April 6th, 2014
How to reinvent the internet and save our selves

Point #1

I believe that our brains, our privacy and our lives are being slowly hijacked by mass media. This applies to all media but the internet is the most recent to fall to the dark side. It happens slowly, over a long period of time, and we hardly notice it while it is happening. Our private brain space has been infiltrated with a lot of stuff that is of little to no value (invasive advertising in every corner of our lives), and it happens on a regular basis without our permission. Over time some of the messages from these things have the potential to creep into our psyches and wreak havoc. As well we may have feelings of mental overload, and a feeling of unease without really knowing the source. Our brains after all are sensitive instruments, how can we expect them to function at high capacity when they are overloaded and overstimulated? We know that if we have a diet of junk food, that our bodies do not function well and begin to fail us. Why is that we are willing to accept filling our psyches with crap also?

Point #2

I have noticed recently that the internet is undergoing another period of change, one where we are now being forced to watch ads (on Youtube for example) in the same manner as television (if we wish to participate in the medium of video sharing). Let’s be clear about something, a medium that is driven by ad revenue is no longer democratic and unbiased. This new development means that video sharing on Youtube, or any other medium that has regular advertising (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Goodreads, Flickr, blogs) no longer gives power to the people. It/they exists only to create ad revenue.

Point #3
And guess what? YOU are now the ad. Not only are we forced to watch the ads but we are actually being used to create them without our permission, (or at least our conscious permission, apparently we should have read the fine print).

Point #4

IF we are to inhabit a position of strength and retain our sense of selves, we need to take our power back. The companies who are forcing advertising on us and taking our rights and privacy away can only function if we hand our power over to them. We can say no, I’m not going to use them anymore. No I am not going to be used to create ad revenue for a large corporation who is acting immorally. We CAN use our voice by choosing who and how we align ourselves. We can place a high value on our brain space and not let it be infiltrated on a daily basis and filled with crap. We can choose something better. Something healthier. Something that adds something of value to the world. So what is a good alternative to Facebook? I am not sure about the answer to that. Why don’t we create it ourselves? The internet began with some really amazing communities that started small and grew.

Point #5

I am putting out a call to all creatives out there. We need some alternatives. That are not ad driven but people driven, compassionate, fair, lawful, honest, driven by integrity. One of the reasons people use Facebook is that there are few alternatives. I know there are people out there who are already working on these things. (So often they start out with such wonderful intentions only to sell the company for large amounts of money and let it turn into another ad driven, ugly, piece of crap (Flickr) with no regard for its users.) I will make my stand by opting out. But we need somewhere to redirect the energy.

Point #7

Dear internet,
I know we can do better. I believe in us. Let’s start with a new vision of the future. We need some new leaders. Are you willing?

Apr 6 2014
10:45 pm
Mel Kolstad writes:

I couldn’t agree more, Keri. There seems to be this agreement amongst my friends and I about how we only tolerate Facebook because we “have to” for our art pages and groups. And that’s the only good thing about it anymore – otherwise, I spend most of my time on Pinterest, which is still mainly ad-free.
But what if there were some social media site where only ideas and discourse were allowed? No plugs, no candidates, no drama, no shaming, no celebrity gossip, no ADVERTISING of any kind – only talk about music, art, books, hobbies, and all manner of high-minded thinking (I don’t mean “high” like that, but hey, if you’re open-minded, I don’t mind!). :) Is it too utopian an idea? I should think that among adults, it could happen! We’d just have to enforce the rules, is all. What do you think? :)

Apr 7 2014
2:41 am
Mirko writes:

“We can choose something better. Something healthier.”

:)

I

L o v e

y
o
u

you

:)

Apr 7 2014
4:43 am
Ross Mountney writes:

Totally love it Keri!

Apr 7 2014
8:20 am
Clara writes:

I agree wholeheartedly. As Austin Kleon said: “garbage in – garbage out” and I want to protect my mind and only fill it with amazing and energizing things.

Here is how I will start: If I see someone doing something that I like, wearing something that looks great, giving their seat up for someone else – I WILL TELL THEM.
Here is to more personal interaction and the “likes” that make everyone smile.

Apr 7 2014
8:42 am
Margarida writes:

We need to save ourselves from this, I think I’m going crazy with all this junk pages as facebook, youtube and many more…

Apr 7 2014
9:45 am
Heather Costaras writes:

Couldn’t agree more. Would definitely support something new… I am so tired of being manipulated by greedy, money-driven corporations…. would love to plug in with the doers, makers, dreamers, questioners, thinkers… without constantly being advertised to…. whether I want it or not…. whether I like it or not. I’ll be keeping up with you and this thread…. :-)

Apr 7 2014
10:11 am
Wendy writes:

I could not agree more, Keri. I do see wonderful workshops and weekends advertised for creatives and individuals who are trying to live a different path-those trying to live a truly connected life-the only problem is they are usually priced out of range for the average individual. How do we create an inclusive, accessible community?

Apr 7 2014
10:23 am
Mary writes:

Well said! I find it so disconcerting when network news stations quote twitter and facebook as if they’re news sources. There’s no purity – just constant recycling of garbage.

Apr 7 2014
11:48 am
merrie rheingans writes:

I couldn’t agree more. My part… #1 stop staring at a screen and practice quietness whenever the opportunity arises. Just sit quietly and notice the world and people. #2 Have more interpersonal conversations. Teach our children to interact with One another by having electronic free environments and dinner conversations. Let’s teach a new social media, face to face, civil, conversation, before it disappears.
Thank you for bleaching the subject!

Apr 7 2014
2:04 pm
Barbara writes:

I hear you. And I agree, it would be a better world without advertising. I especially hate those sponsored posts on twitter, which I always read and get angry that I did not realize before what they are. I won’t even start on flickr. But, I think its an amazing thing, that watching 4 seconds of an ad on youtube can make it possible for somebody to earn his livelyhood from making videos and posting them there. I’m also pretty ambivalent about facebook. I agree you kinda sell your soul to get to use the plattform, I try to use it as conscously as I can. I’m not really sure though how an ad free equivalent could work, somebody has to pay for the developement and the bandwith.

Apr 7 2014
2:19 pm
Anj writes:

I agree with you. Facebook and Youtube and Flickr — they’ve become so ugly in so many ways. I’ve cancelled my own accounts because of it. It’s unfortunate, and I wonder how/why they always spiral downwards like that. I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on how to fund the alternatives, so that they are sustainable and the makers don’t feel the need to succumb to selling out at some later point. After all, someone has to pay the hosting bills, the programmers, the graphic designers, the user interface gurus, customer service folks, etc. I think the huge draw for Facebook and Youtube is that it doesn’t cost anyone any money to sign up and start posting content. How can we offer something of a higher caliber for free? If people are not willing to support it via subscription, for example, then I presume that’s the usual reason why site owners resort to advertising. I’m not condoning it, I’m just wondering what viable alternatives there are in order to make it worthwhile for both users and makers.

Apr 7 2014
7:56 pm
kathleen rose writes:

Great post. I have a Chrome extension that blocks all ads — a bandaid solution to the problem, but at least I feel I have more control over what I look at every day. My ideal internet (and world) is one not plastered in advertisements. I find it disturbing that Google ‘knows’ me and I am just waiting until Facebook becomes unpopular…

If I see that a site is covered with ads, I have much less respect for it. I am more likely to get fed up and leave quickly. If bloggers constantly do sponsored posts I trust them less. Conversely, if a site has no ads at all, I am more likely to be loyal to them since they run their site with integrity. And I am more likely to buy their products to support them.

Apr 8 2014
7:12 am
Finne writes:

I’m using the ‘Hide Facebook Ads’ for Chrome extension!

Apr 9 2014
3:35 pm
Courtney writes:

The problem here is finding a new way to finance a site without using advertising. Sure, you can create a free site, but if you need a large amount of bandwith, and can’t maintain the site yourself, it will cost some money. I’ve seen many blogs start to take advertising, sponsored posts, or ask for donations just to keep their sites alive. I’m not talking about making a profit, either, just affording to keep a site running.

My three year old has already figured out how to click out of ads on you tube, so even he knows that’s not content he needs to see.

So, any ideas on how to change the system?

Apr 10 2014
5:34 am
smittens writes:

I am touched and inspired by your blog-post Keri and by the comments everyone has written. Literally I feel like jumping outside to the library and get a book (or two) and learn how this whole internet stuff really works and then think about how it could work in totally different ways!!!
My questions are: Why do we have to pay for bandwith? What is this thing/ duty called “bandwith”? What is the prevailing concept of it, and how can it be thought/ done differently?
Why do we differentiate between makers and users? Are all the “makers” happy with how virtual/ digital social media is used?
And how BIG does such an alternative (to the now existing internet) has to be? Is social media (and social movement) just about the bigger the better? (Get big fast?!) Or is there some magic possible in smaller communities, slower growth?

To sum it up:
Yes, I know there are financial and technical difficulties. But to me your (Keri) idea of reinventing the internet gives the great possibility to re-think the way of how the internet works.
Imagine it may work in way where we do not have to think about money, adds and … bandwith ;-)

Apr 10 2014
9:54 am
Lynn writes:

Use AdBlock. Stay away from Facebook, Twitter and all that other social media stuff you don’t really need to use. Life was good without it…and can be again. Oh, and keep your little children off the computer. Teach them about books and using their imagination and creating on paper. It’s a novel concept, I know. But you’ll be glad you did. It breaks my heart to see how people think life isn’t complete without technology. There is a happy medium. Dare to lie there.

Jun 9 2014
2:47 pm
Kelly Love writes:

May I share this idea with students?

Jun 19 2014
1:12 am
Amy A writes:

Right on… definitely using FB less and less – sad that it’s about data collection rather than about community, connection. Ok then. I would happily pay a nominal fee for a service that was truly a service, such as FB could have been. Like supporting the local library, which I love to do! “Unseen.is” is a promising org, but they are currently focused on getting their basic services up and running – great for email/chat in private, soon to offer a skype-like option. Meanwhile, we can continue to focus on what we are remembering really matters – amazing how the Internet allows us to “not miss anything” and yet, with the time we spend there, we risk missing the things which truly sustain and nurture us… as people, as communities – and so, I raise my glass to heart-art, hugs, great food, insane laughter so our bellies hurt, and spontaneous moments that can only happen when connecting out in this world we are so briefly a part of. Blessings Be! aa

Jun 24 2014
8:58 pm
Joanna Whitney writes:

http://transitioninaction.com/ this is actually an alternative social media network that does not have ads and is run by a local guy in Lafayette, CO. I agree wholeheartedly – now because I hve an older version of Safari I can’t even view certain websites so I am being cast the edges of internet society as well as the edges of society… as an artist.

Jul 25 2014
1:03 am
Erica Domiducas writes:

I just want you to know that a while ago, you inspired me to make my blog ad-free. My blog is an art/poetry/crochet blog and I want people to really enjoy my work, and not have to feel distracted by the ads. You rock, Keri!

 
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