So what has the Internet really changed, anyway?

No, seriously. We have information at our fingertips, a whole new field's opened up, blah blah blah globalization--but what has the Internet changed on the grand scale of things, beyond being a mere blip in the overarching pattern that defines all human endeavor? (Dude, Mandelbrot totally could have proven all this. It's a bummer he's dead...though I didn't know he was alive until I saw his obituary in the NY Times....)

Anyway, the world is still the confused, unbalanced (though, I posit, slowly inclining on an economic axis) thing it was when the Soviet Union collapsed in the early '90s. Africa is still severely underdeveloped, billions of people starve every day--and, honestly, I think it would be like this with or without the Internet. Yes, leisure time has increased even more because we don't have to run around looking for information or trying to communicate--but significantly?

The one place that might actually be different is teenagers. Man, teenagers these days--so fucked up. Not just the recent gay 'hate crimes'--I'm not sure there was so much anti-homosexual sentiment as there was just people being dicks--but all sorts of things with little teenagers suiciding over extreme Internet bullying, etc. Back in the day, this shit had to be face-to-face. And you got over it, or passed it on, or did something--has anyone studied the increases in self-harm/depression and for that matter any condition exacerbated by isolation (which is used as a model for stress in mice)? Guys, Internet friendship isn't real friendship.... Which brings me to cybering and sexting, which are both gross and happening in disturbingly young age groups and I refuse to talk about them because...ew.

Also, privacy was never real guys. I've seen some incredibly personal stories posted online--there's a lot of 'dude maybe you should talk to a real person' and also 'are you trying to get your identity stolen, dipshit?' I have no idea why you think posting all your shit on Facebook is, or ever was, safe.

Seriously. Real life: try it out!

Okay now I'm definitely wondering what the ads for this entry are going to look like. Hilariously ironic, I hope. :D

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are SO right about all this. I just had to comment. This is RayOfLight1005, by the way. I say what the world needs is to go back to the tribal lifestyle, or something similar. People need to value friendship (the real thing, not acquaintance relationships), above all else and learn how to be open-minded toward each other and their cultures if the world is ever going to get anywhere. The internet, as you mentioned, really isn't helping. It's doing the opposite. Do teenagers nowadays even know what friendship is?

It's funny, because I said some of the same things you said here in a conversation with someone recently. I think it's stupid how Americans define "friendship," and even stupider how these kids seem to only communicate via Facebook or texting nowadays. I always had a pet-peeve about how Facebook labels connections as "friends," when it should really say "acquaintances" or "contacts." It's not humanly possible to have more than 120 real friends (in my opinion, it should be way less), and it seems like the average person on Facebook has at least 200. I totally agree with you when you say that people need to try out real life, and they need to do so before the great concept of friendship is completely forgotten. Gee, I wonder what the world could turn into if real relationships ceased to exist, thanks to the internet...