Wow we're the two guys in the world who feel this way,. I knew there was someone else out there somewhere.
You acquire knowledge through reading; through either written words or equations on the page. Knowledge acquistion for humans is inherently and forever a process of abstract symbol processing- we process speech and scratches on a page and transform it into understanding. That's as natural as breathing. Plain text is the once and a future king of the internet.
Sure, interactive infographics is a real step forward in faciliating the comprehension of complex data sets and interrelationships but those are few and far inbetween and most of the web is a designed for something else.
Suer somethings are better demonstrated than explained verbally. No one is arguing with that.
But the vision of the web as a general purpose computing platform hosted in the cloud which distributes it's "resuts" to limited capacity machines (that would be yours) which more or less passively consume the output is the TVization of the web.
It's what the media companies crave because it puts them back into the seat of power they've always held- power to decide what you see, what you're told, what you know; the power to turn you on and and turn you off using draconic and insane theories of "intellectual property" like software patents and copyright-forever and take-down notices - the whole SOPA and PIPA machinery of innovation control and democracy annihilation which is being about to be passed into law through the TPP passage.
Pages like Huffpo and Facebook it's ilk are unendurable, with video splattered everywhere, their incessant loading , reloading, sputtering and changing. But worse, on a deeper level, they're deliberately designed not to inform readers but to *develop detailed profiles of reader's specific interests which are then sold to marketers and employers*.
They do this by making the headline, the actual content and the link-paths to their stories micro-interest sieves. With each follow-me link, with each carefully worded headline, every news story is broken out along predefined personality/interest micro topics. By the time you've clicked down to the actual story you wanted to read, you've told huffpo and their "partners" an enormous amount yourself personally, your personal circumstances, your private interests, private concerns and life circumstances.
When read Huffpo you repeatedly engage in the above cycle and they in turn tweak and retweak their sieves to be finer and finer over time - this is an iterative game for them- so it reads you back, like a book.
It knows you're a 23 y/o white woman living in THAT house with 3 roomates who's had an abortion, makes 23k a year working as a temp and is currently looking for a partner with which she can surprise one day by intimating she's willing to explore 50 Shades of Gray type S&M and that you have 34k in student loan debt you worry a lot about.
It knows that and it shares that information to "its partners" which is to say anyone with enough money who wants it, who in turn sell that to your potential employers, that grant issuing institution you applied to, that political organization you're thining about joining, perhaps to see how far you can go.
It sells it to the gatekeepers of your life so that when you show up in your new business causual outift to interview, you might as well be butt fucking naked with what you thought was your most private and personal information neatly typed out in Courier 12 on bond paper instead of you education and qualifications.
And that's if your just Joesephine Average. If you're Josephine Someone, then you've effectively given your political and ideological enemies an intimate and detailed roadmap to how exactly to manipulate you, to play on your hopes and fears, who in terms of micro-interests, educational background, gender, height, looks hair and eye-color, SES background to put in front of you in order to convince you to take path X.
And just remember, this information isn't "out there" for everyone to read (the very, very false 'transparent society' claim) oh fuck no. It's a closely guarded secret, a trove of defacto intelligence which the targets, the plebes, will never gain access to. It's a unilateral power play used by what used to be called "the man" to control and channel not merely your opinions on issues or even voting but the entire arc of your life.
That's what Facebook Huffpo and the rest of the Big Internet Media is- Google, Slashdot and its corporate owners, allof them.
The web which was going to be the great democratization of information and power has been flipped by the government, by the ruling class as an instrument of inteligence gathering and population supression; in simplest form, it's been turned into an endeavor of *lists of people* creation machine.
And dont make the mistake of thinking it's a two way street, because this
is what Facebook does to websites who's political position might effect its bottom line.
Take it from the survivors of 1930s Germany- all fascism begins with lists.