& Kill

Taking stock of the internet before it totally changes

The Internet

From the editor: The ON_Discourse team dispatched to Austin for the 2024 SXSW with a dorm-room style ice-breaker question that generated much more introspection than we expected. More than that, this playful question dominated many of our events; one person’s answer inevitably sparked an impassioned response from someone else. If the internet as we know it is poised for a major change, should we be surprised by this reaction?

We are on the brink of a new internet. It looms over the horizon like a storm that we know will realign many of the conventions that define the web today. The changes to come are fundamentally unpredictable; we simply know they will be profound. As this storm approaches, many of our members are taking stock of the web itself; what they love, hate, and hope about it.

We tapped into this sentiment at SXSW this year with one of the most juvenile ice-breaker questions we’ve asked so far in our journey. What would you kiss, marry, and kill about the internet of the past, present, and future. The question drew an immediate reaction – maybe it was the tequila – that went surprisingly deep. We were just trying to have fun so we could get some raw perspective for this moment.

The following perspectives were overheard at SXSW:

Matt Chmiel
Matt Chmiel
Head of Discourse

What I would


The features, apps, and conventions that briefly infatuate us. They seem so wonderful at first, but something about them fails to deliver.


God they were amazing at first, but now it’s insane. They are interrupting everything in our lives and totally not worth it. — AI entrepreneur


Idealistically what it represents is something that something that is built around a set of core values, shared values. People join and are a part of something because they all they all have something in common.


Being able to search, I think it’s so powerful, but the format of this experience is not right. The way it works now is you enter this search term and get these 12 links which forces you to refine that search with 12 more links, right? I would want to get rid of that and have it be a more natural, predictive way of talking and searching. — Brand Executive


It was so fun and sexy and I miss it. — CEO


Algorithmic sharing of content. We sorted it and we’ve reached its logical extreme and it was a good run. We’re great at it; we dominated; we won. By winning, we lost. We lost because, literally, what will get shared is what will what will suck you in which is low quality content whenever you need it. — CEO


It sucked and was stupid, but it could have been amazing. — Brand Executive

What I would


The long-term opportunities and features that showcase the best of what the internet can offer end-users, brands, and platforms. This is way bigger than infatuation; this is love.

Online Gaming

I think gaming will combine movies and storytelling – big narration – that is going to be really interesting. Then you can actually kind of be a part of it. And with that comes all that personalization that creates your flavor of that. It’s going to be huge. — AI entrepreneur


As a productivity tool that supports what we do at a professional level, I think it’s phenomenal. And a social network that seems to have maintained a level of positivity that doesn’t exist elsewhere. — Famous podcaster

Spatial Computing

I believe it’s in it for the long term. It’s not just flashy and sexy right now, though it is. But it will be transformative and here for a long time and continue to evolve and get better like any good marriage. — CEO


We are selling it wrong; this is not meant to be a front-end benefit. No one needs to know what’s even there. But I think it will underpin the next internet. I’m thinking about the fediverse side stuff and the decentralization of our social networks for example, or being able to move your identity wherever you want. I get so excited by tokens and authenticity. — Brand executive

Blockchain (again)

It is the most boring thing I could possibly say. But I actually do believe that blockchain as an identity-based solution will change the way we use the internet forever. — CMO

Home Pages

They are still one of the most overlooked pieces of the internet. Don’t sleep on the value of a really good home page, no matter what everyone tells you about side door entries. — Brand Executvie

What I would


Do we need to explain this one any further?


Two reasons: one, monopolistic dominance over any other potential competing products; and two, because the user experience just fucking sucks, and a company with $400 billion in cash on hand that cannot in any way innovate around making something that they have a non monopoly over better is very risky. This is one of the most frustrating things about Apple to me and I love that company. — Founder


iPhone neck and other issues with this stupid screen we keep in front of our faces like that. — Founder

SmartPhones (again)

Its days are numbered so I’m just getting it over with. — CEO

Social Media

I would kill it in the way that it represents a fake life. Yep. Right. So this whole story of ‘I’m living my best life and everyone is living a better life than me.’ Right? I would kill that party. — Brand executive


They are creating unchecked environments for minors and kids to engage in behaviors that are resulting in mental health and socially unhealthy behaviors and actions. — CMO 

Ad-Funded Content

I think that the main problem with the internet today is that it’s fully advertising-funded, right? With only a few exceptions. And the problem with advertising-funded means that we don’t give a fuck about the quality of the content. — CEO