Death of the Web
The State of the Web
January 25, 1999

The Cool Site of the Year awards were held this year at New York City's very own Webster Hall. By itself, Webster Hall is a symbol of exclusiveness around the hip, in crowd set of the New York party crowd.

Or should I call them a community?

Regardless, the New York Times today ran a short article on how Robin Leech, the man tapped to be the MC, was drowned out by the 700 party-goers. He became a victim of the latest fad, you see, to decry that the web has become what it has become. Whatever that is.

The most accepted version that I can deduce is that it has become a commercially driven medium that is not actually viable as a commercial medium, except in rare and shining cases such as It is unoriginal and the life has been sucked out of it original free-flowing and cohesive community.

Or should I say, insular and exclusionary based upon the requisite hardware, software, and patience to get the know-how to get online?

So much energy is expended by the 'elder' population of the web making sure that it is known that they do not support the web. They, in fact hate it. You must make fun of the web. You must make fun or organized parties dedicated to the web's commercial side, such as the Cool Site of the Year awards. But you must attend said party to see if you won. But you must make fun of all the companies trying to seal their wares using pens and napkins emblazoned with their dot com signature.

You see, it's not longer what it was. The good old days are gone and the new entrants have mucked it all up with their new fangled ideas and directions. Poorly executed ones at that, we should add.

You must visit other people's sites and explain to them, in no uncertain terms, that if they wanted to make their site better, they should make it more like yours. Then you must complain that no one is original and they all copy your design.

You must form factions delineating what your corresponding groups believe is tasteful, not tasteful, acceptable web adequate, and not acceptable. What is good, and what isn't.

Ah, I seem to be getting off topic.

What am I specifically trying to say? That the culture of cool on the web is the same exact one that teenagers around the world worship; that of not being trendy. By jumping on the bandwagon of not being commercial, not being this, not being that, they avoid jumping on the bandwagon, and thus are unique individuals.

It is a symptom of a greater issue that seems to permeate life on or offline. The all encompassing 'used to be.' "Man, kids used to have more respect for adults." "Man, people used to stay together and not get divorced." "I used to like my job." "This neighborhood used to be so nice."

Yeah, things change, some for the better, some for the worse when Jo-Jo the drug dealer moves in next door. But make a choice. Don't be a convenient part of the system when you want it and then cite 'creative differences' in the next breath. Don't participate in the mass marketing and maybe your pocketbook will make a bigger impact than your heckling of some guy who obviously walked into something he didn't know about and was unprepared for.

If you're so worried about the ridiculous way that companies are jumping on the commercialization bandwagon, speak in their language and just don't pay to go to the freaking thing.


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