Is the internet a useful tool for the entrepreneur; an amazing communication medium for spreading helpful ideas around the world at the speed of light and simplifying transactions? Is the internet a time-wasting black hole that sucks the souls of billions of people while distracting them from their real-life relationships? Is the internet a medium for spreading truth, or simply a useful tool for spreading unlimited amounts of propaganda and controlling the perceptions of humanity?
Honestly I have no idea. It is probably all of these things and more. You wouldn’t even be reading this right now if it wasn’t for the magic of the interwebs. Lately I have been coming to the conclusion however, that many of the alternative sources for news and content that I seek out online may well be just as much propaganda networks as the main stream media. It’s not just about the stories that they report or don’t report, but also the way that they report it and the way in which the reader or audience is nudged or even dragged to a conclusion. It is very important in these very interesting times to not become too cemented in a certain world-view, because the likelihood of that world-view being one manufactured explicitly to incite predictable responses from you is very high.
Even the so-called alternative media ends up using the same tactics as the main stream propaganda networks to get people to visit their sites and pull in maximum ad revenue. Worse still are the sources that use nothing but fear to push people into buying products.
Example: Fukushima radiation is raining down all over you right now! We sell anti-radiation products so buy them before you die! Or: The world economy is going to collapse and the only safe haven for your wealth is Gold and Silver! Guess what! We sell Gold and Silver at a premium!! Buy it!!!
Now either one of these scenarios may well be true, it is simply the way that they use fear tactics to sell products that flicks a revulsion switch somewhere in my gut and makes me not want to pay attention to such things. Which is a shame because their may well be lots of valid information in those reports, but who wants to be taken advantage of? It’s the same problem, reaction, solution dialectic that the same anti-establishment sources claim to hate that they are using to sell their particular products or services. This should make alarm bells go off in your conscience.
None of this is to say that I don’t believe that the world economy is an unsustainable slow motion train wreck or that we don’t know about many of the environmental toxins that we are being purposefully exposed with. It is simply a gut check to not get too wrapped up in the fear mongering from the main stream as well as the alt-media crowds.
When I find myself preoccupied with some world-wide problem that I have no real way of verifying realistically; that’s when I know it’s time to turn off the computer and go outside and listen to the birds and work in the garden and take some council with my own conscience. When you find yourself spending more time communicating with people via electronic devices than face to face, when you look up and don’t know where the last several hours went from listening to podcasts or playing games or even reading informative articles; it might be time to unplug. The internet has some great uses and can be a great tool. It can also be a void of time-wasting, alarm ringing, and in the end distracting you from things that are much more important.
In case you are interested in how the internet and media in general have been used in the past and are still used today, here is a very elucidating interview from the Corbett Report on social engineering.