As I have alluded to in previous blog posts, the fact that the digital age is making us less and less human is extremely worrying. When we are faced with a social situation we are uncomfortable with we tend to “retreat to (what the author would call) the online real”. The internet is almost like a crowd pleaser, we do and say things to please others, we even post pictures in order to get approval from others in the form of a “thumbs up” or “like”. Although the internet has done plenty of good with the likes of donations to the “Invisible children of Kony” etc., “right now there are more people on Facebook than there was on the planet two hundred years ago. Humanity’s greatest desire is to belong and connect”. But how do we change this? What does conversation through machines make us forget?
Ultimately, it is down to the individual that is using the internet not to let it dictate their way of life completely. One should strive for time to themselves. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook once said “privacy is no longer a social norm” and it is statements of this nature that should be alarming to us as humans. “We are tempted to forget the importance of face-to-face conversation” and all that comes with it. What I found fascinating about this chapter was the impact twitter had in the 2009 uprising in Iran. It made the Iranian population feel “empowered and confident to stand up for freedom and democracy”. Mark Pfeifle, a former U.S. national security advisor even called for twitter to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. So how can social media constantly be under scrutiny if it does so much good? In my opinion, it is the sheer volume of use that has cast a negative light over it and I feel moderation would greatly benefit society.
I wanted to conclude my blog post with a quote that really stood out to my while reading this chapter as I agree with it completely. “Freedom of mind requires not only, or not even especially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities.” The web promises to broaden our world yet it narrows our exposure to new ideas. Therefore, I leave you with this: How much do we really know about the internet?