Beware the n00bs
|May 23, 2012||Posted by Sophy Bot under Internet culture|
Ah, nostalgia – how we love thee. That song your dad used to sing you to sleep with (The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever). That movie you’ve seen so many times you could practically recite it by heart (Beetlejuice). That TV show you used to watch over and over and over again during long lazy summer days (Bewitched). When it comes to the media we love, nostalgia seems to be everywhere. Everywhere, that is, except the internet.
I </3 reposts
That’s not to say nostalgia doesn’t exist on the internet – far from it. After all, we love reading lists of toys that were popular when we were growing up, discontinued food products that make us long for our grade school lunchboxes, classic TV shows cancelled before their time. But once we’ve read them, we better not see them again. The internet is made for new things, for a constantly replenishing trough of new information. Be gone, you with the reposted photo of that weird nude couple holding cats. Get away, you who want to show me that video of the sneezing panda again. This is the internet! I came here to see new things, or to reminisce about tangible old things like Fraggle Rock or Red Dwarf. Get off of my forum with your boring reposts of last week’s jokes.
Long gone are the days of endless Gilligan’s Island reruns. This is the meme-a-minute new millennium. Novelty is practically a birthright.
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When I was a kid, I convinced my parents to let me stay up late one day a week to catch the new episode of Roseanne. These days, my pleading would never work; it would be Tivo’d and I would watch it tomorrow. The ad-hoc, on-demand nature of modern media consumption has at its heart a single factor: choice. Recorded movies mean the end of, “tune in this time next week!” Downloaded songs are the death knell of radio requests. And as far as internet content, we’ve come to expect an unwavering stream of new videos, new jokes, new stories, new amusements – new everything that’s worth a click and a minute. Seeing somebody repost an article you read last month as if it just came out shatters the illusion of personal control. It makes us feel as if we’re back to the days when media outlets gave us one set of options, take it or leave it. What happened to choice and a customized stream of content? The indignation builds and the internet cries back: n00b!
The reason people are so quick to shout down “old” content online has to do with what we expect when we go internet surfing in the first place. We expect novelty. We expect to choose for ourselves what we want to see, the sites we want to surf. We expect the newest and best of everything, because that’s what the internet has always shown us. So when somebody has the gall to post something that you’ve already seen as if it’s brand new, that expectation falters and suddenly it feels like you’re no longer in control. You cry out, “Repost! Old!” and downvote it to oblivion, hoping that will teach OP a lesson in messing with your internet stream.
Perhaps there will come a day when your browser will be smart enough to block content you’ve already seen, wherever it happens to appear. Perhaps you will never have to see that gif of the dramatic chipmunk ever again. Until then, put away the anger and back away from the repost. OP did not know any better. Let’s hope the time comes when we no longer feel the need to demonize anybody who unwittingly reposts content that’s been around for months. Or at the very least, let’s be a bit more lighthearted when it comes to chastising n00bs. After all, nobody is born l33t.