Remember when the internet used to be our playground?

Friday, 23 March, 2012

The cyberflânerie was an early inhabitant of the web, who was especially common in the late 1990s, but who has all but vanished today.

Something similar has happened to the Internet. 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. The popularity of the “app paradigm,” whereby dedicated mobile and tablet applications help us accomplish what we want without ever opening the browser or visiting the rest of the Internet, has made cyberflânerie less likely. That so much of today’s online activity revolves around shopping – for virtual presents, for virtual pets, for virtual presents for virtual pets – hasn’t helped either. Strolling through Groupon isn’t as much fun as strolling through an arcade, online or off.

I’m thinking that anyone who was doing just about anything online during the mid to late 90s was probably a cyberflânerie. To some degree anyway.

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