The internet is like an annoying friend, an acquaintance we put up with because we’ve known it so long. But given the choice between spending two hours on the internet or doing something fun in the world, the world would win every time. We ditch the internet faster than we do soccer after the World Cup. “Internet who?” I am outside!
The internet, however, is our fall-back, our weapon to kill time, our tool to fluff our segmented lives. It is on the verge of replacing TV as a primary means of entertainment; certainly, many TV viewers are using the internet to watch “TV.”
But with the Internet becoming so common place, so comfortable, there’s no doubt that us users are letting our guards down with fact-checking, sourcing, and the questioning of content.
Sure, Net Neutrality is a big concern for all internet users whether they know it or not. But I’m here to argue that there is (possibly) a greater concern negatively affecting the internet’s saturated user base, i.e., the world, on a longer scale, individually.
The old saying, “Don’t believe everything you hear,” or as my grandfather would say, “Don’t take any wooden nickles,” is as an important a warning as ever in today’s over-stimulated society. The dark arts of the internet age are upon us; word sorcery, (uhem… source-ry) is everywhere: posters posting garbage, a severe lack of fact-checking, massive amounts of assumptions and gullibility. It has all left the internet much like a chaotic and wild Cable Guy basketball game.
Social media, Facebook specifically, has created a culture of instantaneous reaction to stimuli. It’s an immediacy that we are all beginning to crave. Fast-food awareness. The information behind this stimuli is often bogus, creating an aura of bullshit. And it drives me crazy.
On whose fault can we blame this madness? Yours, mine, the readers, the posters, the believers. Those who mean well. Those looking to start a fight. Everybody. Unfortunately, when it comes to information submission, there is just no barrier for entry.
As much as I have liked to complain about the short-comings of higher-education (and the surrounding culture that gives preference to classroom experience over real-world experience), the greatest benefit, certainly, is that academia teaches you to check your sources.
Education trains the brain to look at a statement and ask, “Why?” It gives us the confidence to say, “Well, maybe. What’s the bias?” It reminds us receivers that all information, even in a textbook, even in a sermon, isn’t automatically authentic just because it has been said or written.
What I am saying is not anything new.
You know this, I know this. Information requires a filter. But knowing how to ask questions, when it comes down to it, does not require a college degree. It is everybody’s job to filter.
“Kevin, why are you so angry today?”
I am not angry, I promise! Just wondering, when all this madness will stop.
There are two types of Internet madness that drives me bonkers: Bad info and fake info.
Christian bloggers are the worst offenders of bad info, in my opinion. But that’s probably because I primarily read them. I’m sure every blogging genre has its info-swindlers. I’m not here to specifically call out any one.
Here’s a good couple rules (for internet posters):
If you have no expertise on the topic you want to post about, but you want to pretend you have expertise, please give up blogging and the internet.
If you want to make giant claims about a topic that makes sense, then double (or triple) check your sources. Do your statistics actually make sense, bro?
Here’s a good couple rules (for internet readers):
Before you hit the “Share” button, or argue, or believe, ask yourself these questions: Does this make sense? Does it matter? Should I be doing something else with my life?
Hitting the share button doesn’t make you an expert either. Leave us alone, please.
The Washington Post has a great column called “What was fake on the internet this week.” There you can learn about all the fake info swindling innocent and naive minds on the web. As much as this stuff bugs me, it’s (admittedly) sort of hilarious.
I’d recommend it.
Kevin’s Appeal to Reason