American Elephants


The Internet is Changing, in Ways Unknown. by The Elephant's Child

The internet is changing. Of course it is always changing, but the way in which it is changing is something new. The initial idea was that it would be an opportunity for what were formerly magazines available in bookstores or by subscription to have a second outlet, and far more would be available for free. It was assumed that the ability to reach so many people online would create advertising that could reach so many people that it would pay for everything.

Different people use the internet differently. I’m a reader, and am usually looking for information rather than entertainment. Others want to share their lives with their friends and the internet replaces a lot of phone calls and letters with the ability to include pictures and have lots of sharing. Some use it entirely for work, and get their entertainment from television or online movies. I’m looking for world and national news, politics, general information. I do not want to hear from Hollywood “celebrities” at all. If they make a good movie, I might go to a theater, but their abilities lean toward acting, not useful thought. “Celebrities” have name recognition and are “click-bait” for websites. So would-be celebrities no longer have to pay press agents, they only need to say something outrageous, and their utterances make “news.” I don’t want an internet that is all about people insulting each other.

Google has taken over control of advertising, and where ads can be placed on the page and where they can appear. Along with many others, I’m annoyed by ads that block or limit the piece I am trying to read. There are others who don’t like ads, so an industry has sprung up to make ads less frequent or even to make them disappear (for a fee). So, surprisingly there are ads for services that remove all ads, which has resulted in websites demanding that you block your ad removal service or they won’t let you read the piece you are reading. Google lets you block ads but wants to know why you are blocking them, I presume to try to discover your reasoning and figure out how to get around it.

Ads are not producing the revenue needed to pay for the staff of writers that the various websites have employed. You have undoubtedly noticed that the websites are asking you to subscribe to get the important pieces, which they will label to show that you can only read them if you have subscribed. The question now is if you will subscribe so you can read everything, and if the number of people who will subscribe is enough to pay the salaries and benefits of all the writers the website wants to employ, and helps to maintain the cost of having a website. Everybody’s expectations were perhaps a little higher then was justified.

How many websites do you visit each day, how many of those want you to subscribe? I visit about 20 websites each day. I could whittle that down a bit, but if you multiply the monthly cost of all for 12 months, and add it all together, it’s a fairly significant sum. Not going to happen. How will the internet develop to cope with all this? I spent a lot of years working in advertising, and some significant shifts from Google would improve things.

Tried tonight to watch a bit of the vice-presidential candidates’ debate. Different moderator, different tactics, but impossible to limit candidates to the assigned time. Kamala Harris has come equipped with many attack modes, most of them simply political attacks that are completely untrue. Many might believe your attack that President Trump did not respond correctly to the Covid -19 virus, but it’s just false.

The virus was unknown when it hit the nursing home in the next suburb to the north of my house, but as soon as it became known that a visitor who was returning from Wuhan, China had infected many of the residents, President Trump slammed a halt to all traffic from China. In January, which provoked screaming outrage from Democrats who accused him of racism and xenophobia. He promptly began a deliberate and thorough response to the needs of each state. We had to learn about the virus before we could do the right thing.

To try to blame President Trump for all the corona-virus deaths to date (and in the future) is absurd. Kamala Harris is attempting to use in the debate tonight all the party-line accusations the Democrats have come up with so far, most of them unfair or untrue. Many actions taken with care turned out to be unneeded (like the tent hospitals the military set up) that were not used at all. Ms. Harris is not projecting vast competency.

Joe Biden has spent 36 years in Congress as a likeable senator, without significant accomplishment, and 8 years as Barack Obama’s vice president. He is 77 years old, and appears to be afflicted by “senior moments” or some oncoming dementia which many find troubling for a future president. Many worry that Kamala Harris could become president for she doesn’t seem qualified. Biden’s family seems to have been significantly enriched by vice-presidential influence. In a political season, the charges will be many, and not all of them are true, as I’m sure you have noticed, and internet fact-checks aren’t significantly accurate.

Donald Trump has been attacked with the most vicious slanders that the Democrats can find. I can’t remember a campaign ever that has been so angry and so unfair. Trump is not one to suffer silently, and Twitter has been his major outlet. He slams right back. Many find his “tweets” “unpresidential”, which depends on your ideas of the proper words of a president. I’ve lived through a significant number of Presidents, but this campaign really is different. We are faced with a pandemic from Wuhan, China that has killed thousands across the world. We have had to learn about it slowly, step by step. Most of the rest of the world has suffered too. Stop and think about the toilet paper crisis.

The U.S. has had 7,640,890 confirmed cases. 214,947 deaths, and 4,958,850 Americans have recovered. Joe Biden tried to claim there were 200 million deaths, so you see how easy it is to get tangled up in the numbers. Two hundred thousand is still too many. Globally there have been 36,063,675 confirmed cases and 1,054.153 deaths while around 25 million have recovered.

Democrats are urging people to avoid the vaccines that may be available before the end of the year, because” Trump is involved”. That’s going too far. People are apt to fear vaccines, but when you understand the testing involved, our official guidelines are pretty trustworthy. There are protocols in the United States for vaccines to make sure that none are released before they have been thoroughly tested and are remarkably safe.

When you know your history, of pandemics and new medicines and new treatments, the United States ranks remarkably highly for such a big country. We have a really fine medical sector, and they do a pretty good job. Lots of diseases still out there, but they are working hard to conquer them. News today about planets that seem to be habitable, and perhaps even more habitable than this one. And now we have a Space Force, and what is next, and where will we go?


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Had a conversation about this very subject yesterday. Obviously we can’t all pay for the numerous subscriptions in order to remove ads or to read hidden articles. As you said, the buy-in is probably not as high as expected. However, think of the fact that those who can afford “no ads” are also the ones advertisers want most to target because they can also afford to buy their products. This will be interesting to watch.

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Comment by tinafriesen




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