Internet Demographics and Awareness
Apparently the traffic here has risen just high enough to attract the spammers.
I’m getting a lot of spammy comments these days, something which became significant about the time I starting receiving 200 hits per day on a routine basis. It’s not my writing skill which draws these numbers, but the sheer luck I have had stumbling across the answers to some very common problems with Linux. It’s not likely many of those people will remember my name, nor make a habit of coming here to see what I might post. They are looking for something specific, and I happen to have gotten it composed in a usable format earlier than others on those one or two issues.
People are what they are. The Internet has simply made more available the types of information they would already have been seeking some other way.
We read so much about how the Internet has raised the broad human consciousness. I don’t see it. It most certainly has offered a better quality of information, simply because the format itself tends to reduce the barriers to information, so that information flows more freely over a wider audience in a shorter time frame. But it hasn’t changed the fundamental character of the audience by much.
We have the OWS protests. They are justified, but misguided. We had the Tea Party movement before that, again justified but misguided. As the latter was deftly hijacked in a short time, I see the same for OWS already happening. If the hijacking fails in any measure, OWS will simply be brutally crushed and morph into something else by way of reaction. The likelihood this thing offers a genuine avenue for change is delusional. At the most, it will simply be the leading edge of the coming foot riots, because it arises from a more highly sensitive group who can see where this is all heading. The Tea Party was even earlier in the same trend.
What the Internet has done is (1) allow these activists to detect the issues sooner, and (2) organize their activism more efficiently. It did not significantly add to the number of people who would try to force changes. The bulk of the American population will still be shocked by what the coming economic collapse demands of them. They have a bigger reservoir of the same information they would have ignored in previous centuries.
The Internet permits me to do for a wider audience what I would have done anyway, so that they can more quickly get on with what they would have done anyway. If it weren’t computers, it would be some other technology. And instead of my writing being restricted to some audience within reach of hands and traditional post, and perhaps a tiny chance at seeing a book publication, I get to post it online. The stuff I really care about still draws a tiny audience, but that audience is more widely scattered geographically. I get the small satisfaction of knowing what I would have done regardless of circumstances touches its widest audience before I die. It’s a function of how quickly information spreads, nothing more.
I learned a new acronym in the past couple of weeks: MPAI = Most People Are Idiots. Giving them access to the Internet holds great potential, but it’s human nature to miss out on it. For all our great access to limitless information, most people still use it like a more convenient TV. They don’t search for revelations of deep and evil politics, they want to know when that all-important football game highlights will hit YouTube, or the relevant portion of the latest reality show they are tracking, but can’t get home in time to watch. Even better, a recast of the entire 7PM show at midnight! They are still idiots, but with more sound and video.
I already knew in 1986 Richard Armitage was responsible for most of our Vietnam POWs being left behind, and that it had to do with illegal drugs, but I didn’t have the details until recently. Why would the new communist government of Vietnam hide them? Not as bargaining chips, but because the officials here and there were still making a huge profit from the on-going heroin traffic, which was the real reason we got involved with Vietnam in the first place. I may never know how they communicated and passed the money, but it’s obvious they did. I already knew the JFK assassination story was a batch of lies, but now I have solid proof and some likely accurate details of how it was carried out. And so on; the Internet simply provided depth for something which already existed for me and a lot of other folks.
But precious few people, because of the Internet, accepted the reality behind conspiracy theories who would not have done so without the Internet. We have not succeeded in raising basic human awareness, only enriched whatever was already there.
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