Web site personalization is still in its infancy, yet I’m beginning to experience what I call, “Web 2.0 apathy,” a total lack of interest in visiting social networking sites or for that matter, a total lack of interest in personalizing each and every Web site I visit. Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t. If you haven’t, get with it: Just about every Web site you visit sucks you in through registration, in turn creating a personalized landing page, catered to your specific interests. “Please register with MSNBC.com so that we may better serve your needs . . . ” In other words, please let us inadvertently make you lazy. Dammit! I can serve my own needs just fine, thank you very much.
Web 2.0 furthers the human love affair with instant gratification. Generationally, Millennials lack patience. We want, and can pretty much get, everything right now. Any semblance of hard work, dedication, and intrinsic value disappeared when 12 year old girls started carrying designer handbags.
Speaking of handbags, do you like fashion? You can get fashion updates on your customized landing page, too! But what if there is something really fascinating happening in the sports world? It won’t show up on my personalized homepage and then, [gasp] I might actually have to search for it! And therein lies the laziness!
I tried the iGoogle thing. It’s still my Internet homepage, but only because I’m too lazy (yes, I know) to change it. About two months ago I selected my choice topics of interest — I don’t even remember what they were –and the page automatically updates the headlines everyday. Eventually (after about a week), I grew tired of all the information feeding into iGoogle and stopped looking at it. I wondered what I was missing because I only navigated from iGoogle. Decidedly, I regained control over my daily musings and chose the element of surprise — manual search — preferring not to have my news spoon-fed to me.
Like every other seemingly good American idea exploited by marketers, Web 2.0 will become jam-packed with rubbish — advertisements, video games, viral videos, Lolcats, spam recipes, etc., losing its initial purpose: To cause internet addiction — kidding. Seriously though, what once was intended to make your life more convenient will conveniently make you claustrophobic: “I want to break out of the Web 2.0 box! Please let me search for my own content! I can’t take it anymore!”
Resisting my impatient Millennial instinct and my desire for the next generation of the Internet, I’ll try to sit back, relax, and watch as Web 2.0 afflicts Web sites across the Net, while pondering the next wave of cyber-personalization: The blog.