Saturday, 20 July 2013

your free trial of the internet (inter alia) has expired

After the allure of free congress and enough free samples of everything imaginable, on-line culture is being slowly given a new paradigm that buries much of what the public has become addicted to, casually and without turning back, behind water-marks, clearing-houses, functionality splintered into thousands of idiosyncratic applications, paywalls, subscriptions and compartmentalized by various services that compete rather than communicate with one another, as Buzzfeed's Charlie Warzel presents in a brillant essay on this shift in attitudes and accessibility.

Of course, this pushers' modus operandi developed gradually, and having crossed the threshold of this gateway long ago (which the internet was never intended to be but no more and no less than a resource bridging connections among people and ideas), and the engineers maintaining the network, as well as the general public are not really noticing the drabness descending. It's probably beyond the scope of the article and smacks of tinny and misplaced nostalgia or neo-luddism (Luddismus, angst vor dem Neuland), but the trend seems like a metaphor for a lot of other movements and disclaimers draining the wholesomeness and fun out of things, displaced with approximations of safety, convenience and community, like the surveillance state and its litany of justifications or the empowered lobbies that peddle free samples of genetically-modified food and pharmaand general re-packaging and sponsorship that makes it hard to anything without submitting to some inscrutable authority. What do you think? If it is truly something that people are willing to accept, is this drift tolerated in the on-line world necessarily spilling over into everything else?