And I miss that old internet, too… that was a world, ultimately, of communities, where a hyperlink could boost a fledgling site’s traffic for a few days. It was a world that had many, many flaws, but it was one eventually built around the idea that if you created a place where people could gather based around shared interests, they ultimately would. It was the ideal of the original internet made real, an actual, virtual web spreading its tendrils about the world.
Now, however, our articles increasingly seem to be individual insects trapped in someone else’s web. The internet has the exact opposite problem of every other medium. Instead of going from something for everybody to something for a large series of hyper-specialized niches, we’re navigating the choppy seas where once stood an archipelago and increasingly stands a continent. As TV and music and even publishing become the internet, the internet is becoming everything else — and it’s taking so much of what seemed to make it special with it.