The New StatesmanThe New Statesman

The internet is unusable now

By Rachel Cunliffe

07 Jun 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. The internet has become increasingly difficult to use due to SEO hacks, machine learning, and algorithms, according to the author of this essay in The New Statesman.

On Saturday evening, after a lovely walk along Regent’s Canal, I found myself at a loose end in Camden. Wonderful, I thought, I’m in one of the most vibrant parts of London. There’ll be loads happening – I can go to an impromptu gig or a comedy night. Let me just google what’s on tonight.

A good 45 minutes later I was fed-up and despondent, and my phone battery was almost dead. Searching the internet for “live music in Camden tonight” had resulted in an overwhelming deluge of content: listicles on dodgy-looking websites that screamed with pop-ups when clicked on; maps listings that insisted on trying to download other apps before loading; ticket sites for major music venues whose gigs had sold out months in advance; reviews of events that sounded ideal until I realised they’d already happened; and of course reams of sponsored posts almost indistinguishable from the real ones. I gave up, and just wandered into the first pub that had a “live music here” sign on the door.

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