My Kitchen and the Internet


can I make a suggestion?

The Internet is a mess. I think it would all look and operate much much better if we all started tiding it up a bit. 

Think about you life, your home, your kitchen, yes… your kitchen. You have everything in its place; cupboards, shelving, appliances, various surfaces for specific items – its organised. We can function within it because we know where to find things. Go outside, you’ll see other homes, neatly positioned, numbered, addressed and stretching out along roads, which are in turn signposted. Take a look at any area, location, city and object, it has an organised structure and/or a place to sit within another object or position. If there isn’t order, we create it. And why do we do this? because nature does it. Its all around, we’re used to it and we function better if things ‘fit’ and we can see our way through it and forward to the next location or within it to operate for as long as we need. 

We need order to live. 

One of the things I come across a lot of when talking to people about the Internet and things to do and visit on it, is the chaos and confusion in people eyes, over the choice and uncertainty of where to go and what to look at. We’re all told of the scale of the Internet, yet we’re not presented with a road map or order so as to navigate it effectively. Because of this, I think people fear it. And those that don’t, end up following other people around showing them where to go. Everyones on MySpace ‘I must get a MySpace too’. Everyones on Facebook ‘I must go on Facebook now’. Everyones on Twitter ‘I must get myself on Twitter as well’. Sheep. People are just following people, because we’re all lost. 

All of us – particularly the people that think they know what they’re doing. Me included. I’m just following people around like the rest of the crowd. I have no-idea where I’m going most of the time, tho I am very happy just discovering stuff. But I, we, are different. We’re embracing this stuff, admitting that we don’t know, and wandering anyway – trying stuff. 

For everyone else, those that aren’t so digitally liberal, its all a bit scary. Its not a fun place. Which is why I believe that people follow others, why sites spike with popularity, then shift, taking thousands and millions with them. Flooding an area of ‘in flavour’ popularity. 

To fix this – we need to look at the beginning of the Internet. Well not the absolute beginning, but the time when it started to work properly. 56k modems, free accounts and dodgy homepages. A time when we were all served up a slice of the Internet in one ‘ISP forced mouthful’… ahhh those were the days. Apart from, erm, some people still have and use them…eeek! (my parents included). 

This is the ‘order’ that newbies need. What’s the point of having an Internet so full of ‘stuff n numbers n shit’ (to quote Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading) if we don’t have any road signs as where to go. 

Sooooo…. I’m proposing in this collaborative landscape we now call the Internet, is to produce one. A homepage – for the Internet, that is. 

Imagine firing up a computer, and getting a page of sites, categorised and ordered, based on authority, popularity, frequency and search requests. Data pulled from all the popular bookmarking sites, everything ‘thumbs up’, tweeted, ‘5 starred’ and shared. One page that we vote as worthy of visiting – maybe we should be able to customise it too, maybe not – I don’t know, but consider how much easier Internet navigation would become. 

You wouldn’t have to keep it, or use it ever, but it would exist, and grow and evolve permanently, as a source of new and existing website content. A true Internet ‘start page’. 

This is doable surely? I think we and the Internet needs it.

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2 thoughts on “My Kitchen and the Internet”

  1. It sounds like it would offer substantially the same experience as digg, reddit, stumbleupon, del.icio.us, slashdot, etc.
    What’s different about it?

    The internet is much too big to offer any compendium of it. Even take a niche of it – say, webcomics – and then refine it – popular, critically acclaimed webcomics – and you still have a larger number of websites than you can feasibly visit periodically. The internet is like plunging your glass into the ocean and holding it up to see what you’ve got. I think the myriad nature of the internet is a strength, though – to really experience it you need to engage in the social side of it, find the communities who like what you like and the blogs who talk about topics that interest you. It’s like a library, there is too much content to read it all, so you have to go on advice and recommendation and keyword searching.

    I don’t mean to shoot your idea down, because it’s a good one… I just feel like what you describe isn’t a problem… and that people flocking to the “popular” sites isn’t because they’re lost but because they want to be using the exciting new thing everyone is talking about.

    If you followed Ze Frank’s one year video blog, he did an episode on the topic where he talked about it like a “wave” … you have people who are always out there looking for the next big wave, people trying to make the next big wave, people talking about them and pushing or pulling people towards them, and then this huge mass, most people, surfers, who are along for the ride.

    If you never saw it, I’d highly recommend it – The Show, with Ze Frank.

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