Over the course of the last few days, I received dozens of e-mails from organisations I didn’t knew I knew about, and I invariably clicked on their ‘unsubscribe’ link. Political campaigns, real estate listings, environmental actions, job openings, social networks, online marketplaces, and so on. It feels a little bit like the mise-en-scène of an online death, but no worries: it is just a clean-up.
Can silence, on the Internet, only be conceived as the absence of jabber, while I like to experience silence as the absence of an engaging conversation, as an absence not without texture?
Perhaps this is because “the Internet” is an abstract entity and its concrete manifestation must mean something else to each of its users. To me, it’s a small black laptop on a desk in my bedroom, or occasionally in my bed or in a coffee shop, which I open and switch on and look at its screen surface from a 30 degree angle and type on the small keyboard to reply and interact and contribute. To my neighbors, it might be a flat screen television set mounted on a wall they use to watch drama at the time they choose, or a large personal computer with a Skype connection to talk to her overseas son-in-law, and so on. This trivial variation in sensory experience of the Internet somehow causes the fact that we can’t experience “meaningful silence” on it. I’ll think about this one a bit more and come back to “you”;-