The Internet has spoiled us

Throughout the history of mankind, humans have looked for ways to convey ideas and messages to one another in the easiest and most convenient ways possible.

Through prehistoric times, humans created things such as language and writing were created to serve as a way for humans to send these messages. If you’re reading this, then you should thank your local prehistoric human for this innovation.

However, communication between humans isn’t always perfect. We have always strove to find ways to get our messages out to more and more people. With the dawn of the internet age, people have finally been able to fill their desire to be heard by many people in an instant. With this immediacy and openness comes a price, because not everyone was meant to be heard.

Don’t get me wrong, being a journalist, I am a staunch proponent of the first amendment. Even still, I have my own opinions and beliefs, and no matter how unbiased I try to be, there are still some views that I can’t get behind.

With the internet thrown into the mix of mass media, we as a society are constantly bombarded by information from all sides. With everyone given a voice, it is hard to discern what is real and what is fake. The biggest effect that I believe the internet has caused, however, is that society has become complacent with the immediacy of the web.

Instead of reading the morning paper, people log on to the web. Instead of watching the morning news or listening to talk radio, more people are just checking the news online instead.

The biggest draw of online news is more for the insomniacs. Why wait until morning to see the score of a late night sports match, or seeing things that happen overnight. With the internet, you could just check the web for sports scores, news, or anything else at any time of day, without having to wait for a newspaper or a TV program. This immediacy is the main root of the point I am getting at: We are spoiled by the opportunity to immediately obtain information.

Now I am not the conspiracy theorist type. I don’t wax poetic about the fall of civilization or the coming of robot overlords or anything like that. However, I am a believer that we as a society rely to heavily on the internet for information. The problem is that while I hold that belief, I myself find it hard to think of a life without it. Having the internet around just makes life so… easy. I’m scarce to think of a world where I can’t find out the 30 things Jennifer Lawrence did last year that makes her absolute perfection, or take quizzes to find out what Marvel Avenger I am, or look up obscure historical events in order to win some sort of ludicrous bet. What would I do without that sort of power?

This immediacy has also led to what can be seen as a decline in journalistic integrity. I will call out Twitter, for example. There are many self-proclaimed journalists, as well as professional journalists, who at one point or another found themselves with egg on their face after they rushed to tweet some “breaking news”, only to later find that it was either untrue, was missing important details, or was just outright fake. More and more people are eager to rush out some news story just for the immediate attention.

This attention seeking is a main problem with the internet. It awakens the instinct to be heard, and that instinct can sometimes become intoxicating.