Early internet utopians predicted that the world wide web would usher in a new era of enlightenment. With unlimited information at our fingertips and the ability to instantly communicate with people from all around the planet, these people believed, the internet would fundamentally transform our species for the better. Anyway, it’s 2021 and the internet has indeed changed us forever, but mostly in that we can now spend our days doing stuff like watching a stop sign in Salem, Massachusetts that nobody stops at.
As Kotaku reports, Stopsigncam is a Twitch channel that’s been streaming a Salem intersection where, its title estimates, “98.73% of Vehicles don’t stop.” Apparently this stream has been going “since at least last year,” just documenting the many cars that pass the sign, hardly ever stopping. It gained more attention recently, though, after the YouTube channel JhbTeam let people know about the feed through a TikTok and summary video where it’s called “one of the best streams in existence.”
Now, Stopsigncam has around 150,000 followers on Twitch who just hang out in its chat section betting and commenting on which cars will stop and which will drive right through the intersection. The most devoted stop sign fans have even begun documenting the world of Stopsigncam on Reddit or made pilgrimages to the site in order to have lightsaber fights, do a backflip for the camera, or wash their beloved sign.
It’s tempting to attribute Stopsigncam’s success to the fact that a whole lot of people are still in lockdown and looking for distractions. But, even without quarantine causing us to look further afield for entertainment, Stopsigncam probably would have been a hit. It is, after all, a prime example of the kind of joy the internet can bring—not in the way the overly optimistic utopians might have predicted, but because it’s yet another unpredictable new way for the modern person to waste their time doing something stupid with strangers.
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