The description of the old word flâneur was interesting to me because it describes something I’ve done before. When I was in high school I’d occasionally go down town just to observe people, see sights, and maybe draw sketches of things I saw. I had a lot of time on my hands I suppose. I even wrote a poem once about the people I saw while waiting in line for the zoo. I observed them the same way one observes the animals. To me it’s about serendipity. You go some place, not knowing what you’re going to do or what you’re going to find when you get there.
The internet can be like this. Often times people find themselves surfing youtube and finding unexpected content that leads to more unseen and unexpected content. The recommended videos bar can take you on a real online adventure. I don’t romanticize it the way the author does because I think that is very often a way people procrastinate their responsibilities. But nevertheless, it seems that serendipity is more of a possibility when the algorithms that deliver your content aren’t perfectly tailored to you. Because if the content is perfectly to tailored to what already interests you, to who you are now instead of who you might be someday, then the possibility of serendipitous discoveries becomes less and less. Facebook, and Google seem to making products that are better at being addictive, but not necessarily more fulfilling in the long term sense.