Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Internet: A Journey

[This was written for the same creative writing class in the last post. it's really just a silly thing, but it was fun to write.]

You wake up to find yourself in an endless white space. You can’t tell if there are walls, a ceiling, or even dimensions. All you can see is flat white everywhere.

A man walks up to you. He is an older man, dressed smartly in a suit. He stands up very straight, and you can tell he is quite dignified.

You ask who he is and where you are, and with a bow he says, “My name is Jeeves. You are in the internet.” He speaks with a British accent.

The internet? you ask. But that’s impossible. Jeeves only nods. “Impossible, yes, but here you are.” Then why is it all white? “We are in your homepage. MSN, it seems. This particular page has many graphics—are you, perhaps, running Internet Explorer?” Well, yeah. Why not?

Jeeves snaps his fingers. “There you are. We shall be using Firefox for your journey, as I find it makes things far easier. Now come along, we don’t want to be here when the page loads.”

He walks towards a door you had not noticed before. In fact, you could swear it hadn’t been there. But there it is now, and Jeeves opens it, clearly intending for you to go first.

But wait! you cry out. Where are we going? Jeeves smiles and replies, “A tour of the internet. I wish to show you all it has to offer.”

So you go through the doorway. On the other side is a long black tunnel, lit by brightly-colored cars that zip along past you. Each of these cars contains exactly one passenger, though they are going too fast for you to make out any individual features. Most cars have bright primary colors on them, though there are a few with different color schemes.

You ask Jeeves what this is. “Search engines,” he replies. “We have our own car right here.” Are you a search engine? “I am, but I am unfortunately not used very often. Google has taken many users from me, and from the other search engines.”

You get into the red and white car Jeeves indicates. You drive along the tunnel, not as fast as the other cars. Jeeves explains this with, “My servers are older than the others’. I run somewhat slower.”

The car stops at a door. It is plain white, with nondescript black lettering on the door which reads MYSPACE.COM. Jeeves steps out of the car and opens the door for you.

Once you step inside, you are startled by the instant rush of crazy swirling bright colors and patterns that fly past you. The patterns fade away, to be replaced by glittering bright pink and purple letters spelling various names. You hear a strange mix of computer-generated tones that sound vaguely like ‘My Humps’.

This is MySpace? you ask incredulously. Jeeves has to shout to be heard over the ‘music’. “It is indeed. It has been abandoned by the users as other websites have gained popularity.” They just stopped coming here? “Yes. Much like they stopped using me.”

Jeeves looks a bit sad, you think, and you feel bad because you haven’t used him either. You didn’t know he still existed. But your train of thought is interrupted by a group of girls running in front of you, each pausing to pose in a bizarre way.

“User pictures,” Jeeves explains. “There are thousands of these. Would you like to stay and watch, or move on?” You want to move on. “Then come with me.”

The car takes you to another door. LIVEJOURNAL.COM.

When you enter through this doorway, all you see is darkness. A disembodied voice recites a poem.

i cant feel pain
nothing is the same
i want to die
i can only cry

It’s odd that such a dark poem sounds like it’s being read by a thirteen-year-old girl. Suddenly, the darkness fades and you can see a large group of people, writing in small notebooks, passing the notebooks between each other.

“Livejournal has been somewhat abandoned,” Jeeves informs you, “but not to the same extent as MySpace. Many of its users have gone to Tumblr.” Will we see Tumblr? “We will not. It will seem to you the same as this, minus that girl who spoke when we entered. Besides, our time is limited.”

Jeeves takes you to another website. Its door is labeled FACEBOOK.COM.

This place does not seem strange to you. There is a large group of people, talking to each other face-to-face. The only difference between this and how you talk to your friends is what they are saying.

List five random facts about yourself, and tag five people to do the same!
I need your help to grow my crops!
I am attending ZOOMASS PARTY 2/17 YEA!!!
I like this.

You’re a little freaked out by this. The people, their facial expressions don’t change as they speak. You ask Jeeves why. “They’re only users. They are not people.”

Even though their not-quite human qualities are a bit off-putting, you can see that these users are interacting almost as humans normally do. This is a huge change from the previous two social networking websites. You feel more comfortable here.


Through this door, you find an endless space with thousands of millions of boxes on the ground. Users come up to these boxes and stand on them, shouting random thoughts into the air. Sometimes, they seem to be shouting to each other.

Without warning, a large whale falls into the middle of the boxes.

“Fail whale,” Jeeves remarks. “Pity. This place is usually quite interesting when its servers work.” So where are we going now? “I thought we might leave the social networking area. Would you like some entertainment?”

The car takes you far now, a journey that takes minutes instead of seconds. You try to watch out the window, see the doors flying by, but you’re going too fast to read any of them.

The car slows near a door that reads 4CHAN.ORG. This door is actually decorated, plastered with stickers that show grammatically incorrect sentences. A mask from V for Vendetta hangs off the edge of the slightly ajar door. You can hear raucous shouting from within.

Are we going in there? “Of course not!” Jeeves looks pale, and his normal composure is gone. But after a moment, he sets himself right. “I would never take a user in there unprepared. It is a vile place.”

The car stops outside XKCD.COM.

You’ve never heard of this, you say. “It is a webcomic,” Jeeves says. “It is quite popular. I chose this just to show you a general webcomic. They entertain many people.”

Inside, you watch some stick figures talk to each other. You’re not really understanding what they say, it’s all technical and science terms. You mention this to Jeeves. “Yes, this particular webcomic is designed for, to put it simply, geeks and nerds. They comprise most of the readership for webcomics.”

You want to go somewhere that you can understand what’s going on. Jeeves nods. “I understand. Come with me.”


This room is a movie theater. You choose a nice plush chair to sit in, and Jeeves hands you a remote to control the giant screen in front of you.

You flip through watching short videos of dogs being adorable, children saying funny things, music videos, ten-minute segments of TV shows, and people being shocked as they watch 2girls1cup. You can find literally anything you want.

It seems like you’ve been here for hours when a video suddenly stops. A message appears on the screen: BUFFERING, PLEASE WAIT. What’s going on? “A buffer of that size will take hours,” Jeeves observes. “We should continue now.”

As you drive, Jeeves asks, “Do you like music?” Of course. Who doesn’t? “I would like to take you to the largest vendor of music on the internet, but we may have trouble getting in.”

The car stops in front of APPLE.COM.

Inside, there is a large white room with multiple doors leading to unknown places. In front of each door sits a desk, each with an empty chair. All the furniture is made with a sleek white plastic, and they look identical.

Jeeves leads you to one of the desks, and suddenly a man materializes in the seat. He looks incredibly bored.

“We would like to visit iTunes,” Jeeves tells him. user name and password, the man requests. His voice is computerized.

Jeeves looks expectantly to you. You don’t have a password. “Sorry, but may we go in just for a look?” he asks the man. did you forget your password. “No, but we only want a look. May we go in?” i see you do not currently have itunes installed. would you like to install it. You need to install a program just to look around the website? That’s—“My dear sir, you seem to misunderstand,” Jeeves says, cutting you off. “We only wish to browse your selection. This user does not wish to purchase music at this time.”

At this, the man disappears. Jeeves looks disappointed. “It’s a shame you aren’t a Mac,” he comments. “They never have trouble getting in. Oh well, shall we move on?”

The car goes a bit far this time. Jeeves explains that you are going to the shopping area of the internet. You stop in front of AMAZON.COM.

In here, it’s set up like a department store, the largest you’ve ever seen. You couldn’t possibly walk from end to end of it, and in fact no one is. The users are appearing in the blink of an eye in front of the displays they want.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” Jeeves asked. “This used to be a small place selling only books. Of course, that was when I was still popular.” You want to read something, anything, just to see what holding a book in this world is like. “I’m sorry, but you’ll only be able to read a page.  It’s not worth your while. We’re a bit behind, anyways, so come along.”

The car brings you to a door reading EBAY.COM.

There are thousands of people inside, shouting amounts of money at inanimate objects displayed on pedestals. You can tell when an auction is ending, because they start shouting so fast you can’t even hear what they’re saying. A DVD player floats off a pedestal and into the hands of a waiting user.

You notice a pedestal all alone. A CD sits on it, some band you like, but no one’s bidding. Curious, you shout a number at it. Nothing happens.

“I’m afraid only registered users may bid,” Jeeves says. “And we are done with shopping, anyways. Come along, our final area is information.”


“Say something,” Jeeves tells you. What? “Anything.”

You name a band that you like, and suddenly a block of information is in front of you. The letters just hang in midair. You’re able to reach out and touch them, move them. You could rewrite the entire thing if you wanted to.

“This isn’t limited to bands,” Jeeves says. “You can find information on anything you want. I would let you spend more time here, but many people can get lost in this information for hours. There is one final stop, and I must leave you.”

Instead of bringing you to the car, Jeeves only snaps his fingers. In a flash, you’re in front of another door. The tunnel and the other cars are gone. All that’s there is this door. GOOGLE.COM. You enter, and find yourself in a blank white space, just like where you started.

Why are you here? you wonder. Jeeves didn’t seem to like Google very much. Why would he send you here?

Suddenly, the word Google, in bright rainbow letters, appears before you. You didn’t see it appear, you blinked and it was there. And now it hangs there, waiting for you.

You ask why you’re here. Why your journey through the internet ended up at a search engine.

i am more than a search engine appears in the search bar below the word. The words erase, and are replaced by i control most of what you have seen.

You laugh. You’ve seen so many websites that you can’t believe Google possibly controls them. think what you want but it’s true. every time you use the internet you will find me. So what does Google want from you? be a user. be online. i have much to offer as you have seen.

You consider this. Yes, you have seen a lot. And if all the internet wants is for you to visit, why not? You’ve seen websites that let you connect with other people, shop, and find entertainment and information. Of course you’ll use the internet.

thank you.

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