diaspora: a scattered population with a common origin in a smaller geographic locale. Diaspora can also refer to the movement of the population from its original homeland.
There’s a chance, being that you are using the Internet, that you are experiencing an intangible emptiness, a desire to fulfill a need you didn’t know you had.
You are far from alone. This is normal.
Many of us used the Internet around the year 2000 because it supplied things we couldn’t find elsewhere. Easy and plentiful pornography, hurtful humor, forums and blogs brimming with lolcows; all the schadenfreude one could stand.
That was then. Now those things are bait. They can cost you your job, your marriage, your livelihood. You could receive a “Public Shaming”, from a person who’s never even met you, and who eats their own boogers while molesting their infant sister.
You can be totally forgiven for walking away from the web. Forever.
If you’ll permit me a wild guess, you did it with TV, didn’t you?
Television is not allowed to manipulate you in the way that web advertising does. It depends on the country, but here, it’s more or less illegal.
When someone smokes in a movie or TV show, a caveat appears at the end of the credits, stating that no actor received compensation for the use of tobacco products. This is because in today’s world, it’s an endorsement. When you see the Ghostbusters lighting up in the 1984 original, it can be argued as a tacit admission that smoking is A-OK with the titular heroes. Kids who emulate them might possibly start smoking (even though we didn’t). Since parents can’t be trusted to provide guidance like before, the lines were blurred. Even Bruce Willis quits the cancer sticks after the first Die Hard.
All of this is a tacit admission: that there is no longer a difference between audiovisual entertainment and advertising. I myself am down to one or two new movies a year, and most of those literally feature giant versions of toys I later purchase.
That’s where the empty feeling comes from. You experienced genuine discovery, got a taste for it, and when you returned, the landscape was cluttered with deathless billboards. It is a natural malaise in life.
It’s part of achieving wisdom.
You feel unfulfilled on the web because you wizened. The more you learn about the Internet, the less you fear it. Exponentially, you surpass your previous knowledge, until all you’re doing is taking in information. That’s when it got boring; it became about osmosis, not discovery.
On this site, I create content on a regular basis, with the intent of entertaining readers. That is my professional relationship with the Internet, and has been for a long time. In the material world, I distribute comic books I create, which I promote on social media. That is my professional relationship with social media.
If you are dependent upon social media, ask yourself what you are getting out of it. Is it necessary for you to share your personal headspace with hundreds of people, every day? As an entertainer, I have layers of different thicknesses of skin, from dealing with the public for over half my life. Is it healthy for you to build up a similar shell? To what end?
Part of my persona is that I’m worse than a narcissist; I’m a solipsist. As a boy I thought only what I could see existed. I had to figure out that other people’s lives continued outside of my field of vision. I am straitjacket, rubber-room, Napoleon-hat material. That is my charm.
That’s how I can deal with “the Internet”.
The digital world is no place for the tenderfoot naif. By extension, it’s hell for children. I don’t believe children should be exposed to the web, at all, until they’re old enough to fight or fuck. See? You shouldn’t even flinch at a joke like that. If you shrugged it off, or better yet laughed, you’ll do fine on the Internet.
If your job does not involve the Internet or computers, then use them sparingly. You should not be indoors looking at a screen if you’re poring over people’s private lives like a lousy quidnunc. Everything in this paragraph is spelled correctly, thanks to books. Actually, that’s incorrect; I learned “quidnunc” from an episode of ALF where he used it playing Scrabble. It means “busybody”. Napoleon-hat material.
Students should have libraries, not laptops. That’s where the money should go, and would be spent more judiciously. Computers are the product of corporations, and laptops are as alien as smartphones. The software is updated by a company that will charge exorbitant sums for every version. It’s all bad, you’re supposed to think it’s bad, and shame on you for putting it in the hands of children.
We all get excited at the sight of a lighted screen. This is being abused, by advertisers. Every single ad uses text and a photo of a face, juxtaposed to subconsciously manipulate your emotions in under a second. Even if you make it go away, you still saw it. They still won.
It’s wrong. That’s why it “feels wrong”.
You don’t have to cut the Internet out of your life; just be fully aware that it’s not a necessity, and the chances that you will profit from it in any way are infinitesimal. If you are serious about being a content producer, set your sights low, be comfortable with throwing away money, and be happy with almost nothing. The digital world is very Zen, in that it’s all ultimately meaningless. Less than zero.
By contrast, every book you read improves your life. It is almost impossible for the human brain to process printed matter and not grow. If reading “isn’t your thing”, find a book you like, and force yourself. There are billions of books out there; by the law of averages, there must be at least a dozen just for you. Work reading into your life until it becomes a habit. If anyone ever rags on you for reading a book, tell ’em to go fuck themselves.