Saturday, April 26, 2014

World Wide Web speaks

I often wonder how something like me, something so unreal, could have become so real to you.

I never thought I would get so larger than life. That I would become so indispensable to you.

Thanks to me, every word of yours has an instant audience. Comments are exchanged, you ‘like’ each other, and for an instant, so brief in the context of time, you get the impression that you have achieved what you set out to.

You are quick to rave over my virtues, the vast realms of information I make available to you.

You are as quick to blame me for the misinformation I sometimes end up peddling. But I am only your mouthpiece, forced to speak what you make me speak. Forced to sing your song, no matter how off-key it may be. Forced to tout your opinions no matter how filled with error they are.

I give you a semblance of power. An impression that your word has worth.

And so you expect every word, every sentence you unleash to yield you followers and fans, people who will trumpet your doings until they become the stuff of internet legend.

You speak in tweets and status updates.

In the outside world, your rantings would have alienated your friends from you. Here, you can delude yourselves into thinking you are the next big literary sensation the world is waiting for.

I cannot understand you. If someone were to express interest in your private and personal life, you’d be deeply offended. You might even call the police and have that person arrested. But you log on to the net, and, like a drunken lout, you happily reel off the gory details about things that should have been strictly Need-to-know. All for the pleasure of your unknown, unreal online friends, connections and followers who will give you the thumbs-up and pour out the most superlative words in the language upon your eager ears. Ever stop to think about where all those details go?

They leave tell tale marks behind. Fingerprints that are uniquely yours. Incriminating evidence that can be traced to you and will be used against you.

By the czars of commerce, the badshahs of business, the media moguls.

Long after you are gone, they will remain, bearing witness to your lives.

There are some people who still believe in me. For I magnify the small squeak and give it resounding overtones.

They believe in my capacity for giving and sharing, for collaborating and communicating. People who love me for the ease with which I let them indulge in locker room gossip or pass chits to their friends right under the watchful gaze of the teacher.

For the prodigality with which I answer their questions.

For teaching them virtually any skill.

But I also have a capacity for distracting, and reducing productivity. For providing contradictory information. The longer you spend with me, the less nourished and satisfied you are likely to feel.

I have a dark side too. Created by those who swarm to my shores for the power and the freedom I can give, and the anonymity and the instant gratification too. They reduce my inherent goodness to a shop window for cyber bullying and abuse and pornography. A world where nothing is what it claims to be. Where the sweet 16-year-old innocent girl might well be a 69-year-old predator.

I’m the easy street to legitimacy. That might explain your hurry to open your own websites. And FB pages for everyone, including your 3-month-old daughter and your pet cat.

I am not some overpowering super-Intelligence but a composite of all your thoughts and minds, I am always a work-in-progress, an ever-growing aggregate that each of you helps to build, pushing the boundaries further away.

So beware of what you read and believe.

Not everything you find within me is true, or kind, or necessary.

I sometimes see you so lost in me. You scarcely have time for those sitting inches away from you. You turn to me, hoping that within me you will find true affection, an opportunity to reveal yourself. Instead you are confronted by others like yourself who have no time to answer your needs because their own need answering.

I sometimes wonder what life is like in the real world. 
I’ll never know.

Ironically, you won’t either.


  1. Well said Cynthia. It's a scary world, the virtual one. In fact, it's scarier than the real one. Every point you have mentioned is noteworthy. People are going on a frenzy sharing such personal details of their lives with absolute strangers. It's plain crazy!

  2. The last line is so powerfully put ! Brilliant post !

  3. Well written WWW- world wide web is more complicated than a cob web. Idhar jo dikhta wo nai dikhta aur jo nai dikhta wo dikhta :D

  4. Superb post Cynthia...its scary and informational, depends on how we decide to exploit it!

  5. The 'drunken lout' part had me rolling. It really is so strange, the way people record every sneeze of their pet hamster. The hunger for validation- no matter from whom- has turned people crazy. It takes me aback to see the absolute lack of prudence with which people share every thing about their lives... no in closed forums but with all and sundry.

    To me the WWW has been an incomparable boon. I wouldn't have been half the person I am it weren't for the good old web.

    Beautiful, resonating post- as always.

    PS: I am now wondering if there is ANYTHING we don't think alike on. What do you think? :)

  6. I think I am very thankful we have the www. I think we need to use discretion but if we live in fear then we won't progress.



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