February 8, 2014

"Competitiveness about 'I know the Internet better than you do,' is really out of date."

"Nobody 'knows the Internet' well enough to count anymore. Maybe a decade ago, but even then there was more than anyone could digest."

Says Instapundit, linking to me, which he's been doing since a decade ago, and I know the internet well enough to know it's nice to get an Instapundit link, and it wasn't me that was getting competitive in the "I know the Internet better than you do" mode. I was quoting Susan Orlean, nattering inanely about keeping up with internet things like @Horse_ebooks and "This Is My Milwaukee."

ADDED: Even more so than in the nonvirtual world, we all go where we want, and I want to be here, after I've gone out following my whims and predelictions, showing you what I've found and nattering, possibly not always inanely, with the lucky consequence that you've chosen to browse here.


Jay Vogt said...

"Innane nattering" is the new "palpable bitchery"

Howard said...

Being ignorant of the vast majority of the internet cubbyholes is a feature, not a bug. Discrimination is the most direct path to wealth, health and happiness.

Richard Dolan said...

What's with the giraffe grabbing a snack? That's not browsing, not even close.

As for 'I know the I-net better than you,' being out of date, back in the day it would have been 'I know the book stacks better than you.' It was silly then, too. At any decent library, no one had a clue about what was there. As an u-grad, before there was an I-net (Al hadn't dreamed it up yet), I would wander in the stacks. Sterling library had millions of books, and zillions of pamphlets, letters and other not-quite-books, that no one had looked at since the day they were plopped on the shelves. No one knew the stacks. But you could open anything there at random, and start a conversation with the long-dead author.

The stacks and how people experienced them aren't all that different from how we experience the I-net now, with the big difference that interaction with the author then was an exercise in imagination while now it's can be a bit more direct.

Another thing I learned. The hyphen is your friend.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

While "knowing" the internet is a little like "knowing" the cosmos, and I can't presume to "know" either one exhaustively, I can at least claim a longer acquaintance with it than most. I was logging on, via my good old Commodore 64, back in 1987, before there was a World Wide Web. All there was in those days, apart from research sites I couldn't access, were EasySabre and bulletin boards inhabited by geeks. Come to think of it, that last is a pretty good description of Althouse.

Bob R said...

I think Orlean started this off badly with the phrase "competitiveness about 'I know the internet better than you' is pretty profound." Maybe I'm giving her more credit than she deserves, but I think she intended to say "competitiveness about unearthing the NEXT BIG THING on the internet is pretty profound."

That would certainly parallel the situation in music. Nobody can really know "the music industry" if you count every underground club, jam session, and church choir. But people are intensely competitive about "discovering" emerging artists (usually focusing on only a couple of genres.)

Ann Althouse said...

"What's with the giraffe grabbing a snack? That's not browsing, not even close."

How do you figure that? The first meaning of "browse" is "To feed on the leaves and shoots of trees and bushes; to crop the shoots or tender parts of rough plants for food: said of goats, deer, cattle. (Sometimes carelessly used for graze, but properly implying the cropping of scanty vegetation.)" OED.

I thought it was a good visual joke because of Instapundit's "there was more than anyone could digest."

Ann Althouse said...

Are you saying I should have found a depiction of an animal going after scantier vegetation?

But the internet is lush…

And yet we say "browse."

Anonymous said...

The Internet is Best Understood as the Longest Bob Dylan Song Ever.

Bob R said...

Even longer than Tempest?

Ann Althouse said...

I wonder if Bob goes on the internet.

And if he does, where does he go?

Does he keep a Google Alert on his name, like I do?

If he ever ends up here, does he find me (us) creepy?

Does he find everyone creepy?

He must go on the internet. How could he not?

He's out there traveling around, in hotels. What do you do in a hotel? Either you turn on the TV, you read a book, or you go on the internet. (I guess it's possible that you interact with in-the-flesh humans, but I don't think a 73-year-old man does that too much.)