Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Internet bashing

Just listening to the radio wheel out old, lazy cliches about the internet making people more isolated and lonely. Personally I think this is rubbish, people have never communicated with each other more, just because we do it in new ways does not make it a social problem.

I'd like to remind these people that isolation and loneliness is not new. Exhibit one, The Members wrote and performed this song long before anyone knew they'd be such a thing as the world wide web.

The idea that making it easier to keep in touch with those you know and create social networks of people you'd never normally get to meet is an isolating experience just seems strange to me.

It's far too easy to look at the past through rose tinted glasses and underplay the impact of poverty, rural isolation or what people with sociology degrees call 'social deviation' (not as fun as it sounds) could have upon people. All problems that are mitigated through the rise of social media, although obviously not eradicated.

I think it's true that today we have communities with little sense of community, but this is a process that began long before the internet came about and while there were lots of upsides to strogner community cohesion this came at a price where people were expected to conform to social standards far more tightly than they are today.

I suspect being trapped in a marriage because it's the thing you are meant to do was a far more depressing experience than anything Bebo has managed to conjure up.

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