Coping: With Internet Collapse and Social Diaspora

imageMy buddy JB Slear, who’s my commodity guy, made an interesting observation here last week.  He was asking if I had noticed a general decline in the amount of mail people are sending – and that includes junk mail.

Frankly, I hadn’t given it much thought, but when a commodity broker (who has a 10-foot high banana tree in his living room, by the way) takes time out from trading and writing his traders column – well, that set me to thinking, even if it was the weekend.

After going through some exercising of the brain cells and such, a startling fact arose:  JB  was Right!

There has been a decline – a long, slow one, perhaps starting in 2012 – of the amount of junk email that’s come in.  And, unless I have signed up for alerts from like a Google News or a Trulia, the number of people sending unsolicited emails is really starting to drop…your mileage may vary,  however.

This is something that I’d anticipated would arrive, sooner or later, and I wrote as much in my book “Broken Web:  The Coming Collapse of the Internet.”

It’s possible that some of the decline is due to increasing government regulation of the net:  The New Yorker had a good article on point about how it’s becoming popular for “authorities” to restrict internet use and comment.

Another factor is the proliferation of new digital time-wasters.  I pay scant attention to my Facebook page, or my Google Plus page, but that’s because I’m time constrained and don’t feel like making a free contribution to the website owners getting rich instead of me.  I am, after all, the one getting up at 4 AM to figure things out, so why should I steer you to some one else’s website where they will monetize you six-ways to Sunday….

It’s quite the switcheroo of a business model, when you kick back and look at it, as we did on the Peoplenomics side of things a number of months ago:  It is a business model that depends on people’s time and habit-forming in order to make money.

Here’s how it works:  Suppose this morning you and I do a little bit of coding and start up FaceGeorge.

We make the service initially free.  And we make it fill some kind of social hole in the soul.  A need, for example, of nearly everyone in America to sound off, be heard, and become famous.

After a few years, we have more users than you can shake a stick at.  The whole world is now going to FaceGeorge as the hottest social platform out there.  ( thought about GeorgeBook, too)

So now I take the big companies (who are using FaceGeorge) and I send them out ransom demand notes:  You either pay me, or only 7 of your 3-million customers will get emails about that brand new zillion-dollar product introduction you have planned and posted on FG….

Money-grubbing Kapitalists are anxious to pay…whatever it takes.

It works for a while (holding third party customers hostage from the companies that brought them to FaceGeorge in the first place.  But over time, companies wake up and decide to do some other kind of social.

Websites that don’t use social have been historically penalized by Google in rankings…and perhaps is because we eschew using social media that UrbanSurvival traffic has been declining (slowly, thankfully_) sine the Internet Social Bubble peaked in about 2011/2012.

But peak is what it seems to be doing.

One driver is companies are trying to do a better job of keeping all customer needs met on their own web properties.  I finally decided to relent last week and open up UrbanSurvival for comments.  You can make comments on anything you want, but the main reason is to fine tune our content, direction, and improve customer service.

Another driver for the decline in “old line” social is that there are literally no barriers to entry.  I can assure you that with start-up capital of $10,000 you and I could start up a social platform of some kind and that would bring us some money.  Just maybe not enough to do an IPO…

And this gets us to a very interesting “Gotcha” for people who predict the future.  You may remember a few years back there was a lot of talk about 2012 of a coming catastrophe and how there would be lots of people moving north and diaspora was going to impact us all hugely.

The good news is that it hasn’t been a physical diaspora, but it has been a virtual one.  People who used to be fully present and conscious are now plugged into their cell/mobiles tor ridiculous hours each day.

The net human migration from local face-time with people to the virtual sort has been incredible.

Not that it has made us any better…just different.

Yet you look at fads and you’ll find a national (US) ramp up takes about 6-years (Hoola Hoops, 19i57-1963 ramp-up) and if there is not existing infrastructure, perhaps 7-8 years internationally.

Alth0ough Part 15 of the FCC allowed for CB Radio (a much longer fad) from 1947 until it collapsed with the arrival of cell phones in the 1980’s) it was still almost a 30-year fad.

But we look at when fads peak:  When they are on television is a good indicator.  And when a replacement technology comes along, is another.  With social media, I would think that the flurry of IPOs is a good sign as to when a fad is peaking.

I last told you to keep an eye out for the decline of social media on March 27th of this year.

On March 27th, Yahoo reported the closing price of the Social Media ETF SOCL as $19.35.

On Friday of last week it closed at $18.01.

To be sure, it has been higher…the 52 week high was $23 and the low $16.12.  Even in a sideways market, there will always be people who can spot a bargain and sense a top.

But the decline JB noted on the amount of junk email coming in may mean something much larger.  We could be starting down the slippery slope of a passing fad.

There’s a reason Santa’s credit card is not bulging with Hoola Hoops and CB radios this year.

We pride ourselves as smart people, generally.  But when barriers to entry fall, as I wrote in the fall of 1999 in an article Death by Dot Coms, things quickly turn down.

  • In 1832 a panic hit the US and was caused by the emergence of automation in the linen business. As textile prices dropped like a free-falling safe (through the early 1840’s) the supply-demand equilibrium was set to the breaking point and a panic ensued.
  • In 1873, the rightful freedom for 7 million Blacks, liberated by the Civil War, coupled with the front end of a huge immigration from Europe, that caused excessive labor in northern cities and pricing power collapsed as working wages fell. Naturally, financial panic ensued. The over-supply of labor echoed in the 1897 panic, too.
  • In 1929, the crash occurred when farmers, who had produced 7 million horses a year in 1920, planted excess grains as horse demand died in the 1920’s thanks to Henry’s Fords. This drove down commodity prices, and although low commodity prices fueled the Roaring Twenties, the back end of the deal was that the worst depression ever followed.

Each time we have seen barriers fail, there has been a major and rapid decline in general public well-being unless a series of sequential bubbles occurs, or war works, too.

Thus the 1987 mini-crash led (indirectly) to Desert Storm, and the Internet Bubble led to 9/11, the I-Wrong war, and the Housing Bubble.

It’s just how history works out…so when we look at Social Hoops, and CB Media, pardon me if we all take comfort knowing “This, too, shall pass…

Ain’t no point to Social Media if it doesn’t change anything…and judging by the slam-dunk of the feral (sic) budget this weekend, I’d venture social media has been a great “steam let’er-off’er that simply keeps the old line Ruling Class in place.


You will see we have finally started to provide for comments.  They will be reviewed a couple of times a day (as time permits, but likely not until this afternoon because of a busy schedule).

The idea is to collect topic, site, direction, and anything else that may come to mind.  Good manners and PG-13 language is appreciated.  OK, R-17 then…

The Pechewzelwhacker’s Diary

Yet more trivia relating to the origins of this particular term:  Reader Jim (who was laid up with the creeping death) sent in this linguini note:  (*when you read this site long enough you’ll instantly figure out the correct word is linguistic but we’re just word play’in…)

So the reason of my note was the statement from another reader saying that “Google doesn’t think pechewzelwhacker is a word.”.  When I read that I was immediately taken back to my childhood when the accepted term for that part of the male anatomy in our house was “Tallywhacker“. Use of the other unsavory names would result in a ass whuppin and time in the corner or anywhere I could not access any of my toys, tools, hunting & fishing gear and such. 

This term followed me to my family, 2 girls & 2 knuckleheads. One day when knucklehead #1 was about 6 or 7 we were out back playing some catch getting ready for a baseball game later in the day. A couple of neighbor boys joined us over the fence but being older they were a little overwhelming in their tosses. One catch was missed and ended up hitting knucklhead #1 guess where? Anyway he went on to start yelling that he was hit in the tallywhacker at the top of his lungs. He could be heard several blocks away. 

I told him not to worry it would stop hurting in a while to which he answered that if it didn’t he would just go get another one.  WTF?!!!!!!! So I had to ask where would one go to get a new tallywhacker? Knucklehead #1 just looked at me like I was some dimbulb and said “At the tallywhacker store.”

Took several minutes for the neighbor boys and myself to stop laughing our tallywhackers off.

Hate to say it, Jim, but Knucklehead #1 was ahead of the game:  You can shop for tallywhacker modifications such as prosthetics, replacements, and whole gender changes in the Bay area and other large metros.

This is “progress” and he probably heard it all at school.  Just sayin…We live in the End Times of Consumer Super-saturation where even gender preference is fair game for predatory marketers.  BTW if 1-800-TALLYWHACKER taken?

We might want to ask “Is this the next bubble?”  Kind of like Tattoo marketing…where people don’t realize how they are “similarly different…”  Society is a bit slow, though, which makes it easy for us to be ruled: 

Divided, conquered, and sold another bill of goods. Is it too early to get in on the ground floor of the tattoo removal business?

Write (or comment) when you break-even or if you need the ship-to address for that new Ferrari you’re getting us for Christmas…


38 thoughts on “Coping: With Internet Collapse and Social Diaspora”

  1. Glad to see that you’re allowing comments now George. Looking forward to hearing some of the other readers insight.

  2. Hi George – Been following you for years and enjoy your approach to life. I’ve threatened to write to you dozens of times but haven’t been able to kick myself in the butt hard enough. I am amazed at how many interests we share probably driven by a lifelong curiosity on how and why things work. We share (can’t remember it all)Piloting, sailer(10 years on a boat)Golf, carpenter/builder,first car was a 1953 Triumph TR3
    Ability to connect dots and decipher some of the BS coming out of the mouths of those who run the show and many more examples. I look forward to reading you everyday so please keep it up.

  3. There is a simple solution for the pork, lobbyists, and other related problems with the congress. If we replaced the House of Representatives with a form of “Direct Democracy”, where each representative had their own web site. And that each congressman relied solely upon the votes of his constituents.That is to say, the sole purpose of said congressmen would only be a regurgitation of the will of his constituents.
    This could be accomplished through example. If only a few of them did this, then it might start a trend in government.

    Example: “If I am elected, I will establish a web site for the sole purpose of presenting my constituents with all of the choices presented to me,letting my constituents make those decisions.” A no brainer for the conressman!

    • depends on how much of a cut the constituents will get from or for their “representative”. We have “direct” democracy now – and we have the likes of BHO and HR and Pelosi. Democracy has always failed – and always for the same reasons.

  4. How do you pronounce Pechewzelwhacker ? Try phonetically.
    Also ( boff ) is easily recognizable. Many of your colloquialisms are surprisingly well used in the N.E.
    Not Boston but Pa.

  5. “Is it too early to get in on the ground floor of the tattoo removal business?”

    I’ve seen such advertisements already. An outfit called “Disappearing Inc” has advertising on the mass transit in Bahstin (and it may have competition in the area).

  6. George, Love the site- I started reading when the Great Coastal Event was in the potential future. Sad, to say it didn’t happen. Of course I don’t want anyone to get hurt but something needs to happen to reset the government. The people need to get a voice again and right now, Democans or Republicrats are working for their wallet and the “barrier to entry” for honest folks is insurmountable. Keep bringing the common sense.

    • Hi FreddtRedSox:

      Have you considered that what Fukushima is doing to our Pacific Coast IS the great Coastal Event; but it’s being covered up and moving in slow motion.

  7. Greetings a long time reader and now paying member I am thankful for your tenacity in unraveling modern time cycles and offering humorous comment on the human condition.We are from Washington state and now reside on the Oregon Coast….remote and fairly pristine.
    I feel you would enjoy the insight of Thomas Griner .I was a patient of his in the late 70’s and to this day see the effects of his theories and practice.He certainly was ahead of the times and offered a viable therapy that was wholistic before it was in popular lexicon.Enjoy George and the best to you and all of your family.

  8. George I think including comments will add a whole new dimension for your site. Plus we’ll help decipher your numerous typos for the rest of the crowd.

  9. Hey George – long time reader, 10 years give or take. I found your mention of the giants last Friday extremely interesting so did a little looking around. St Louis has been called ‘Mound City’ and the reason for that is, there are ~ 130 mounds of dirt that have been built around the area. The largest is Monks Mound and is larger than the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

    Anyway, this is the first recorded city in North America and is referred to as Cahokia Mounds. If you look deep enough you will find reference to giant skeletons found at this site. Only about 1% of the site has been examined so no telling what else lays beneath.

    It’s a real mystery as to why this city existed and why it vanished within 300-500 years.

  10. Any time you put up another chart be sure to post a picture of the ass it was pulled out of. Good look predicting the movement of a 100% rigged market. If they called it a casino guys like Adelson would balk. Get back to more meat and potatoes actionable info. If i want msm fluff i’ll read Drudge. Brush up on your Machiavelli too, let’s pretend to be enemies and all that. Biggest biz model ever eh? Also:lose the microwaved(illegal in Russia) Campbell’s soup and you might look/feel better. Should you really be eating the sacred cow? Sure would be a b*tch if the universe is somehow punishing folks who eat animals in non-emergency situations eh?

    • Yo Mr. X; A bit harsh ? George offers a different perspective, sure at times it will coincide with other news and comment outlets. Nothing holds you here. George did note just today that he has noticed a small drop in readership. Each of us has the option to stay and go. Please note George will not change because of you or me, but for just that fact I come back day after day. If you get just one thing from his writings, the visit was worth it. If you are or are not a paying member matters not. Listen and learn, ( unless you already know it all )

    • I wasn’t there – but me thinks that humMANs have most likely always been omnivores (meat and potatoes) and not just vegetarians. Eating the ‘sacred cow’ only applies if you are of Hindi persuasion. The real problem is that we keep killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.

    • Don’t like the predicting stuff huh? Life, my friend, is based on prediction. It is the courage we exhibit in placing one foot ahead of another, in defiance of the unseen cliff’s edge that determines how far we get down the path of life. It is easy to cast disparities on the footsteps of those braver than ourselves. It is another thing altogether to carefully watch and learn fro the path they take.

  11. Wow! Comments! To tell you the truth, George, I stopped writing to you because seeing my comments in the old format was a hit and miss proposition; and for me (typical Type A, Perfectionist Overachiever) I wasn’t motivated to write after not being printed a few times. Your new Comments Section changes all that; and my voice is back.

    they didn’t get printed

  12. Good luck with the comments. I have a theory that your average reader is a couple of notches above average. Maybe we can avoid the knee-jerk totally predictable political back-and-forth (usually pretty off-topic) that haunts so many financial sites that allow feedback. Looking good, so far!

  13. My addition to your new great idea is this: ButtBook…yes, butt book…why? Cause everyone has one, and (some may have what appears to be 2 for the price of 1)…AND everyone can take a picture of their own butt (no genitalia allowed) and post it and have a big ole following for the posting….think….you can paint it, dress it up, put slang on it, make it like a video where IT speaks…i mean Butt Book’s time has come …. and why hasn’t anyone got on that butt wagon and made a gazillion?

  14. “UrbanSurvival traffic has been declining (slowly, thankfully_) sine the Internet Social Bubble peaked in about 2011/2012.”

    Isn’t that about when gold/silver peaked? I suspect your readership will increase when PMs rebound.

  15. Before I post the content of a different kind of ‘diaspora’ that came to my attention over the weekend, let me give you a little background on me, in order to avoid a breakout of comments in excess of PG-13.
    I’m ‘over the hill’ and ‘out of the game’. I’m a heterosexual female, yet mentally-emotionally I’m about half-way between typical male and female traits. I can usually see both sides of a male-female argument. Were I to visit George’s place, I would want a tour of his shop, and would probably end up discussing interior decorating and trompe l’oeil painting with Elaine.
    Fire suppression preface over – on to content………..
    In just the past few days a cluster of articles has hit the Internet that indicate a cultural and economic shift large enough to be considered a ‘diaspora’: Men are leaving.
    • The NY Times has run articles on ‘the vanishing male’ in the workplace
    • Breitbart has a series on the ”Sexodus”, about men abandoning sexual relationships
    • There is a research paper out of the UK titled, “The Darwin Awards: sex differences in idiotic behavior.” Men leave this life by dangerous/violent/idiotic behavior far more frequently than females
    For the sake of brevity I’m going to make a non-sequitur jump to another, possibly related, concept.
    Several months ago I listened to a podcast of Dawson Church, PhD (author of “The Genie in Your Genes”) interviewing Dr. Bruce Lipton (author of “The Biology of Belief”). A few brief statements by Dr. Lipton about the subconscious mind grabbed my attention. He said (from my notes and paraphrased) that the subconscious mind of a child before the age of 7 learns mainly in theta via ‘hypnosis’. The subconscious mind at that age is a recording device – no one is there. After the age of about 7 the subconscious mind learns via habit and repetition.
    So to begin to make a connection………..
    The subconscious mind ‘runs’ much of our life in a manner similar to the program coding of an interactive website or other computer application. It runs in the background. It is not directly visible in the day to day operations. Much of that code is written before the age of 7 by the people, experiences, and more recently, the numerous media inputs to which we are exposed.
    Contrast and comparison for you to chew on…………
    Consider a tribal society prior to radio, TV or Internet. What would a young boy’s inputs/experiences/coding be?
    Consider a boy in the USA post-1950s. What would a boy’s inputs/experiences/coding be as the TV became the prime baby-sitter? Then consider subsequent generations of increasing TV exposure followed by increasingly immersive video games. Mind-riveting images with emotion modulating sound flood the attention for long periods of time. What kind of behavior does this encode?
    Remember – that early coding does not go away. Some of it may be rewritten by ‘habit and repetition’. Yet the intense inputs of TV and media and video games have not gone away. Is the root level coding of young children one of the ‘bugs in the system’? Is the subconscious mind an invisible elephant in the room that we constantly run into, and then blame each other for the bruises? Are men ‘burning up the gears’, because of conflicting coding, and shutting down to reduce the stress? Are men ‘vanishing’ because their map does not match the terrain?
    Are most of us (ALL of us?) lost because our internal coding and maps do not match the physical and cultural terrain?

    • Hi Robin,

      I really enjoyed reading your well thought out comments. A great addition to Mr Uri’s morning musings and prognostications.

    • If not lost, then definitely confused….it is obvious the old ways are not being honored or defended any longer…it is a free for all, literally….if you are broke, don’t work, the gov will take care of you; if you are a male, don’t marry, your baby’s momma will marry the gov and the gov will take care of them…if you are a boy, don’t be a boy, you will be a target, put on ADD meds for acting rambunctious…a mixed boy is better than a boy…didn’t you know that being a boy is totally out of style? Many schools took out recess for kids….kids aren’t supposed to run, play, or catch and release cooties… heck an article came out the other day, from some study (yeah, funny about those funded studies)…that men protect their prostrate better when they sleep around….funny, that…my Dad slept with my Mom all of his married life and so did both of my Grandfather’s sleep with their wives, and they didn’t die of prostrate cancer….but some study said that men gotta sleep around to protect that prostrate…oh another study said that men roamed around so as to spread their seed…well, seems to me common sense would say, all those men roaming around in bands were looking for women to have babies with and once they started making families, maybe they were roaming for food or new food hunting grounds or water…so yeah, I would say that men are under attack, the family is definitely out of style, ask the IRS and obamacare, both reward single families, not 2 parent families….so the programming going into the kids these days is from all levels and textures…movies, tv programs, music, cartoons, books, schools, teachers, peers, and lastly their parents, or one of them…but thankfully, as that brain food guy is saying on PBS, we are not our DNA and we can influence, affect, and CHANGE our DNA, AND BRAINS so let’s hope that pesky old sub-conscious can still be reprogrammed up to all ages and states in life! Bring back the male! Bring back the female! Bring back the family!!! Somebody has to set an example for the robots!

    • Those who are hipnotised, are under control of the hypnitists. You must look farther and deeper to see what is really presented. Before video games and Tee Vee there was the word, and the word was God. The information you are processing right now, is learned. Your mind breaks down every letter and reassembles them in your mind into words, then sentences and then paragraphs give them value. In that process you are assigning tones to the vowels. This is how we read and comprehend information using the system we were taught by those who taught us and were taught themselves.

      No big deal. Everyone does it. right?

      However information is relayed in binary fashon to the subconscious . We trained from an early age to__read__by____only___paying_attention to____the letters/words/sentances/paragraphs and ignore all that is inbetweenthem. Now when you read the above statement what does it do, it slows down the tempo and timing of your thoughts as you read it. Giving greater impact or value subconsciously to what is presented.

      Now go open any bible or any spiritual book. See the difference__in__spacing? How in genisis 1, it slows the readers timing, tempo and focus down on the Genesis 1:5, God called the light day and the__Darkness__he__called__night.

      The shift is so subtle that well, very few ever recongnise it, simply because we are trained to over look such things.

      The same anomoly is presented in almost All spiritual writtings. No matter the translation or publisher. And has been hidden for hundreds of years. Right in plane site. For one it emulates breathing, for 2 it grafts the negative contexts deeper within the subconscious mind.

      So get on with your rant about television and such ruining the the world. Those who placed this form of hipnotism in a the spiritual writtings don’t care, because friend, they control how you define God and seek God out without you ever realising that they are doing so. The warning is firm at the end of the bible, don’t add to these words, don’t subtract from them.. but they found away around that, and it keeps you focused on your God, the God named word.

      Sad but true.

      If you post this George, I will be greatly suprised. Love the site, just don’t have much time for it these days. I’m too busy living.



    • In the same form as you find in books where you can clearly see this, you find in technology, just a “bit” more hidden.

      It is wise to remember these two truths:

      #1. every word that is written is re-written in and by the mind that reads them.
      # 2. Whatever holds your focus has you in its grasp.

      I w0n’t comment further George. Thanks for keeping the lights 0n.

  16. Thanks for adding a new dimension to your site! I enjoy reading the insights of others stirred up by your work.

  17. As the guy who looked up Pechewzelwhacker on Google, I have heard of a Tallywacker. … and, so has Google.

    Anyhow, I thought the “fed” was responsible for messing around in the free market trying to “fix” the things you sited George, that was actually the cause of the “Great” depression. The imbalances would have probably eventually cycled out if left to the law of supply and demand. To the degree that monopolies are held in check, the system is self regulating.

  18. I’m afraid I’m one of the “fallen ones” that do not dail visit U.S. (tho still on my desktop). Doing a daily website is a perilous business and I empathize with anyone doing such.While there is no limit to the human imagination there is only so much you can come up with on a given day to keep thing interesting and lively. That said, “I’m Back” because of your comment section. At last I can butt and rebutt and share my “infinite wisdom” with George and the world. Good move George, I think you’ll see your numbers coming back since IMHO reader comment is often the most interesting and educational part of blogsites.

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