For these reasons, no two people’s experience of the web will be the same; websites are put together based on our abstract identities. Professor Joseph Turow compares this to selling by peddlers in centuries past, versus the experience of the shopping mall. Shopping malls were a space where everyone had access to the same goods, for the same price. Peddlers—the old way of buying and selling—traveled door to door, sizing you up according to the looks of your home, remembering what you bought from them last time.
And for many of us, myself included, endless content overwhelms, resulting in decision paralysis (also called analysis paralysis). It’s that feeling of scrolling through Netflix for 20 minutes, only to give up and turn off the TV. The search for the edge of content—where seams reveal information as surmountable—becomes an obsession to relieve anxiety.