Jul 17, 2015

A Few Good Things on the Internet

Existing, being, interacting, and reading the internet is enough to give you an ulcer. I used to have people to complain with regularly about how awful the internet was, but since I’ve moved across the country and need to make new friends, I don’t want to be known as the person who complains about the internet. What’s the point? I also love it, as someone who has interacted with it daily since she was 12, loves it. I love what you can make with it; I love how you can interact with people you like on it. But the internet, on the regular, makes me feel loneliness, frustration, and anger, with its kneejerk reactions, fleeting obsessions, article dogpiles, and reportage of the most mundane of activities. (Somebody tweets.)

I’m especally lonely now—sometimes I avoid Facebook or Instagram on weekends where I know a large group of people I know are hanging out somewhere and having fun where I’m not. If I don’t see evidence of it, the ache is amorphous. There are no images to fixate on. I can only imagine things. 

This is another one of those weekends. Many of my friends are at a music festival in Wisconsin. What a peculiar ache. Tomorrow morning I’ll ride my bike by the ocean and in the afternoon, I’ll ride a ferry across the bay. In the down hours I’ll spend time in a bookstore, I’ll clean the apartment, I’ll bake some banana bread. Whatever it takes to take up time. 

Good thing #1: OKREAL What could be an obnoxious website containing interviews with stupidly successful women isn’t. Its tone feels more honest than other similar websites. 

Good thing #2: Abdi and the Golden Ticket on This American Life. Now that I have a 20 minute walking commute, I listen to a lot more podcasts. This one was fantastic.

Good thing #3: “Off Diamond Head” by William Finnegan in The New Yorker. A beautiful piece from a few weeks ago about being a surfer, and an outsider, in Hawaii. Finnegan’s book, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life comes out next week.

Good thing not on the internet but about the internet: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. I read the first 12 pages of this in a bookstore and an excerpt in The New Yorker, probably, some time ago. Going to circle back to it when I finish the stack of 20 books by my bedside table. (Or… go to the bookstore this weekend.)

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