Help To Save The World: Go Online

from the easy-when-you-know-how dept

Too often we read that the Internet is making us stupid or fat, or destroying the "fabric of society." Indeed, judging by the all the digital jeremiads it's a wonder that anybody dares to use it at all, since it's clearly irredeemably bad in every way. So it's refreshing to come across an upbeat piece from Lauren Weinstein with the inspiring title "How the Internet Can Save the World." His basic point is this:

When people have the easy and inexpensive means to communicate directly, especially in informal settings and about the everyday aspects of life, they usually discover that they have much more in common than they perhaps expected. This seems true whether we're using written communications, or audio and video links like Skype or Google+ Hangouts -- working our way ever closer toward a full "virtual presence" that makes our common humanity impossible to ignore.
In other words, far from always isolating us, or bringing out the worst, the Internet also has the power to unite us and bring out the best. That's another reason why we need to worry when governments or interest groups try to control the Internet, and dictate what we can and cannot say and do on it: it's not just an assault on our freedoms, it's also an obstacle to greater understanding between people and nations.

Weinstein concludes:

I spend much of my time considering the ways in which the wonders of the Internet could be wrecked, or blocked, or subverted. But it's also important that we consider the vast potential the Net holds for improving the world in the most relevant and important of ways.

Not just in terms of science and research, though those are great. Not just in regard to commerce and the global economy, though these are crucial.

But also in terms of the basic fact of fundamental human communications, of being able to as freely and openly as possible discuss with other mere mortals around the planet the nature of our lives, hopes and dreams, our loves, and yes, our fears as well.
It's a post that makes you glad you use the Internet, not guilty, as the pundits of pessimism would have us feel. Read the whole thing -- and then to go back to what you were doing before: helping to save the world by communicating with others online.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 5:28am

    Awwwww, so cute

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Narcissus (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 5:47am

    Not so sure...

    'they usually discover that they have much more in common than they perhaps expected.'

    It seems Ms Weinstein has never visited the places where someone mentions:
    a. Any particular gaming console
    b. Any particular subset of PCs (Windows/Mac)
    c. Football should be called soccer
    d. Any particular religion or lack of it
    e. Praise/critique of copyright/patent laws

    3,2,1... Start Flame war!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    CENSORED

    "When people have the easy and inexpensive means to communicate directly, especially in informal settings and about the everyday aspects of life, they usually discover that they have much more in common than they perhaps expected."

    Governments do not like this. When people communicate and share ideas, it weakens the control of mass media and government. The public begins to question policies that we are told are for our benefit but contrast with reality. Politicians can corporations can no longer just state things without evidence to back up their statements, because netizens will simply seek out the facts and share them At best this makes the corporations/governments look incompetent and at worst appears to be flat out lying to the public.

    Therefore the internet must be controlled. Unfortunately, the powers that be seem to think of the internet as a phone or television and the controls that work on those mediums just don't seem to have much effect on the interwebs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Randall D, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 6:42am

    I think most of us would agree...

    I think most of us would agree that the internet is a wonderful way to share information. One of the best ideas I've seen online is the Charter for Compassion - http://charterforcompassion.org/ . It could, potentially, help "Save The World". Pretty much everyone could get behind it, and channel energy into it, instead of wasting energy fighting over controversial issues and accomplishing little (except creating more sorrow and strife).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 6:56am

    The reasons why we love the net are the same reasons why they hate it, and vice versa.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 6:59am

    1,2,3,4.....you just started a flame war

    correction..

    *c. Soccer should be called Football

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 7:06am

    I smell conspiracy

    Did Greenpeace pay you to post that : )

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 7:14am

    Re: 1,2,3,4.....you just started a flame war

    Soccer is called Football. Just because you colonials don't, doesn't mean it isn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Toot Rue (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Re: I think most of us would agree...

    I think I've been spammed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    S, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: 1,2,3,4.....you just started a flame war

    Football is played with the feet a ball.

    Handegg is played with the hands and an egg.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    S, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: 1,2,3,4.....you just started a flame war

    Football is played with the feet and a ball.

    Handegg is played with the hands and an egg.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    Re: Not so sure...

    OK, outside of (c) you have a valid point.

    But. still, outside of trolls and paid "agents" (and I hope they don't pay bob much..what the hell..blow the bank on him!) there' no reason that a discussion can't take place on almost all that list once people get by their biases.

    In fact we've seen it in this forum where, outside of the trollish types and self appointed MPAA/RIAA defenders people have changed their views. We're not in a pub where largish amounts of beer cement arguments in place, often just for the fun of it.

    Where we aren't exposed to constant propaganda about the "enemy" types whoever they may be we have this wonderful tendency to get along. It also means the "enemy", whoever they are, are easier to spot.

    They're the ones that want to divide us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 9:31am

    Re: CENSORED

    "Unfortunately, the powers that be seem to think of the internet as a phone or television and the controls that work on those mediums just don't seem to have much effect on the interwebs."


    I would have gone with "fortunately".

    If these clueless morons ever do figure out how the interwebs work, then we may have a real challenge on or hands.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile), Jun 6th, 2012 @ 10:15am

    1,2,3,4.....I inflamed a flame war

    Either way... Football or HandEgg is better played on Linux than on Windoze or AppleCrap.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    tholen, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

    Glyn Moody writes:

    So it's refreshing to come across an upbeat piece from Lauren Weinstein with the inspiring title "How the Internet Can Save the World." His basic point is this:


    Classic contradiction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    James Carlson, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 5:26pm

    Re:

    Mr. Lauren Weinstein is a well-known writer and social advocate. It's a darned shame that some folks commenting here don't know his work and instead seem to poke fun at his name. *sigh*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    tholen, Jun 7th, 2012 @ 12:21am

    Re: Re:

    James Carlson writes:

    Mr. Lauren


    Classic contradiction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Quingle Gas, Jun 7th, 2012 @ 1:15am

    Re: Re:

    I have to agree with tholen here. Google hath spoken:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=lauren&tbm=isch

    "Lauren" is quite definitely a girl's name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Randall D, Jun 7th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: I think most of us would agree...

    Apologies if it seemed/sounded like spam. Not selling anything. Just want to help make the world a better place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hey, you're that kooky guy from the OS/2 newsgroups, aren't you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2012 @ 12:23am

    Re: Re: CENSORED

    Yeah, but what are the odds of that happening?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    tholen, Jun 8th, 2012 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What does your classic erroneous presupposition have to do with techdirt, Coward?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    tholen, Jun 8th, 2012 @ 9:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Quingle Gas writes:

    I have to agree with tholen here. Google hath spoken:


    What does your URL have to do with techdirt, Gas?

    "Lauren" is quite definitely a girl's name.


    What does your classic pontification have to do with techdirt, Gas?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This