DIGITAL AMERICA

Must Love The Internet

// Posted by on 02/04/2012 (7:35 PM)

When I decided to write a blog about this I asked my friends why they loved the internet? Being a bunch of college kids the most frequent response had something to do with how easy it was to look something up be it the definition of caprice, a plot summary, or a long forgotten formula from our days of geometry. People love the internet for many many reasons but most of them boil down into 2 categories; a quick source of information and as a means for communication. Honestly, how can one not love the internet? It has brought us countless innovations in technology simply by allowing people to tinker with it (Spacewar and Kinect hacks). And who can say no to things like facebook and icanhascheezburger?

This generation has grown up with an increasingly easy ability to log onto the internet and do things that range from simply checking an email account to being inspired and creating a website or company of one’s own. Take Jonathan Harris for example, after noticing how people leave their mark on the internet through sites like twitter and facebook he decided to create a program that would save the feelings of people as they post it on the internet from all over the world asking himself what stories they would tell?
Kind of remarkable how we can all be connected within one program, I wonder if people like Stewart Brand, who saw and was instrumental to the idea behind all of our technology being developed out of the Counterculture movement, smile, and think ‘well done.’ The world is more connected than it has ever been all because of this nifty thing called the world wide web and the easy access most of us have to it. I just finished the book From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner, it describes how the philosophies and motives that led to the Counterculture movement influenced the development of the internet. It is a fascinating story and I certainly never connected the internet to the Countercultural movement prior to my reading but he ended with the argument that we aren’t quite living out that idea yet. A key idea from counterculturalists and the makers of the internet was that by being connected to each other there would be no need for the government, that we would bring about a totally egalitarian society. Obviously this has not occurred, and with things like SOPA and PIPA hanging in the air one wonders if this idea would ever come to fruition, or if it is a good idea in the first place? But as Harris’ work suggests we are all more alike and connected on more levels than we even realize, so maybe there is a chance that something like the internet could bring the peoples of the world together. But, in true cliche form, only time will tell. Meanwhile we use what we have and send our emails, write our papers, and post our statuses to facebook and twitter.

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Comments:


Bridget said...

I think Kelsey points out perhaps the most fascinating and powerful aspects to today’s internet – its ability to keep everyone connected. While the internet can connect people from different towns, states, and countries, this is not a given for many. Not everyone has internet in their homes in America, yet alone the entire world. While some people have a constant tie to the internet with laptops and smart phones, many are only able to access this network in public libraries, internet cafes, or other places of the like. The possibility of universally, free, accessible internet access seems like an attractive one. If this were the case, every human could have the ability to contact another when they want and need to, as well as have a constant connection to internet information and global news. Perhaps with the last point, paper editions of news content could be eliminated and in turn paper saved. The possibilities seem vast if each human had internet access 24/7. However, the fear of losing certain human aspects (such as face-to-face communication and physical intimacy) might still remain. If universal internet access were to be achieved, perhaps both users and creators (of internet websites, etc.) could be manipulated for more beneficial results, than negative ones such as the loss of human connectivity.

// 02/06/2012 at 9:04 pm

Allison said...

While I believe that connectivity is one of the most powerful aspects of the internet, I imagine that a lot of people appreciate the internet for its access to information. The difficult part for some people in certain parts of the world is obtaining access to the internet, but once that has been achieved people have immense knowledge right at their fingertips. Do you think that people take advantage of all they can learn through the internet? Do most people spend time browsing and researching history, politics, and science? Or are most of us living vicariously through our friends on facebook and tweeting about our lunches? Do we take for granted our accessibility to information?

// 02/07/2012 at 6:45 am

Kelsey said...

You make a really good point Allison, there is probably a disturbingly high percentage people who use the internet solely for social networking purposes. But, as cliche as it sounds, the internet can do so much more. On rare occasions I will search for something on wikipedia and just follow links just to learn about something random and new.
And, correct me if I’m wrong, people seem to actually learn things when they are pursuing knowledge outside of a class or a project. How different would our society be and how different would the internet be if its primary function was to teach its users?

// 02/07/2012 at 12:47 pm

Cythia said...

Excellent article, trendy web page design and style, continue the great work

// 02/09/2012 at 12:56 am