The internet was intended to be used as a communications system where one person could share a piece of information with another in an instant. Since its inception in the late 60’s, it has grown to be much more than that and has been integrated into almost every aspect of our lives. Arguably, the internet could be considered one of the most innovative, influential, and significant technological advancements mankind has ever made (all thanks to the invention of computers of course).
We are now all connected!
Thanks to the internet, we now have access to endless amounts of information, entertainment, and means of communication; all without having to move from the couch. Back in the old days, people had to use an ancient shop called “Blockbuster” to rent a movie. They would have to get in their cars, browse an entire store full of something called “VHS Cassettes,” bring it home and put it in a big metallic box, and rewind it for five to ten minutes before finally being ready to enjoy the flick. They’d also have to return the VHS to the shop after a certain period of time or face paying a fee.
There were also these items called “paper” and “pencils” which were used to write things with. After writing a paragraph or two, the pencil would become dull and the writer would have to use a device to sharpen it. After completing the writing, they would then put the paper in an envelope and mail it to the person they wished to read it. Today, we call this an email, but in the olden times, it was called a “letter,” and would typically take 3-5 business days to reach its destination.
What primitive times they were!
Now, we can send information across the entire world in a fraction of a millisecond. It is truly a wonder how far we’ve come!
Ok, sarcasm aside, the internet is a wonderful invention. Social media has allowed us to communicate with others and share a vast amount of information that simply would not have been known of or available just 30 years ago. With the flick of our fingers, we can view worlds beyond our reach, contact people on the other side of the globe, and find out what’s happening thousands of miles away. It is now the main source of all communication and information.
Social media has become one of the primary uses of the internet now. In a way, if you could divide the internet into sections or genres, like music, I think social media would be the pop culture section. It is constantly up to date on hot topics, tweens love it, and the flashiest platform seems to be the best (depending on societal trends).
I believe the original intent for most, if not all social media outlets, was to build a community where people could congregate to share their experiences, uniqueness, ideas, and information. Unfortunately, they have evolved into a place where people spread false information, share hateful opinions, argue, and ultimately, use as a distraction. Oh, and I can’t forget about the ads that sneak into my view every few seconds and the constant notifications that hinder my ability to be productive.
Have you ever noticed that if you search for something on Amazon or Google, suddenly all the ads are relevant to the items you searched for? The same goes with the news links we click and anything else we might view (more on that in a future post).
The information being provided to me is now catered to my specific interests. My clicks over the years have determined the content that is pushed to me and I am now blinded to all other pieces of information. If I want to stay informed about any particular subject or explore the internet freely, I have to do research to find a new content, a dissenting opinion, or factual information. It has become tiresome and I can’t say I enjoy it.
It’s not all bad though. It has allowed me to share my thoughts with my readers and create a platform that wouldn’t have existed in any other capacity. I am also able to stay in touch with friends and family and am able to share interesting content with them in a click. The world has become very busy (social media is partly to blame but I’ll elaborate later), so it’s convenient to be able to send a quick message to the person I’m thinking about instead of having to put my finger in a hole and dial nine numbers and wait for the operator to connect me.
I am far more educated and connected thanks to the internet and social media. If I ever have a question, I can ask the all-knowing Google machine to oblige me with an answer and the evil of the world has also revealed itself to me within numerous comments sections.
But I can’t help but wonder if this is what Tom Anderson and Mark Zuckerberg imagined for their creations. I wonder, if they could go back, if they would do it differently (assuming they hadn’t become billionaires). I wonder if Zuckerberg would have abandoned his plans had he known the evils that would come of social media, or would’ve put better systems in place to shield the world from the malicious ads, fake news, and trolls…we may never know.
There will be more on this topic to come!!!
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