Friday night topic: The decline of the web

— 4:19 PM on September 6, 2002

I've been surfing the web since nearly the beginning. I remember being excited when Netscape came out and I could replace Mosaic. Now the dot-com boom has come and gone, and with it, many of the good, unique, and free things that we used to enjoy on the web have disappeared or entered serious decline. Take CNET's, for instance. It used to be the destination for the wired set's tech industry news, and it served its audience well with tech-savvy reporting and a real nose for news. The editorial standards for tech news there blew away print media. Nowadays,'s reporting ranks seem populated by tech-illiterate beat reporters who insist on explaining that cache is "a fast reservoir for data between the CPU and main memory" every freaking time they mention the word. It's sad.

Of course, is just one example, and at least it's still with us. Many others—some of them quite good—are dead and gone.

So I'm thinking the web has entered a period of decline. I just can't pop open a browser and get my surf on anymore like in the past. I end up at familiar destinations, but there's no real content, nothing to really read. And we're forced to sift through these slim pickings amid a torrent of pop-ups, pop-unders, and stick-in-the-middle-of-the-page ads. Of course, there are countervailing forces—the really good searches made possible by Google, the ongoing rise (and naming) of the blog, some excellent sites focused on smaller communities of people—but overall, the trend isn't positive. Is it?


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