Does anyone else remember when it was cool to have a personal site? When the closest thing to clickbait was Viagra ads? When the internet didn't feel like a depressing place that tells you that every idea you have has already been done? When you weren't afraid of accidentally scrolling down into the terrible void know as the comments section, which seems to be the same on every video?
What exactly happened? An obvious answer would be that the design trends changed. Before you used to cram in as many animated GIFs and autoplay MIDI files as you could.
Design is important, but is that the whole story?
Facebook's endless scrolling and non-chronological listings create a bit of anxiety, like you never know where you are in the page, so you better keep looking in case you missed something, and you better keep churning out short tweets, because anything longer is just going to get buried.
But that doesn't quite explain when the internet in general seems to have changed.
Another easy answer is that we have smartphones now. The internet isn't a place you go anymore, it's something you carry with you always.
But that doesn't quite seem good enough to explain why it seems like going online is... not the same anymore.
Is it really the internet that changed, or did we all just stop looking for the cool stuff? Why do we go to those boring clickbait sites anyway? Why don't we read about stuff we're interested in instead of refreshing Facebook far more times than needed.
Maybe the internet has gone to crap because it's trying to make *us* go to crap. The internet was a great place to talk about what was going on. But when the time-wasting and unenjoyable websites take over your life, there's nothing to talk about anymore.
Most of the stuff people enjoy looking at or reading takes effort, and there's always a Facebook tab there telling you "Stop reading that book. Don't you want to know how many likes you got?". There's still cool stuff on the internet, but it demands more attention than "just one more" listicle.
To take back the internet, you have to take back yourself.