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The internet changes things...

I have a new pet peeve. But it's new so I'm not sure I'd even call it a "pet peeve" yet. It's just something I've noticed that makes me scratch my head and wonder what to say.

Humble brag alert...I was recently interviewed by a writer from Time magazine (as part of a possible upcoming cover story) about being (roughly) a Millennial, a parent, a Stay At Home Dad, a technology fan, etc. and I noticed in my chat with her that a theme kept coming up. Mainly, that my life--the world today, really--is only possible because of the internet. Am I isolated as a dad? Do I lack good advice or information as a parent? Not really. Because there's a huge community of random people you'd never have been able to connect with in the old days...only now they're at my fingertips. Would I be miserable 20 years ago? Yes. Absolutely. Am I probably the only person in my neighborhood who roasts his own coffee? Maybe. Thanks to the internet I can log on and find a thousand other people though.

The thing I've noticed, however, is that some people forget the internet exists even though they're using it. Let me explain...a great example is how companies and politicians make mistakes all the time not realizing that their error is going to be around the world in 5 minutes. Somebody will call you on your flub. Don't try to erase it. Own it. It won't go away. It's called Google and I can easily see that mice from South America don't have an extra tail.

This works for normal people though, too. Whether it's someone selling an expensive bicycle, farmland, job searching...some people seem to forget that it's possible to fact check, seek out others, or find alternatives. A common example my triathlete community friends will relate to is the guy who lists his bike for way, way more than it's worth in a for sale ad. There's a bicycle blue book now! All you have to do is make 10 clicks and you can clearly see he's an idiot. But you want the bike--what do you do? He thinks it's worth more. You're going to insult him by pointing out that the internet exists. Is it rude to make it clear to someone that they're asking too much of you given what is now possible?

Last night I was briefly chatting with a farmer who had a mixed-use farm and wanted someone to come, essentially, run it for him. I inquired about a few details and in the end he suggested that rather than take over his operation I could do...an internship. A strange offer that put me in the awkward position of not knowing what to say back. It was something. But how do you explain to someone, politely, that you have to say no thank you because the internet makes their offer...superfluous? Moot? Unreasonable in light of better options?

Everyone should follow the rules of my religion....er, wait, let me Google those 10 faiths that believe otherwise that I'd rather follow instead. You want a job then fill out these 17 forms...er, wait, let me just Tweet the CEO and arrange an interview.

I think for some people they don't quite have a full handle yet on the scope of this thing. They don't quite get that it's global and democratic and puts power in the hands of everyone. This insignificant blog alone has readers in 10 countries this month alone. Why half my Twitter followers are from UK and Canada, I don't understand myself. But it's cool.

Anybody have suggestions? So far--especially in the farm search--I'm going with honesty. "I like your land, but I'm waiting to hear back from an organization that does a buy-lease-sell to sustainable farmers in NY first." My guess is that the reason some of the behavior I'm talking about still exists is that there is always somebody who is enough of a sucker to not realize the internet exists either. Someone will probably overpay for the bike you're selling if you just wait around long enough. Someone may want your crappy job and low pay. Is it a situation where, instead of honesty, some people choose to (in quite a nasty way) call people out if they're being ridiculous? I've seen it a lot with overpriced merchandise, especially.

I find personal attacks to be rude, but we feel differently if it's a company making substandard goods, don't we? Does a company have a right to make horrible, low quality stuff? Discriminate? That's related, too, I suppose...we live in a world where unwillingness to acknowledge diversity has become a trend to defend. The rest of the world believes in climate change and gay marriage, should some people be allowed to live in a bubble over it? There have been several articles recently on how the power of the internet is slowly eating away at American religiousness. Marketplace of ideas and all that.

Just something to ponder on a Friday afternoon.


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