The Internet Keeps Us More Disconnected?

from the big-generalizations dept

Ah, backlash. Salon is reviewing a recent book The Control Revolution: How The Internet is Putting Individuals in Charge and Changing the World We Know in which they say the author really is saying that the internet, instead of breaking down barriers between people pushes us further apart as we find sources of news and information that agree with us, and stick to them and ignore any other viewpoint. There may be some truth to this, but I don't think that's particularly different than pre-internet, and the internet at least lets curious people have better access to differing points of view. But, that doesn't make as good a story.
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  • identicon
    Mark Gallagher, 9 Nov 1999 @ 2:36pm

    There is a point here

    I truly do agree with the basic point here, if not with some of the specifics.

    There a are a few people who actually do use the web to get exposure to other ideas and communities, but the trend is definitely towards user-speciallization of content. Consumer profiling to target advertising, new filters, and so on.

    I have seen, first hand, how on-line "communities" can provide wildly distorted context for assessing a behavior's commonality and acceptability. There is nothing new here, of course, people have been forming and joining cults to accomplish the same thing as long as there have been people. However, the web (and its accompanying filtering technologies) do make it much easier and cheaper to isolate onself for unfamiliar or offensive ideas. Basic economics says that if its cheaper, more people will do it.

    Not the end of the world, but something to think about.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 9 Nov 1999 @ 3:27pm

      Re: There is a point here

      Well, we've always known that web better allows people with different interests to better find each other. That's never been disputed. The difference here is looking at the internet and suggesting this is a big negative for the internet. I think the blame is being placed incorrectly. Once again, the internet is just a tool that helps people find more information in an easier fashion... That information could lead to more educated, or more miseducated people. But, placing the blame on the internet is silly and misses the whole point. If this is such a big problem, then look for other ways to solve it... don't blame the tools which also provide plenty of good information to others. Teach people to think critically and explore all sides of an issue.

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


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