Webbing Out

OK cyberpunk Internet info pimps, where do we get time to go on-line?Internet schminternet. Web this! I'm a little steamed, but why not? We've been had.If you aren't as tired as I am of the constant bombardment of your senses to get you to watch television news, tune in some radio morning team or the latest -- to lock into the World Wide Web for some "revolutionary" local on-line service that's going to save you time and make your life so much better -- you may already be dead, a victim of data suffocation.Maybe you're like me: I thought, "I believe in the Internet."I just didn't know why. So, I got to thinking. That's when I realized I was being brainwashed from every direction. I don't really use the damn thing, neither do you.You'll have to permit me to change hats here for a couple of minutes of your precious time to explain. Because that's what this information explosion is really all about: your precious time.The writer/reporter hat's off. I'm now wearing the "daddy" hat. If you don't have kids as I write about the following, feel free to substitute in that challenging relationship with your significant other, your demanding job, your sick pets, weird family members, problem friends -- any situation that drains your time the way a black hole sucks in space.A day in the life: Get up early. Think about work. Shower, etc. Rustle breakfast. Rouse grumpy kids. Snap on cartoons. Feed everyone. Get on kids' backs about getting dressed for school. Change the little one, dress her. Make lunches, pack backpacks, get yourself ready, take kids to school/day care, go to work. Work all day. Pick up kids, take the bigger ones to respective baseball and soccer practices at the same time on different fields across town from each other, use the bigger kids' practice time to run to the grocery store with the munchkin, retrieve kids, go home, unload, cook, eat, do homework, get on kids' backs to get ready for bed. Go to bed yourself worrying about paying for the above.Repeat the next day.OK, cyberpunk Internet info pimps -- you tell us, where in there do we have time to hack into your on-line service? Huh? How is it you are going to save us time?I timed how long it takes to get into my new local on-line service, City Search, the other day ... and I timed how long it takes to hit my local alternative weekly page, too. They both have interesting things to offer, but it was about 10 minutes each to get there on a fast access server, not including the time it took to get to a wired computer. In fact, just the name City Search tells you time will have to be invested in a search. If I want to spend time searching for something, I'll volunteer with the Sheriff's Search and Rescue, where I can find injured and lost people.After you hit these "Websites," you can invest much more time shopping around with your clicker. Of course, this presupposes you have a computer, you know how it works and you have an Internet provider to get you in at about 20 bucks a month for starters.The money thing -- let's not forget that. I laid out $3,000 for my computer. I had to, it's my job.Maybe your Internet access bill is in addition to a $40 per month cable television bill and a $40 per month basic and long-distance phone bill. That's a Ben Franklin right there. Add a local daily newspaper subscription, a couple of your favorite magazines and, God forbid, a book you might buy, and your shelling out some cash to load yourself with information you can't possibly fully digest.There is so much damn information crushing us you can barely escape it. That's why the recreation industry is booming in this country. People are so sick and tired of stuff like the "Satch" ads, freeway billboards featuring overweight, over-the-hill news anchors, the World Wide Web, Web TV, "Must See TV," click-on non-linear information stream real time "vital" information stuff -- that they head for the deserts, mountains and oceans to hide.Do you think they are bringing their satellite laptops with them? If you do, your sick egos need an adjustment.That's why I like this friendly little weekly paper. Pick it up, put it down. Spend three minutes with it here. Another five minutes there. Somebody told me, "You throw it on the front seat and when you're stuck in line at the Wendy's drive-in window you can read for a couple of minutes."Exactly!I know moms who live the precise daily schedule I outlined. They scan the paper or read a book at 10:30 every night after the kids are down and they get in bed. In 10 minutes, they're falling asleep, exhausted from working and raising families. Millions of Americans, most Americans, live just that way. At least the Americans who have money to spend. And they are the people the on-line folks want using their advertising-rich local services.Most Americans -- and this will not change as long as the money- driven society we have created remains -- will never have the time to invest in the Internet in a broad sense. People use it like the dictionary, or as a substitute for the telephone. Mostly, they use it for their jobs, which means, for most of us, the Internet really represents work! Ehhh.There you go, cyberteers. See if you can get the affluent, employed crowd to dig into your service every day where they can find your advertisers' billboards plastered all over your electronic pages -- and do it just for the sheer hell of it.It's not going to happen for a very long time, if ever. Because, when your demographic audience, the 22-year-olds who live on the computer get older -- they'll change, just like the rest of us -- and they won't have any extra time. And don't tell me about "hits." We both know they mean nothing with lost souls wondering all over the Net finding you by accident.Are you listening AT&T? How about you, Gates? Mr. Billionaire Windows "Sidewalk," soon-to-be the next on-line city directory mogul.I'm talking to you Windowsboy. When your "revolutionary" service arrives, little Salt Lake City will have five local on-line operations: Private Eye Weekly's, City Search, The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News to go with Sidewalk.I know this town has come a long way, but you're kidding, right?Hey, Gates, why don't you come down out of the castle you built yourself up in Bellevue, Wash. and teach my son how to field grounders, pal? We'll call it a reality check.

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