This post differs from my previous post in the sense that instead of focusing so much on social media sites, I will be discussing how I feel the Internet community and availability of information has affected society on a social level. While previously I discussed how Facebook in particular has affected me as an individual, I neglected to discuss the effects that it had on shaping both my own, and many of those around me’s perception of ongoing events. I’m not entirely sure how I would like to approach this topic, but let me begin with some statistics that I found while researching for information on media bias. Apparently, something nearing 90% of all reporters in the United States tend to lean towards a liberal viewpoint. This means that most of the popular news sources and online posts about anything that had any relation to politics were leaning to the left. Now, the way that I’ve come to understand how the Internet functions is that the things that are first to become popular amongst the online society are the ones that flourish and grow the quickest. For example, I refer back to the KONY incident. Despite the fact that the whole incident was eventually put back in its respective place, a place where it received not much attention, at one point it did have the attention of nearly every single person on the Internet. Now, coupled with primarily liberal news networks and the way that the Internet functions, it appears that in the online community every single person is a Democrat; the outspoken Republicans, who don’t make a fool of themselves WHICH is a bigger deal than a Democrat making a fool of him/herself due to sheer numbers, are few and far apart. Furthermore, when perhaps an uneducated Republican does make a fool of him/herself, the public immediately jumps upon this misrepresentation of a larger and more educated community and begins to ridicule everything about what has become a stereotype for all Republicans. This is due not only to the news networks having a liberal slant, but also to the fact that everyone in the online community wants to be accepted, and therefore whether or not they agree with what’s going on, they conform to it; it’s only natural. Now, in terms of searching things up on Google, I would imagine the same reasoning applies. Because of the popularity of certain articles whether they be an accurate representation of what’s going on or not, because they become popular through advertising, sharing, and broadcasting from a mostly outspoken liberal community the results that are quickest and most widely found will probably have a left tilt to them. Now of course the majority of what I speak of is mostly just speculation and personal experience in these matters, but on a personal level I have seen these things happen all too often. Despite having an already limited friend group on Facebook, as I described in my last post, these four or so hundred friends who I do actually keep in touch with all seem to be too easily influenced and affected by the posts of others and what appears to be the “correct” public opinion. Politically, I’m not quite too sure of where I stand, but regardless I look on with disgust as I see many of my friends vote on the Democratic side simply because their friends are doing so; it almost makes me want to vote Republican simply in an effort to counteract their vote.
In this video, this professor really covers just how prevalent media bias is in shaping people’s political preferences.
I feel that the Internet has, whether intentionally or unintentionally, begun to remove the concept of personal identity and space. People now, without a second thought, give away personal information that once would have been seen as another’s attempt to steal your identity. Information is posted all over Facebook, and Facebook’s default settings will allow anyone using the site to view your information so long as they have an account. Instead of the norm being that your information is protected, you have to work your way through a series of convoluted settings pages just to alter your page so that your information is viewable only to your friends or yourself. The age of the Internet has really removed people’s worries about identity theft even though it is an extremely prevalent crime that can be committed with almost no repercussions for the abuser (most identity thieves escape unpunished), and the scary thing is that they require so little information that can be found so easily in today’s world, especially when you are the one posting this information to the public.
You can take a look at this link to look at some of the things that identity thieves want, and you can think to yourself how much of this information you openly give away each day: http://manvsdebt.com/top-16-pieces-of-your-information-identity-thieves-crave/
While some people like to say that this information will be found by thieves if they really want it, I highly doubt that they would go through extra trouble searching for yours if there are many others with unprotected information.
Essentially, I feel that the Internet has changed how society functions as a whole and has given us access to many unprecedented things such as an excess of information, but it has also created a more uniform society in which conformity is normal and information seems free.