The Internet rewards blockbusters, which drives out diversity. I hate the online versions of most periodicals because all of the focus is on the most popular, most emailed, and most commented on stories. As a result, when readers go to a site and have limited time, they read the things everyone else reads. This behavior promotes media economics that push writers to go for these blockbuster pieces, which occasionally are great pieces of work but more often than not are linkbait that panders to our interest in gossip. ... When you read what everyone else reads, in the same ways that they read it, you will have the same ideas. Serendipity can be a source of innovation, but not in a world where we all consume the same information.
The Internet isn't the only culprit here, but it sure has functioned as an accelerator. Or maybe "accelerant" would be the more appropriate word.
Maybe it seems paradoxical: if the Internet is so open-ended, so adept at bringing so many different kinds of things to people, why does it encourage so much me-too-ism? In big part because both of those things are propagated in the same exact ways. I doubt you can get one without running the risk of also being saturated by the other.
The solution to this stuff isn't technical, because technology cannot by itself produce a better class of creation, or even a better class of creator. Every time I see one of those articles that marvels at some of the stuff people used to accomplish in a darkroom without Adobe Photoshop, I feel as if at any moment people are going to start marveling at oil painting or cursive handwriting for being equally recherché. They are simply ways of getting a given job done, and there's still something to be said for keeping an old technique alive -- not only because it can get a job done, but because it can force you to confront the work on its own terms instead of as a mere technical puzzle.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind