Update 12-2-21: Hey, guess what! The Internet is not over. It was all for the sake of promoting the book.
Original story: Imagine a world without the Internet. Sure, we’ll miss out on online shopping, the ease of working at home, andgluttony. But isn’t it also so calming to imagine a world where we don’t know how many friends are convinced Olive Garden will give them free food just to link to a Facebook post? Or any cousins who think the coronavirus vaccine is included ?
In my city, Seattle, random signs around town claim that Thursday, December 2, 2021, is the day the internet ends. On Tuesday, I took a picture of the message displayed at a closed sushi restaurant in my neighborhood. In the same lettering the restaurant used to announce it was “now closed on Mondays” or to make Gyoza hype, the sign now reads: “12022021 INTERNET ENDS.”
I found the sign confusing — don’t even ask me how long it took you to know 12022021 was the date of December 2, 2021 — so I tweeted it, writing, “Looks like the internet ends on Thursday, so get ready to guess.”
“Damn it, man!” One person tweeted a response. “I was just getting the hang of it!”
Turns out the banner I saw wasn’t the only one on display in Seattle, where the demise of the internet meant many people were suddenly unemployed. The signs are located in different places and they don’t all look the same, but they express the same history and message: Pack it up, online, you’ve had a great shot.
On the Seattle subsite, someone posted a photo of what appears to be a man climbing a street sign in Seattle with one of the “Ends of the Internet” sign on it. It’s not clear if he was the one who put the banner up, but he might.
“It looks like an attempt at viral marketing,” one Reddit user guessed. “It can’t be a movie, nothing big comes out that day.”
It might not be a big movie day, but it’s a great day numerically. 02-12-2021 is the longest symmetrical date of the year, which means it reads the same back and forth. (This does not work in other parts of the world, where the day is written before the month.) There, but this number works for all eight numbers, others only work if you shorten the year to two digits. So maybe some companies decided to play back and forth from history to do a marketing ploy to promote or something.
Kurt Schlosser, my friend who writes for Seattle tech site GeekWire, discovered a website – 12022021endofinternet.com – that could be relevant. Currently, it features a 1977 ARPANET chart and a countdown clock to 2 PM PT Thursday. So not only do we have an expiration date, we have an expiration time.
I’ve reached the email address associated with this domain and will report if anyone responds. Although if the internet ends on Thursday, I may have to notify you all with a message.