In what’s being celebrated as an act of supreme beneficence worthy of a major humanitarian award, a discerning reader has bestowed a Facebook ‘like’ upon the author of a fascinating, in-depth article published on the internet.
“The piece showed erudition and originality of thought, and its claims were delivered with a most engaging prose,” said Vancouver barista and free content enthusiast James Easley, 22. “I therefore award it a Facebook ‘like,’ a virtual thumbs-up so that the author’s achievement may be widely recognized by those in my social network, who, like me, do enjoy challenging, free essays.”
The 10,000-word “2050: A Great Silence,” first posted on a little-known technology and culture website and later republished without permission on the content-scraping website wowtech.us, analyzes the impact that communications technology has had on human relations over the past 500 years and makes dire predictions for the continued existence of face-to-face interactions. Included in the article are ideas drawn from the humanities, particle physics, quantum mechanics and nearly 2500 years of philosophy.
“I am humbled to receive this honor of a Facebook ‘like,’” said author Brooke Ferran, who holds a PhD from Stanford and spent over a year conducting interviews and research for the article, and nearly lost her mind when Technology and Culture editor Grant Glockenspiel demanded a seventh rewrite. “Some internet content providers such as myself might try flatter their egos by referring themselves as ‘writers’ and their content as ‘scholarship,’ but that’s wrong.”
“At the end of the day, we content providers are just a bunch of knuckle-draggers who sit in front of a keyboard, toss a few words together in between sips of expensive free-trade coffee, and hope that when we throw our half-baked sentences into the mill of cyberspace, that someone, somewhere, will have the patience and intelligence to actually make sense of our mad ramblings,” she added.
As of last week, the link to the pirated wowtech.us article had been clicked on over two million times, earning the site’s 21-year-old Russian owner over $20,000 in advertising revenue.
“Pity the fools who were guilted into grappling with my crappy writing, at no cost to themselves,” Ferran said. “I’m just happy that at least someone made a little money from it.”