Internet user

Above: Internet user. Credit: Bruce Mars.


The Internet-user's view is panoramic (SOED: "a continuous passing scene") or panoscopic--continuous seeing-observing (the viewer-reader is immobilized, frozen before the screen). But what propels the Internet-user's browsing? Above all Web-browsing is fueled by curiosity. (Quotidian activities like checking one's bank-balance, or ordering food, can be stripped-out here.)

The Web-user's fascination unfolds as an unpredictable and erratic narrative emerging as a stream-of-consciousness: volatile and mercurial; charged up with abounding impulses.

The essential and irrefutable record of this erratic quasi-narrative is, of course, one's Web-browsing history--a record which, when scrutinized, often seems to be rather irrational: it's just a record of all sorts of impulses acted on one-after-the-other; the chain of detours and meanderings of a curious mind. Perusing one's Web-browsing history is often akin to looking over detailed minutes made by a fastidious legal secretary of a bar-room conversation--idle chat unnecessarily aggrandised. A record that can strike one as being somewhat embarrassing, or slightly depressing, if scrutinized later. (One of the only times we really think about this Web-browsing record is when we suddenly get the urge to delete it.)

(25 January 2018, revised 25 September 2018)