Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Newspaper days

In some strange way I recognize that much of my relationship to the Internet is no different than how I related to the Newspapers of my youth. Newspapers were and are so comparatively limited, and the Internet is so vast, one might not think there would be so much commonality between them, but truly there is. What do I do on the Internet? I check the few things that are important to me, the sites that report on my hobbies for instance, whatever they are at the moment, I check headlines, weather, a cartoonist, a writer. It can all be done in 15 minutes and is a near mimic of my Newspaper habits of old.
How did I read the paper? A glance at headlines, a look at weather, when I was younger box scores were poured over, but always Peanuts, Doonesbury, then later, Bloom County for awhile, Calvin and Hobbes. If Miss Manners had a column that day it was a good day in the Newspaper. Maybe the opinion page, but mostly I only dug deeper if I had nothing else to do, wanted to draw out the morning, the time.

What difference is the Internet to me? Sure, it's wider, it folds in more resources; mail, reference library, TV, and it's everywhere, but it doesn't really seem to update any quicker than a Newspaper. In the end, if I really want to, I could be in and out of the Internet in the same way in those same 15 minutes.
I don't mean for this to be a big griping post about the Internet, though I have written my share and will no doubt write more, nor is this a great nostalgia for the Newspapers of my youth. Perhaps what it's really about is how things change slower than we think, or how things can look so very different on the outside, but you lift up the hood and the engine driving it all is astonishingly similar to all the ones before.

I would love for the Internet to be so packed with my favorite content that I could not hope to exhaust it before it is all new again. There would be 200 great daily comics. There would be people as clear and funny and fun as Miss Manners spilling out of the woodwork. The weather report would be inexhaustible, and columnists, my people, known on the Internet as bloggers, would be so interesting that I could not bear to miss a single day of them despite not having nearly the time for them all.

But it is curiously not so. I find no cartoonist the equivalent of Schultz or Breathed, though there are a few I like quite a bit, albeit many of them post only weekly. If I am flexible I can find one or two funny enough Miss Manners equivalents. The weather is the same thing I can find to this day on the Newspaper weather page, no deeper, just, uselessly I can find 20 versions of the same thing in different graphics. And bloggers, the daily columnists of the Internet, I am a little embarrassed to say that in a year of looking I have not found a one. Except me. Who I read every day. It doesn't take long.

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