Like the chimpanzees in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" loudly heralding the arrival of the monolith, everyone seems to be leaping about solely for the purpose of creating a din.
Yes, this is a promising new medium. This is, after all, the age of possibilities, as proclaimed by Yankelovich and, shortly thereafter, Bill Clinton. But give me a break. What it is right now, in my opinion, is dull.
The truth is, seeking information on the Internet is about as fun and easy as flipping through a color-tabulated three-ring binder with your nose.
Oh sure, some of the latest Web sites are "hot," but most are not. And waiting to download them only adds insult to injury.
Click, wait, click, wait. Once you get there, ta-da, what have you got?
In the rush to populate the Wild, Wild, Web, pioneers have repeated history and simply charged in, staked a claim and hammered together a nice tar-paper shack or sod-house.
That's the attraction. It is a lawless land of bad writing and bad typography, and it cries out for a posse of editors.
Of course, this rush, like every other, has attracted all manner of carpetbaggers, medicine men, mercenaries, opportunists and dance hall girls to fill the immediate needs of the pioneers.
Silver-tongued dandies with flashy new graphics are popping up everywhere, ready to get your home page going, even if you haven't figured out why.
What does it matter? The object isn't to communicate, but to "be there" first.
Great brands known for their sophisticated communications are slamming good money down to produce cheap and tawdry click-shows, strung together with pamphlet-quality photos, sound bites and bullet points.
"And look, if you click here, the car moves. Cool, huh?"
Bullet-point fans are having a heyday with the current state of the Net because it confirms for them their belief that raw information, well bulleted, is all any presentation ever needed anyway.
"Why don't you just give the people the information," they say. "Why complicate things?"
Leave these people to their own designs and the World Wide Web will turn into the World Wide Overhead Projector.
Even great advertising agencies known for their powerful creative work have created home pages that make them look like mischievous engineers kicking up their heels after hours.
Frankly, I'm disappointed. And I don't think I'm alone. Some evidence suggests people are jumping off-line at an alarming rate. Maybe it's just duplications and free trials. But maybe not.
And still the home pages spring up-something like 400,000 commercial sites to date. In the race not to be "left behind," the standard of what's new! and what's cool! is being stretched.
Now, even the Pope is a hot site. He has jumped online (http://www.vatican.va) to give the faithful "a chance to browse thru papal speeches."
The new media are in danger of losing their mystique with a very real backlash of people who came to see the future and found it wasn't ready. It's as if someone had opened Disney World while it was still a swamp.
Put yourself in the consumer's shoes. Each week brings a new episode of "Friends," while some of your favorite sites haven't changed in six months.
Don't get me wrong. I truly believe that the new media offer the opportunity for some of the most dynamic, exciting, personally relevant communications anyone could ever hope to create.
So far, however, it's not keeping up with the ravenous been-there-done-that appetite of the American consumer.
Let's not blow this. If the Web is to live up to its full potential, it's time to make it seductive to our best creative people, as well as our best technical people.
The Web needs a creative revolution. Unless we continue to create, push and challenge, we will have a World Wide Rolodex on our hands.
Jack Supple is president and executive creative director of Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis. His e-mail address is [email protected]