What is The Internet Good For? The internet has increased creativity but decreased privacy and created a dumber society.
Ten years ago even, the proliferation of the internet and its every day applications was a thing of the future. When internet connections were dial up at 14.4kbs, and simply picking up the phone receiver could cut your connection, life seemed so much simpler. With the prevalence of high-speed connections, smartphones and mobile data plans, the evolution of the internet has pushed human decency to the edge. Some may say, it has fallen off completely. I came across this picture of a dog dressed in a bear costume, and while yes, the dog is absolutely adorable and cute, if there was no internet, would people still dress their dog like this? I think it is because people can reach such a large audience and get noticed, that people are doing things they wouldn't normally have done in the absence of the ability to share their stupidity. Here are 3 examples of things that, in a normal world, where people value their privacy and values, you would never see, but given the internet, are now a dime a dozen social phenomenons.
Funny Pet Photos and Photo Bombs
Before digital media and instant posts to the internet, people couldn't share the things they think are funny on such a wide scale. However, times have changed. The TV is no longer the anchor in our lives. If people had to choose between losing cable TV or losing their internet connection for a week, most people would probably choose to cut the cable and keep their connection. Quite simply, the internet has allowed people to get creative and share their humor to a wide audience. On the flip side, people like you and I, can search the internet and grab some laughs quicker than having to wait for our favorite comedy to come on TV. No other genre of photo's grabs more attention (with the exception of indecent pictures) than those of pets and animals and people making goofy faces, wearing silly outfits, or simply photobombing an awkward moment. While some may think it is ridiculous and blatantly obvious that people are trying to be funny, the fact remains, the world has always had comedians, now it is easier than ever.
The sad part about all of this, is that people, who are not innately funny, copy trends made popular by a few individuals, and in the process dilute the humor. Furthermore, the extent and time people put into "trying" to create something funny, has shifted the paradigm of educating our youth about the value of privacy, integrity and respect. It has become "cool" to act stupid, or embarrass people. Imagine our president in 15 years, when part of his opponents campaign reveals MadDogPrez11 has a profile on Facebook and Instagram posting retarded and absurd pictures. Wait, it has already happen. Are these the type of people we want in charge? The absurdity of 'reality tv" and internet memes has created a division in this country of stupid cool, and those of intelligence and dignity. The former of which, is popular only because of its entertainment value.
Hey everybody, I'm going to tell you exactly where I am at every moment of the day and broadcast to everyone I know. Why? Because it makes me cool? When did this become the thing to do and more importantly, why. From a business perspective, it makes sense. The more you know about your potential customer, the more you can tailor your product and marketing, but as a person, it is a bit vain to think it is as important as people make it to reveal your private life to everyone you know. Not to mention the risk to your privacy if any of the information you thought was private got leaked. Case in point: Angie Varona. If you don't know who Angie is, simply google her name and read her story. Don't think it can happen to you? Think again. Privacy is not something to take lightly, although there is a large population of people, who take the time out of their day, every day, multiple times a day, to share the dumbest and often most inconsequential facts about their lives. Lives that are essentially similar to most people. "I'm at X restaurant", Really? So are another hundred people at this hour, next hour, tomorrow, next week, next month. Nothing unique about your share, but thanks for giving your privacy so easily.
Reality TV and You Tube "Stars"
Lets face it, people have become famous, and at times wealthy by being stupid. No further example is needed then to look at Kim Kardashian. What has she done exactly? Or worse yet, how about this guy who in the worst English, and most unintelligible manner, describes a break in. And yet, we flock to these people and those just like them. For most of us, we see it simply as entertainment, but for others, primarily the future generation (you know, the one that will be left to take care of us in a few decades), sees it as an opportunity for themselves to reach similar pinnacles of fame and fortune. Unfortunately, for every one success story, there are millions of failures that often leave irreparable damage. If you make a stupid video that you think is funny, post it to the internet and in fact, it is not funny and doesn't catch on, you simply now are stupid, look stupid and can forever be seen and remembered for that dumb, senseless video you posted.
While the internet is great for all that it has to offer, misdirection and lack of parental involvement in a kids life can open up mistakes and misuse that can forever derail a person. Many a people have lost a job, been caught cheating, lying, or countless other things by something they have posted on the internet. People need to take a long look at how their socialization and habits have changed by Facebook, Twitter and other mediums by which they willingly broadcast to the world the intimate details of their lives. It's one thing if you're famous, its another if you're using these venues as a means to get famous as most often, the end result is a failed attempt a permanent record of things 10 years from now, you'll regret. Like a bad tattoo, what is cool now, probably won't be cool 10 years from now. Tread lightly when following the crowd as this one may be leading you right off the cliff.