"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." - Eric Schmidt
Firmly in the running for the most pointless website in the history of the internet, Pointer Pointer is the latest in a long line of websites offering a glimpse of the inherent chaos that lies beneath the simplicity of sites such as Google and Facebook.
The premise is simple: move your pointer to a random place on the screen and the site loads a photo of someone pointing to the cursor.
Pointless indeed, but isn't that the point?
Despite being completely useless, @StudioMoniker's Pointer Pointer has already received over 1m hits, 850k unique visits, 22k likes and 8.3k tweets since it went live on Monday, suggesting that there is clearly some appeal. But why do we derive such pleasure from that which serves merely to waste our time?
Of course, Pointer Pointer will probably become little more than a footnote in the history of the internet. It won't change our lives to the extent that search engines and social networks have, but where these sites act to impose order upon the online world, sites such as Pointer Pointer give us a fleeting moment of light-hearted relief and allow us to access a space where rules and responsibilities are temporarily suspended.
Perhaps the existence of such sites represents a desire to view the world through the un/wp-content/uploads/filtered gaze of childhood, where the laws of logic and reason held no sway over our actions, or maybe our minds were just never supposed to be places of order. Regardless of what the cause is, the drive for chaos is evident in many different cultural instances, from Lolcats and Nyan Cat to Rickrolling and Dancing Babies.
Very few of these ideas achieve the momentum required to be classed as 'viral' and their popularity is usually short lived, but with the right set of variables an idea can spread like wildfire across a whole host of different sites and even into traditional media channels. The challenge is in correctly harnessing this raw energy and using it to create lasting and meaningful relationships between corporations, communities and individuals.
Before this can be done, however, we need to develop a greater understanding of human desire and what it is that drives us to rebel against the order. Unfortunately this may mean we end up visiting strange and disconcerting places such as Dot on the Horizon, Annoying Cursor or Super Bad, but rather than viewing these sites as useless, we should be asking how we can use them.
How do we even begin to understand the pandemonium of cultures that comprises the Internet? I would suggest that the first step is to experience the chaos and explore the furthest reaches of the space we have created. Only by embracing the madness may we learn to speak in its language.
What site do you think deserves the title of most pointless?