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SAN FRANCISCO—Tired of being bombarded with constant requests to share content on social media, bestow ratings, leave comments, and generally “join in on the discussion,” the nation’s Internet users demanded substantially less interactivity this week.
Speaking with reporters, web users expressed a near unanimous desire to visit a website and simply look at it, for once, without having every aspect of the user interface tailored to a set of demographic information culled from their previous browsing history. In addition, citizens overwhelmingly voiced their wish for a straightforward one-way conduit of information, and specifically one that did not require any kind of participation on their part.
“Every time I type a web address into my browser, I don’t need to be taken to a fully immersive, cross-platform, interactive viewing experience,” said San Diego office manager Keith Boscone. “I don’t want to take a moment to provide my feedback, open a free account, become part of a growing online community, or see what related links are available at various content partners.”
“All I want is to go to a website, enjoy it for the time I’ve decided to spend there, and then move on with my life,” he continued. “Is that so much to ask?”
As part of their demands, Internet users from around the country appealed for a drastic reduction in interactive lists, polls, and pop-up slideshows. Sources also called for an end to the badges that some websites award for “checking in” to physical locations, citing the fact that they ostensibly have no meaning, are dumb, and nobody cares about them.
“It’s weirdly self-centered and creepy to be broadcasting my whereabouts to the whole world, and then be rewarded for it with some worthless piece of clipart,” said Tampa, FL college student Theresa Gibson. “I don’t want to know where other people are, I don’t want them to know where I am, and I definitely don’t want it all to be tracked by a website that pits us against each other to see who can share our locations the most. Frankly, it doesn’t make any sense why that would ever appeal to anyone.”
Although some people reported that they were open to voicing their opinions every once in a while, a majority of users rallied against websites’ expectations that they participate in a discussion on nearly every piece of published content, regardless of its significance or subject matter.
Users said they yearned to return to a time when they could simply visit a site and experience its content without being asked “What do you think?”, “What’s on your mind?” or, more directly, “Respond to this video.”
“Nobody needs to get my immediate take on everything I see online,” said Atlanta printing consultant Deirdre Levinson, questioning the merits of any site that, without knowing her level of intelligence or expertise in a particular topic, would deem her worthy enough to engage in a discussion. “And they’re sorely mistaken if they believe I could actually add something of value to the conversation. At best I’m just going to parrot back some loose approximation of what I’ve heard before, which will just prove that I never should have weighed in in the first place.”
In addition to demanding less interactivity, Internet users requested fewer links and clickable icons connected to social media outlets through which they could email, share, tweet, pin, blog, or re-blog content. Many said that when they did come across something they found interesting or amusing, nine times out of 10 they just wanted to keep it to themselves.
“Don’t always ask me to send everything I’ve read to everyone I know. And by the same token, I don’t need to know if they’ve read the same thing. That information means nothing to either of us,” said Glendale, AZ shopkeeper Dan Allenby, who could not think of a single instance where it would be helpful to sign into another website through his Facebook account. “If I wanted to tell someone about something, I’ll just tell them individually. Or better yet, they’ll stumble across it on their own.”
“Really, other than clicking links, my browser’s scroll bar, and the back and forward buttons, I should not be providing any more user input,” he continued. “And let’s be realistic here—knowing my own individual views and mental aptitude, that’s probably best for everyone involved.”
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