I’m thinking about starting to write more opinions in this space. If I do that, I will be disallowing comments, and I want you to understand why.

The internet is an amazing place where everybody can share their ideas and hear those shared by others. This is a welcome advancement, I think most of us would agree. Never before in human history could I easily, and quickly, read and hear the thoughts of other human beings from the entire opposite side of the world, with a completely different set of experiences and views from myself.

Unfortunately it has also brought the best and worst of all of our civilizations together in one hyperactive place where you hardly have time to finish a thought before someone tells you what *they* think.

I still remember, the first time I heard of PageRank, just how goddamn clever I thought that it was. More importantly, never have I seen a clearer expression of the “marketplace of ideas”. Sure, plenty of people tried to exploit it — can you blame them? — but the fundamental idea was sound: each link on the internet represents some real person’s perceived value of the site linked, and in aggregate, we can determine which sites on the internet are the most popular.

It turned out that the sites that were the most popular, and those that have become the largest today, are those that allowed the freest expression of ideas. Unfortunately, Twitter and Facebook have turned into fire-hoses for noise. Every opinion — good and bad — finds representation and support in its own strange social echo-chamber-Venn-diagram sort of way, and most of them are abstract and nuanced (not surprising because everyone is different). Half the time I can’t tell what the author’s real opinion even is. All of it is fueled by “like” and “follow” metrics that reward people with little releases of dopamine if they push the envelope just a little bit but not too much. We’ve surrounded ourselves with people like us, insulating ourselves from anyone or anything that presents a real challenge, and when those people click “like” we think it proves that what we’ve written is true, when in reality it only proves that you indeed chose friends like you.

I don’t want to fall into that trap. I want to write what I believe because I believe it. I want my articles to be linked — not commented on — if my opinions are well-liked. I want to be shown in the Google results at exactly the most appropriate spot based on the people who control the content on other sites.

If you want to respond to something I said, post your response elsewhere and e-mail me. I’ll link it (and probably respond).

Categories: Opinion