Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Does Internet Browsing Still Exist?

I've been thinking about this a bit recently. Does anyone still use the internet for browsing?

I talked about it a while ago, but have noticed the topic going around a bit recently.

I cannot remember the last time I browsed the internet. I go on for Facebook, for twitter, for news and so on. I never randomly explore, I just type it into google or Wikipedia and go. The curation and filtering gives me most of the stuff I would want to see anyway...

Perhaps it's a little strange we still call our internet software Browsers, or that we refer to browsing the web, which is now the last refuge of the bored user. What we do now is watch channels, or check our social content lists.

I think my analogy from two years ago still seems to ring true:

You remember having 4/5 tv channels, you always found something to watch. Then multi channel tv came along, and it was a realm of choice, every possible subject and whim catered for through the wonders of satellite technology.

There is infinite knowledge and content out there for us to explore. Accessing it has never been easier.

Then we got settled, then we chose favourites, then we flicked... we flicked some more... then we never stopped flicking. Our standards became so high that suddenly that half interesting documentary or obscure Indian film became wastage instead of the only thing on. We said 'there's nothing on!' even though there clearly was lots of things on.

Yet the more there is too see, the more fussy we get.

Well that's what is happening to the net. Facebook, twitter, blip, blogger, your news site... thats it. You are done. No time left to random surf, and even then you do it on wikipedia.

We use our filters to flick for us. The cloud searches en-mass, and we get everything handed to us, which just makes us more fussy. I used to read for hours about random topics because it was amazing to see so much detail. But when you can learn anything, what do you choose? Too much choice is no choice at all.

You could say the only browsing we do is flicking channels...


Hayes Ben Thompson said...

In your TV analogy, why flick through channels when you can flick through a guide?

On the Internet, why browse randomly when you can see a recommendation or a filter (facebook, twitter).

You're actually saving time and not getting bogged down in detail.

You can still flick. It just takes you less time (although, by the way, I don't know about you, but I still get lost for minutes/hours looking at random stuff).

Random flicking is alive and kicking.

Olle said...

I agree, usage has truly changed. Not to get technical and all teacher here... but the internet should be separated from the web (www). Only a part of the internet is www. But anyway. There's a Forrester article called "The Splinternet" about how it's fragmenting and at the same time most of all traffic is around very few sources as you say. Facebook, if you've liked many groups/pages, is essentially a big fat RSS reader.