The internet is bad. Sure we get cat videos and we can have conversations on Hubski, but there is a terrible downside to the internet. Some call it the Instagram Effect Some call it the Social Media Bias where we see the good times and don't post the bad so we get a skewed outlook onto other people's lives. They are writing papers on these impacts. The internet and the companies that run the ad networks are pushing, HARD, to keep you in a Filter Bubble so that you get validation for your beliefs and keep coming back. The internet is Balkanizing the technological west, and that concerns me. Once you get in that bubble, say, "I'm a Liberal," or "I'm a Conservative" to use a recent example, your bubble makes it easier as time goes on to "other" the opposition. Look at the protests and violence after the Trump win. I'll make a blanket statement that the people rioting live in an internet-fueled filter bubble and never go to pro-trump media and see the world from the other side.
So you have an average life. You got a car, a job, a house. Mike and Becky post on Facebook all their travel, the fancy stuff they buy and now you feel worse off than you are. Mike and Becky don't post the fights over money, the mounting debt, the work stress, the other stuff every single person deals with as a part of living in a modern technological society. You live through that, but you see other people "living" better than you are. I've watched friends go through this, hell I go through it when people in the area buy kick ass astronomy gear that I cannot afford. Your friends buy a new car, and all the sudden your five year old car that is perfectly fine looks like shit in your mind. In the old days where you met Mike after work in the pub, or a bar to watch the game, you could talk about the bad things, get stuff off your chest and realize we are all fighting the same battle, even if we put up a cheerful public face. There are people that I know in real life who are completely different people online. I bet everyone here can say the exact same thing.
The most concerning thing about these effects are that poor people and rich people go to different web sites, they interact in different forums, they are pulling apart into different spheres of living. Wealth is retreating to the coasts and big cities leaving the rest of the place falling apart and feeling left out. Then you get President Trump; hopefully that will be the worst disaster this pulling apart will have in my lifetime.
There is no longer a singular "American Culture" to put my thoughts into words. We don't watch the same TV, we don't listen to the same music, we don't read the same news sources. Maybe we never did, but the internet is accelerating that pulling apart. And while a diversity of thought is vital to the function of a free and liberal republic, there is a stirring of concern in my head that things like the tech idiots in California pushing for a "Calexit" while just noise and emotion now, may grow in the future. Why should California send so much money to Washington for it to only support so-called Red states like Kansas, Utah etc? (Hint: California sells a ton of goods and services to those places) But, say in fifty years, when Kansas and California are so radically different culturally, will a Calexit or a Quebecois-style movement take hold?
Due to my working in IT for going on three decades, I am a part of the people who helped make this mess, even if only because I profit off the incoming doom. And I'm starting to have that crisis of conscience that maybe I don't want to be a part of IT, the internet etc any more. My hope is to drop all frivolous spending, save and invest like my life depends on it, get healthier, and retire in 5-6 years. Then I have the thought that this plan is no different than the sore loser whiny bitches who cry "I'm moving to Canada!" when the election does not go their way. The good thing about living in BFE is that all the bad shit coming down the pike, race riots, housing collapses etc, if they happen, won't really happen here. As Hunter S Thompson said: "When the world ends I want to be in Kentucky. Everything happens 20 years later there."