Unbreak The Internet: The internet is broken — and not in the fun way.
But we can fix it.
|Aug 8, 2018|| 10|
Hello, and welcome to Unbreak the Internet, a weekly newsletter from me, Parker Molloy! I’m a Chicago-based writer with bylines in the the New York Times, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, Vice, and more. I was also a senior writer at Upworthy for 3 and a half years. I’m also very, very interested in media, culture, technology, and politics.
The internet is broken.
…and not in the fun “Kim-Kardashian-posing-on-the-cover-of-a-magazine” kind of way. No, what I mean by “broken” is that for so much potential and so many promises of a better world, the internet is falling short in almost every conceivable way.
We were told that we would be able to connect with people around the world in ways not yet imagined, and we were sold on the idea that this new ability to connect would create a better and more empathetic world. We were offered the chance to automate (or at least streamline) tedious tasks like bill paying and grocery shopping, and we were given the ability to work an ever-expanding number of jobs from home. We were shown the whole of human knowledge, and we were handed the keys to a more informed planet.
Each example, each feature came with unintended consequences. The ability to easily connect with each other has resulted in as much division as it has unification. We’re now able to seek out entire communities who believe the same exact things as we do, think the same way we do, understand the world the same way we do. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (at least in moderation, as communities can be important!), but it can be. Online bill paying and social media have given way to entirely new ways of identity theft. Access to unlimited information would be great… aside from the earlier point about polarization, which allows people to seek out news that confirms what they already believe, not to challenge their beliefs based on the facts as presented in the news. And these are just a few of the hundreds of examples I could point to.
The internet, this absolutely magnificent tool, is broken.
It doesn’t have to be broken. In fact, I think we can fix it.
And that — solutions and suggestions about how to create a better world through the internet and improve people’s experiences — is exactly what Unbreak the Internet will explore. This will all be done through the lens of social media, technology, culture, media, politics, and their many intersections.
An example of what you might expect from my writing (here and elsewhere), can be found today at the Verge. I discussed Twitter’s decision not to take action on Alex Jones’ account, and how some of the grief they’re experiencing has to do with the fact that their own Terms of Service aren’t exactly clear about what their rules actually are.
For the first couple months, this newsletter is going to be completely free, and you’ll be able to read it in your inbox or here on the site. After that, I plan to reassess where things are at, if it’s worth putting the time and energy into continuing the project with a paid tier (likely around $5 per month) while maintaining some free posts.
So hi! Please sign up, share it on social media and with your friends, and give it a shot, alright?