I read some Yenning related rant about what is happening out there in the ocean that reminded me of what’s become of the Internet.
Way out in the Pacific Ocean, in an area once known as the doldrums, an enormous, accidental monument to modern society has formed. Invisible to satellites, poorly understood by scientists and perhaps twice the size of France, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not a solid mass, as is sometimes imagined, but a kind of marine soup whose main ingredient is floating plastic debris. Floating beneath the surface of the water, to a depth of 10 metres, is a multitude of small plastic flecks and particles, in many colours, swirling like snowflakes or fish food. Measuring the weight of plastic in the water compared to that of plankton reveals six times more plastic than plankton.
This plastic soup strikes me as being similar to the jumble of data, thoughts and opinions that are beginning to gather around certain issues and ideas that live online. The small bits of plastic that make up the garbage patch are referred to as nurdles and it seems that much of this digital soup is just this electronic nurdles – real but pretty pointless. Just look a the average tweet if you want an example of an online nurdle.
Now clearly amid all of this stuff lives electronic plankton: good wholesome stuff that strikes a cord; feeds the imagination or actually gives a buyer some valuable product information. I am not sure of the ratio of Internet nurdle to plankton but gut feel tells me it’s more than six fold. Indeed it feels that today the job PR has become very much a job of sieving the plankton from the nurdles we have in short become like a Basking Shark.
Jonathan Hargreaves (@Naked_Pheasant)