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How has your experience of the Internet changed? Evgeny Morozov writes, "Transcending its original playful identity, it’s no longer a place for strolling — it’s a place for getting things done. Hardly anyone 'surfs' the Web anymore." To your mind, what are the causes and what will be the lasting effects of the Internet as we know it today?
Today’s Internet is a place for getting things done, pushing aside the cyberflâneur — the heir to the flâneur culture of 19th-century France.
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Brian J
I don't really seem to get much done when I'm staring at tumblr for three hours.
It is very intersting seeing the fashion and the traditions of the old times,around the Planet Earth.
Current economics has changed the internet. More people feeling they need to find work or make a buck from people online than be social as the internet started out to be. As more and more people get online in hopes of finding some way to make a living it draws in even more who are only online to profit from those who are online. The whole interest people have in being on the internet will soon collapse if the economy does not change worldwide.
There are so many portals to the internet these days its easy to get distracted from even surfing. I find myself looking through only one web page at a time for random research. I'm am much less likely to just "look around" and browse whatever looks cool or interesting. Now I am sucked into Facebook or Google+ or tumblr, not random web pages on angelfire.altavista.whatever. is a terrific site that helps you surf away hours. Strolling is alive there. There are just too many sites to keep an eye on to not use a tool like stumble upon.
I still find time to surf. I have to when I post in fora on a BBS I telnet to on my other window.
Jon Dye
BS article. The Internet was invented with the purpose of getting things done in mind.
+chris brown If it weren't for StumbleUpon I'd probably never surf any more..
I thought the article was thought-provoking. I share the author's concerns about how "socializing" media consumption can quickly result in lowest-common-denominator content and a tyranny of the majority. The potential impacts of Facebook on society are great, subtle, and under-appreciated.
Loved your post and picture an added bonus. Please post more can't afford NYT.
I still remember the Netscape era in the 90's and never imagined we'd be where we are today. Web ”browsing” is no longer what people do these days. The internet has evolved to allow people be more engaged. They are now eager to share opinions and thoughts. You could even argue that without the engagement, the internet would have stopped growing.
what's your definition of surf? cause im pretty sure everybody wastes time messing around on the internet. in fact, i'm typing this comment in a thread i dont even care about much instead of grading...
Je flâne toujours - ce n'est que des puritains qui pourraient vouloir faire autrement.
Jon Dye
The Internet's original identity was not playful whatsoever. The author ought to do a tiniest bit of research before publication, but then again this is the NYT.
The internet will never be a Plaything, it was never meant to be a plaything & people who think the net is a plaything ought not to have internet in the first place.....just because their are games on the "net" it has been marketed to a whole new crowd and it worked look at all the new people on the "net" everyday & it is not just games that bring them here; this is a place to more or less get your word across and out there to everyone you can despite who reads and sees it.
"Not a place for strolling anymore" Really? I'd argue that there are more ways to waste time today than ever, Zynga and Facebook's businesses are built on helping you waste more time!
Jon Dye
Yep, the author doesn't know wtf they're talking about.
Must add my 3 cents worth for what it is worth, I work most days at least part time trying to sell somethings for income. But the net is much more then that to me, It is my eyes to the world, It is the biggest library there is. It is ideas and facts. It is a reference of where to go and where to send someone else. It is what our world at this time is. It is the sum total of us.
One wishes one could be a Cyberflaneur. If only much about the internet in the US worked as described. As a 'rural' user - only 50 miles west of DC - I have to use Verizon Wireless broadband, a service whose price is premium yet whose quality is 'variable' at best - For example I have just spent an hour struggling with a poor connection before having the ability to make this post and now the service is fluctuating, in the same location, from a full 3 bars to near zero over less than a minute. Verizon have functioning monopoly, alas.

Though on average slower, dial up was at least more reliable -- but the quality of connection available over phone lines has deteriorated as Verizon fails to maintain them. From this observers perspective Verizon is using poor service as a means force people into premium wireless services, where there are no statutory obligations, and the hapless user becomes merely a source of cash flow to be milked. From the design of its bills with their barely legible, frequently smeared, 16 pt. typefaces, to its websites which are not usable because of poor quality of internet connection, to its phone 'customer service' which can take 10 -15 minutes to reach alive person - attempting to deal with Verizon is an exercise in passive aggression. (One can be on and off the phone with a Microsoft rep in less time than it takes to struggle through the menus and then reach a person at Verizon)

The single largest impediment to any form of internet use by a substantial minority of the US population is service of the quality that companies like Verizon provide. They can talk about their quality only because they have effectively removed the ability of customers to complain -- or even for them to determine if they are providing the minimal contractual level of service.
internet is always Update... so update your technology news with Updatec
Yes, we still wander around on the Internet, we even gave it a name : serendipity. Yet we have to reckon that more and more, we're now strolling around inside closed (Facebook, Google+, Tumblr) or half closed (Google Reader, StumbleUpon) gardens.

Platforms with user generated content have changed the horizon of our navigation. For better or worse.
The worry of Mr. Evgeny Morozov is true but we can't call it dark side or other negatives. As people love something rare, after frictionless sharing is shared by most of people on particular service, someone will make flânerie service.
But the point is that any service will be business like or things done type after many users come, as Mr. Morozov wrote about facebook. So they must always travel to many service. Its attitude is exactly flânerie.
;-) split the street - because of what? cars?
c'est ça se promener sans problemes, ... se flaner...enfin... rêver..
Brilliant article. I too feel a certain sense of nostalgia for the days when the internet was more innocent. Now it's just a place to conduct business rather than aimlessly explore for sensory experiences.
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