How the fuck did I ever get along without the internet? I mean seriously, I can’t even remember the last time I actually had to know something off the top of my head. I can always just pull out my smart phone, grab my tablet, or fire up my laptop and whoosh, information comes streaming to me from around the world with the push of a button.
When I was in high school and in college I spent countless hours in the libraries researching, fact checking, and looking up credible published sources to corroborate my many different claims and view points. Now it seems that the libraries are as archaic as the once popular Dewey Decimal System that was used to catalogue them.
I wonder what would happen if I were to take young person into a library today? I bet their little “now-generation” heads would explode when they saw how we used to store information. When I explained to them how I would have to go through journal after journal, pour over mountainous stacks of books and periodicals for sometimes just one article to give my research validity, they would look at me like I used to my dad when he would relay the story of walking to school in the snow, in one sock, uphill both ways, for 10 miles to get to school.
The idea that we would actually “waste” our time looking things up would seem so foreign to them. It’s like explaining tapes, Velcro, the moonwalk, or the allure of Alf to them. Information being true, facts being checked, and the people reporting them having to take responsibility for the claims they make seems to be a way of the past. Having to actually back up the claims we make is as dead as disco.
What has happened to truth?
Is it a bad thing to actually require proof of evidence for the claims people make?
Books, journals, magazines, and other periodicals are filled with credentialed authors writing for credible publications and are held to a different level of skepticism than internet authors. Half of the information on the internet is so obviously fabricated in some demented person’s bruised-melon that it doesn’t even warrant the space used to display it. Yet many people think that because it exists on line, that it must be true.
We used to be a skeptical people, wanting proof, evidence, and corroboration of information before we believed it. But in our laziness and with the ease of the flow of information, we have decided to become susceptible to the lies that are propagated by anyone who has access to electricity, can connect to the internet, and knows how to use a keyboard.
Even the network media has gone the route of the Enquirer and the Star by printing, saying, and showing, things that have as much basis in truth and reality as the existence of Puff the Magic Dragon or the little Lucky Charms Leprechaun guy.
The internet isn’t bad. I love it. I use it. I need it, and think of it as an intricate part of my life. But to whole-heartedly believe everything you read and see on there is ridiculous. It is a great way for the flow of information to disseminate to the people. It has helped sparked revolutions, organize protests, and topple governments.
But like every great invention, guns, fire, television, carne asada burritos, it has a dangerous side as well. It needs to be revered, dealt with caution, and used as a tool to access information and not as a bearer of knowledge. Knowledge is what you build as you take information you learn, process it, practice it, test it, and filter out the truth from the crap.