; it's all nutbars and crazyshakes up in that place). There is a subtle and creeping type of madness slipping into us as we stare numbly at our monitors, digesting an endless stream of cats adorably failing to do things. Mental disorders that have always been present, in some form, but are now becoming commonplace. Disorders like ...

#5. Link hoarding.
For me, it all started with work. I have to know things. It is part of my job to find the ridiculous -- to collect, catalog, and comment on the outlandish and strange information out there. So I started with the gateway drug: bookmarks. I began manually bookmarking every interesting link I found, and at first, I sorted through them every single week. All was right with the world. But then saving useful links wasn't enough anymore. I began downloading apps. I installed Instapaper and Dropbox, started using the "save" feature on Reddit. And let me tell you, brother, it is great! Now I never have to read anything ever again. Instead of clicking links, perusing their content, and then collecting that knowledge in my head, I now collect it on an external service just in case I want it later (spoiler: I apparently do not!). It's like building a library so you have somewhere to store the unread books that keep piling up on your nightstand.
#4. Impulse Gaming.
Okay, you caught me, I have broken 100 games in my personal Steam collection. So how did I find so much time to game when I work a part-time day job and babysit in my off hours, all while balancing a relationship and a social life? Simple! I don't play them. Well, that's not entirely fair. I have played perhaps 75 of those 100. It's just that, of those 75, I have only played about 50 for more than 10 minutes at a stretch. Of the 25 I haven't played at all, I knew, even at the time of purchase, that I was never going to play them. It's not the same thing as link hoarding: I wasn't collecting them because I thought I might need them later. It's because they were only $3 or $7 or $10 for the whole collection, marked down from fucking $600!
#3. Comfortable Playlisting.
I subscribe to both Spotify and Netflix. They're fantastic, excellent services. I heartily recommend them, especially if you never plan on experiencing anything new ever again. Oh, they offer the world: Netflix has more hours of entertainment in their back catalog than there are hours left in the lifespan of the universe. There have been perhaps two albums that Spotify didn't have available for instant streaming when I went to search for them. And therein lies the problem: They have so many options that they're bound to have your favorite thing. So there I am, with virtually every piece of televised or recorded media in the world at my fingertips -- all for less than 20 bucks a month -- and I'm watching reruns of Supernatural for the sixth time (god damn it, Bree, can't you see that you're all Dean has?!) and listening to the same album for the 500th time. We've always done this to some extent. We bought DVDs of our favorite movies and TV shows, reread our favorite books, listened to our favorite albums on repeat. But we had an excuse for repetition then: New stuff just wasn't available to us. Where do you look? Where do you even start? Do you really want to drop the money if you find something? What if it turns out that album sucks?
But that's not the same issue that services like Spotify and Netflix present to me. I subscribed to both of those services specifically to explore. I forked over my money and the hangar gates opened. Before me stretched boundless vistas of new content -- then I looked two feet to my left and noticed my favorite chair sitting there, and thought, "Damn, that looks comfy!" And I'm going…