There are many reasons to love the internet. Whether it's the constant distractions, the advertisements or the endless amounts of utterly meaningless, user-generated content, there's something on the internet for everyone.
Depending on your age, you may remember a time when there was stuff to do other than go on the internet. Naturally, like any sensible person, I would pity you if you do. No one was really alive before the internet. That feeling you get when you send an instant message to beautiful woman, only to get a string of one-word, non-committal responses in reply, that feeling is the feeling of being motherfucking alive.
Not that I want to gush about the Internet or anything (I love it more than McDonald's loves fat people) but I can't overemphasize how much better all our lives have been since we can't do anything for five minutes without being interrupted. You'll be doing your taxes, or reviewing your busy social calendar, or simply sitting in your IKEA TULLSTA chair, staring at the ceiling, contemplating large amounts of credit card debt and unsatisfying relationships with your friends, family and coworkers, when something delightfully irrelevant soon happen.
Maybe you will receive an e-mail offering valuable coupons in exchange for your credit card number and personal information, or perhaps yet another lonely bride from the former USSR will express her sincere desire to be married to you, if only you could make a sizeable goodwill deposit of U.S. funds into an uncleared overseas bank account. I have never replied to one of these fine ladies but they seem pretty legit, and, hey, you can trust me - I'm a guy writing stuff on the internet! Distractions add a perception of meaning to our lives, and since all of our lives are more or less meaningless anyways, this perception goes a long way to making your world a bit more flourescent and pneumatic.
Of course, all this is to say nothing of the wide array of valuable offers and services that literally invade your home thanks to the Internet. For decades people had to exit their homes to be part of the dynamo of commerce known as the free market. But as a savvy internet user, you only need to go to any goddamn fucking site whatsoever to participate. Even your exposure to an interminable flurry of tasteless, socially irresponsible advertising fuels the economy through CPM marketing strategies. You don't even have to do anything except be a sponge for materialistic messaging schemes and negative imagery - and all of us are natural experts in that field, anyways.
For a period of time in the late '90s, we all had reason to believe that the internet had reached its crescendo. Rapidly flashing banner ads, animated gifs, AOL websites dedicated entirely to cat pictures - the internet had it all.
It was then that a young man with rosy cheeks, the curly hair of an athenian courtesan and a malificent twinkle in his eye appeared, along with two ethnic programmers who he would eventually betray. An altruistic and spiritual man, he devised a system for us to share our lives with others at no monetary cost, and also to personally make a serious fucking boatload of cash while doing it.
That man founded Facebook, the ubiquitous service and principal determinant of what our lives are. Before Facebook, it was probably impossible for people to find meaning to their lives. Everyone before Facebook was invented probably died unhappily. Finally, in the 21st century, we're entitled to all the user-generated content we can cram into the ever expanding hole in our soul. And, boy, do we love to fill that hole with strange things.
Facebook allows us to focus on the important things - who is dating who, who is still looking hot, or how many people recommend LMFAO's new video. We're free to choose from millions of different stupid videos, meaningless songs, and aseptic social cliques, all while being exposed to a half dozen advertisements per page. And that's only per page. You probably refresh your profile 100 times in a day. No wonder Facebook is making the largest public offering of any company in history. Pretty impressive, for a free service!
In conclusion, I hope my thoughts will help you navigate the wonderland of credit card fraud and cheaply accessible pornography that is the internet. I know it won't be possible for you to enjoy the internet any more than you do now, but I thought I would try anyways.
daniel stern is a freelance writer. You can probably find him on Facebook right now.