Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Digital Nation: The Mob


            You can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it.  The world has driven this idea into our minds, preaching a choice in individuality.  Did it work? Have we as a society listened, put an idea in our mind and become whatever we want to be?  There are a few considerable factors to look at when analyzing effects, one being technological advancements.  At any one point in time, a person can be connected to a vast network of people, little to hinder the links.  But with this extreme network come positives and negatives, issues society must face or advancements to embrace.
            A common term used to describe the mentality with all of the social networks and Internet use is “the mob” which works perfectly.  Some of the effects of the nearly ultimate connectedness are positive: globalization is refined and spreads allowing businesses and services communicate in any situation, people can stay connected no matter where they are (I for one benefit from this, my immediate family lives in Oregon, and I only see them at Christmas, spring break and summer, but I can stay in close communication with them) and information can easily be shared for the world to learn and understand.  With the connections maintained through online interactions, information can be passed on to anyone; there are no obstacles such as time to restrict what can be shared. And with the spread of business and work across the world, friends and families can stay in touch through any number of technologies, from cell phone, to social networks, Skype or e-mail. And in this new world, all people can learn anything and everything they want to through the Internet, a faster way to learn. Ideas are shared and memories saved using the Internet, innumerable connections are made everyday to all across the world.  People use Facebook to connect to friends, stay in touch and make new friends when in the past relationships were limited to time and place.  Facebook is a way for people to receive a small dose of another’s life in as much information as is shared.  Skype is a great way to stay in touch in a more personal way than phone, as it is in a sense, face to face.  Video chatting has picked up the past five years, and is used to share how ones day is with a friend, or for an employee to relay visual information to an associate anywhere in the world.  However, with this power comes conflict, responsibilities are abused and privacy is broken; anonymity creates a new monster.
            The negatives are clearly apparent, everyday stories of online bullying; identity theft and other issues are chronicled.  The negative effects of the connectivity are in my opinion totally unintended, as those who abuse it, have no reason to other than selfish disregard for people and wasted time when bored.  Misbehavior runs rampant because people are scared and hide behind the wall that is the Internet.  People conclude that no one can see them, they have anonymity on their side, and so they can do whatever they want.  Any person can get away with almost anything so they use and abuse what the Internet gives them. Opinions are voiced and harsh criticism doled out because there are no consequences—it is a wild-west smack down, people can do whatever.  In relation to society, it’s making people more critical, a person can say anything anonymously, and it carries over to the outside world.  The lack of consequences creates a false air for people to criticize others to the furthest extent.  The boundaries have been completely changed, almost non-existent and people are being hurt, lives disrupted.  The “online mob mentality” has changed to insult people from afar, without ever knowing them.  Places such as 4chan.com, and Formspring ridicule people to the extreme and post false and hurtful things about others.  Hatred is clearly evident online; there has to be some reason for this.
            The unlimited connections online can put you in contact with billions of people.  What would you say to them? Where would you go to say these things?  In the past decade this has been a major issue, people are being rude and hateful online, for almost no reason.  Is society to blame for this?  One explanation is it is an outlet for these people, a place to get rid of anger.  But this is totally irresponsible; how can anyone be comfortable doing this sort of thing? The anonymity factor.  It’s all about what you can get away with.  Universal connectivity has its obvious problems, but with those are the advantages.  As the world changes, so does our technology and the etiquette has not carried over, rules and boundaries have been more and more vague.  The wall that is the Internet has created a new monster; everyone is connected to each other.

2 comments:

  1. I believe this post does a phenominal job of covering all the aspects of internet positive and negatives relating to social and personal networking. While they are many positives of remaining connected, its easily the negatives that are the more relative and important to note."Misbehavior runs rampant because people are scared and hide behind the wall that is the Internet. People conclude that no one can see them, they have anonymity on their side, and so they can do whatever they want." This could not have been said better and I believe this to be the main reason for the "mob" mentality so prevalent on the internet these days. What Mike finally notes is that personal etiquette is not carried over into the online realm, this is readily seen. My addition to that it that most of these people who are posting under anonymity and saying hurtful things wouldn't dream of doing so otherwise if the information were public. This is a problem that the future users will have to address. Do we add more accountability to the users themselves or do when begin to censor and even limit what people can do on the internet? This remains to be seen.

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  2. good work so far...

    into the second half with an A- with your writing and photoshop work

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