Here's a new piece of mine in the LRB on Metafilter:
The word ‘resources’ sets my spine tingling. My old hippy-but-curmudgeonly soul had high hopes of the World Wide Web. The future, in some respects, was living up to expectations, providing videotapes of movies you didn’t have to leave home to see again, music remastered to a complexity not heard even in the concert hall let alone your own bath; and now here was a space that couldn’t be pictured, and didn’t require going out to be in, where minds from anywhere on the planet, full of knowledge and knowhow, wit and wondering, could chatter together, collaborate, pass information and the time of day. The internet would be a planetary depository, freely available, a dream library of everything. Borges and Brautigan thought of it but never fully imagined the weird airiness of its actuality.
So it has turned out: Project Gutenberg puts great texts freely online, Google plans to digitise the universe (which makes some people’s spines tingle for quite different reasons), Wikipedia has users collating and collaborating to explain everything, and everywhere bloggers are witnessing the world, one hundred million of them. But in no time at all, abundance became too much. The noise is deafening. The best of the planet did not exclude the worst of the planet. The internet filled up with garbage, and the good stuff sank to the bottom. I gave up, being of a giving-up nature....the rest is here