Log onto the Internet and fire up all your favorite social media outlets, and, if it's an average day on the web, you're bound to be bombarded with Kardashians. But what if didn't have to be that way? What if you could log into Facebook, click through your favorite site's articles, check who your ex-boyfriend is dating, and see who from high school didn't age well... and do it all without hearing about Kim's latest antics or Kylie's lips? It sounds crazy, right? Dreams are simply dreams.
However, some people's dreams can become reality. According to The Daily Beast, a 21-year-old British fellow named James Shamsi is seeking to change that. He's developed an extension called #KardBlock, which does exactly what its name claims it does: it blocks the Kardashians from your Internet browser. As he puts it on the website for the service, it's like "an AdBlock version for the Kardashians."
According to #KardBlock's website's mission statement, the service wants people to no longer be saddled with fluffy Kardashian news (save for Bruce Jenner's groundbreaking news about his gender identity, which can't be called fluffy at all). It would rather —per #KardBlock's website — show real news and raise awareness about real issues, such as the recent earthquake in Nepal.
As Shamsi put it to The Daily Beast, "The concept here is to replace Kardashian links with ones to charitable causes of all kind ... But our ultimate goal is even bigger than just that. We are looking to disrupt the entire digital advertising space. We want to replace all advertising with donation links and important news widgets."
The concept —while potentially more pertinent than ever, especially given the rise of the younger girls in the clan, Kendall and Kylie™ (Jenner) and the introduction of North West to all of our lives – is not exactly revolutionary.
Browser extensions designated to block the unsavory have existed for some time. Consider Dash-Out, an extension for Chrome and Firefox that has the same intention as #KardBlock does. In 2011, Mashable discussed Silence the Celebs, which let users choose which celebrities they wanted to eviscerate from their Internet browsing experiences, much like #KardBlock aims to do in the future. And of course, we're all familiar with ad blockers and popup blockers. We are constantly trying to streamline our browsing experiences by eliminating what we don't want to see; search the Chrome Webstore and you can find a whole bunch of target-specific blockers.
After all, the idea behind these sorts of extensions is technically simple, despite the complicated programming needed to construct them. Simply put, a blocking browser extension is a service with a sense of omniscience; it has access to view what you're looking at, and thereby, is programmed to strip away what you command it to eliminate. But Shamsi's greater plan is not just to eliminate a nuisance, but rather to perpetuate awareness about important and charitable ideas — which might be why the service, which is currently in its beta phase, is completely free.
"We are not charging for this," he told The Daily Beast. "We’ve set up a donation page, but we’re sending those donations straight to charity. This is all about making a change that will potentially impact the lives of a lot of people. The reason that we have launched it like this is because obviously this is the way to get the most attention. We are hoping to make a splash with this and kind of change the way the Internet actually works."
What the extension may do — given the notoriety and popularity of its focal family — is remind people they can customize their browsing experiences. There's also potentially autonomy in saying, "I choose not to engage in this Kardashian fodder." Of course, a total sweep of the Kardashians across the Internet could potentially erase any conversation around Bruce Jenner's gender identity, which is an important conversation for the media to be having right now. Perhaps more advanced versions of #KardBlock will be more specific, allowing users to select exactly which stories they wish not to see.
Until then, you can always choose not to click on something.