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05/16/2010

Great Expectations

J0439350 I love the Internet.

love the idea of information shared for free by anyone for anyone.  I love the rise of the citizen journalist sharing right here, right now stories, pictures, and videos.  I love the many ways and means I have of communicating with people all over the world with a point and a click of my laptop or iPhone.

There is much, though, that has disturbed me about the Internet. 

Online gambling.  Porn.  Creeps who lurk and haunt the edges of the web, waiting for to prey upon their victims by stealing their money, their identity, their very bodies.

I've been online in one form or another since my college years and while I saw the bad and the ugly propagate itself across the web, I also saw much good.  I watched the web rise through the 90's, watched the birth of Yahoo! and Google and eBay and Craigslist.  I watched blogging morph during the first decade of the millennium from personal rant pages layered with too many graphics and too-loud streaming music into a sophisticated media unto itself, one that I am proud to call my own.

I fell for Twitter in 2008 and can't imagine life without the updates of those who are there, on the spot, living the moments of our recent history - both horrifying and glorious - and telling the world what they see in 140 characters or less. 

The good online has been very good indeed; my optimism for our web world was riding high.

And then I caught a glimpse of the story detailed in this post at MomLogic, a post describing the sheer number of women (31,000+, many of whom are married mothers, I can only assume) who sign up for an I-Wanna-Cheat-on-My-Spouse website* the day after Mother's Day.

Huh-what

I'm not even going to touch upon all the emotional and relationship factors that would tip the scales into thinking that using a website to cheat on your spouse or your partner is a good idea; trying to do so would be a post unto itself (one that could easily be titled "Great Expectations" as well).

No, I sit here typing this post wondering just how - HOW?! - a site like this comes into existence. 

Are we as a society of wannabe tech startups and internet entrepreneurs so eager to make our fortunes that any idea that will drive traffic, bring unique visitors, earn ad revenue, and create buzz and notoriety is ok?

My optimism meter - and my great expectations for the future of the web -  just took a big fat nosedive; stories like this one make me gasp out loud like someone sucker punched me.

Maybe they did.

Maybe I'm just a bit too naively hopeful about what this thing called the Internet can be.

*There's no way in the-you-know-what-two-letters that I'm going to add a link to a site that is making money off of encouraging and enabling people to cheat on their spouses or partners; you can Google it or check the MomLogic post and hop from there. 

When she's not wiping the smudges from her rose-colored glasses, Marianne shares money saving tips and her love of Krogering at The New Frugal Mom and her thoughts about life and writing and Writer-Mommy.

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