The Internet Sucks

This is a rant, pure and simple, and maybe my judgmental asshole side is coming out just a bit too much, but I hate it so much.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about starting over. I used my physical fitness journey as the setting, but the point — THE ACTUAL POINT — was to share how starting again from 0 after gaining and losing a bunch of progress really sucks. It served a therapeutic purpose for me and a few people in my circle, both from the starting over standpoint and the commiseration about the struggles of physical fitness for people like me (busy, unhealthy relationship with food, experiencing significant life changes, etc.), but it did not get that much traction in those circles.

I also just wrote it. I had a mentally bad first day trying to restart, so I sat down and wrote a bunch of words hoping maybe work through some things. I would call it half-assed, but a friend lovingly told me it very much did not feel that way, so I will own I can actually write well on command. It certainly did not come from a place of preparation or polishing, for sure.

Sharing it is just my process; I figured it would get me a message of encouragement I did not want (it did not) or maybe some friends in my boat would see a friendly face in the boat (it did).

You know what I did not expect? 27 fitness blogs liking my post. More likes than any other post has even gotten on my site (I think maybe I have gotten more attention on one other post, but that attention stayed on Facebook).

You know what I really do not like? Fitness blogs. I do not want to subject you to a rant about fitness blogs, but “if you try hard enough, you, too, can be an Adonis” veiled in feel-good, fake encouragement makes me want to eat 3 Big Macs out of spike.

But I would just let it go. Or rather, I would just rant about it to friends and watch them roll their eyes at me.I posted a reflection on Ash Wednesday. Not my best work, but definitely more on-brand and better thought out than my fitness post. 15 views, zero likes, also very on-brand for me and this blog.

And weirdly, the likes stopped. Which made my ego feel bad but my heart feel good because at least the post I almost regretted posted stopped getting fake traction.

Then last night the camel found the last straw. I received a contact requesting the opportunity write an article on my blog. Presumably because that post, that bane of my existence post, got a bunch of traction.

Maybe I landed into a heck of a coincidence; sometimes you just randomly get those spam contacts. But holy moly, I really, really dislike the coincidence.

I miss the old internet. The Wild West had its problems, but it was better than this capitalist hellscape.

You kids, get off my lawn!

– Robby

The Internet Must Be Neutral

President Trump has made a major goal to end Net Neutrality.  Not making it up; Sean Spicer said as much.  I will attempt to write this as a pastor, not as someone who was a techie in a past life or a consumer, but as a pastor.  This is a response to something that I find abhorrent, and I have made it a promise to call out those things I find abhorrent no matter the letter behind the name.

The idea of Net Neutrality is simple: every bit of data is equal.  As long as bandwidth exists, no data has priority.  There is a conversation about entertainment and competition in that field, but that is not part of my pastoral view.

I care about information.  I believe that the internet has had the greatest effect on the availability of information of any technology in the history of humanity.  The printing press brought the written word to people; the internet brings all of the written words to everyone.

All information, today, is equal.  No one can pay to make certain information more available than other information, no one can pay to make it arrive faster, no one can pay to give it priority.  Within the constrains of the present technology, all information is neutral.

Removing Net Neutrality changes that.  It allows ISPs to provide “Fast Lanes” for those who are willing/able to pay.  Again, not going to talk about entertainment and business, only information.  If a certain news company can pay for the fast lane, and another news company cannot (or will not), then their news and their information is more available.

If this is allowed to happen, money will begin to determine “truth.”  Those who are rich will tell those who are not the information they deem important enough to spend money getting into the “Fast Lane.”  Those with power and resources will be able to effectively restrict information by making it more and more difficult to access unless they approve it by paying to make it more available.

Information must be neutral in terms of availability if the internet is to continue having the great effect on the civilization that is has now.  If information becomes prioritized by money, that effect will slowly die and the internet will not longer be the great thing it is now.

The internet must be neutral.

– Robby

P.S.: I know this does not scratch the surface of competition, monopolizing services, or the politics of regulation vs. deregulation, but, as a pastor, my only concern is that information and truth be completely available and the opportunity to judge all information be given to all people, not just the people who would determine which information gets priority.