The web

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The internet has been around for a long time, and many people have come to regard it as a very important vessel, if not holy. The concern is not so much about what the site offers as it is about whether it has achieved its intended goals. Have your hopes for a digital awakening come true? In previous years, an overview of what the web was supposed to be was given. A passage that liberates people from conventional restraints and transports them to a more enlightened, Angelic world. The internet has evolved into a shopping mall rather than a commune. What was predicted, is the issue. The internet has proven to be more about business than consciousness. It has brought about the loss of enthusiasm and greed. As much as the web has led to the transformation of various things, has it really transformed the people?

The web has turned out to be the best place where people make money. Was the web not where a higher consciousness was to be developed? Was it not a journey that would free the people from traditional constraints on their intelligence? One can claim that the higher consciousness has not yet been fully achieved. In Web 2.0, Steven Levy states that the idea of collective consciousness has been manifested on the internet. That the internet is an echo of what they were talking about just that they did not know it would be technology mediated. Kelly states that the web has to grant the people, not only the vision of gods but also the power of the gods. That in the coming decade the web has to evolve into an integral extension of both people’s senses, bodies, and minds. When one looks back in the pivotal eras, there were few world religions and people with great personalities converging upon the American Revolution. Geniuses who commingled at the time of the invention of modern science in the 17th century and axial phases in the history of civilization. In the axial phase, all these were achieved with no web. The same way people review the past, in about three thousand years from today, this era will be viewed as a different one. An era where human beings animated inert objects with tiny slivers of intelligence and linking their minds into a single thing. To many, it will be viewed as the most surprising event. Net is a collaborative interface for civilization, a machine that provides a new way of thinking and a new mind for an old species.

A person viewing the web in religious ways or terms, cannot see its objectives. The reason being that, one cannot look at the internet as a moral force and no one wants to worship an amoral conglomeration of technology. There has been so much praise heaped upon Wikipedia. Wikipedia being an open source encyclopedia, anyone can contribute and add an entry or even edit an existing entry. O'Reilly states that Wikipedia marks a profound change in the dynamics of content creation. Has web 2.0 represent all the qualities? Participation, collectivism, virtual communities, and amateurism? Wikipedia has shown how the web allows humans pool their individual brain into a great collective mind. Wikipedia is considered to be useful but not very good. It is unreliable and the writing is often appalling. One should not recommend a student to use it in writing a research paper. Therefore it is acceptable to claim that. On a factual level, Wikipedia is not reliable. An example is a section from Wikipedia's biography of Bill Gates which excerpts verbatim. Another example is on Jane Fonda’s life.

Her nickname as a youth—Lady Jane—was one she reportedly disliked. She traveled to Communist Russia in 1964 and was impressed by the people, who welcomed her warmly as Henry’s daughter. In the mid-1960s she bought a farm outside of Paris, had it renovated and personally started a garden. She visited Andy Warhol’s Factory in 1966. About her 1971 Oscar win, her father Henry said: “How in hell would you like to have been in this business as long as I and have one of your kids win an Oscar before you do?” Jane was on the cover of Life magazine, March 29, 1968.

The two examples from Wikipedia makes one question when the great Wikipedia get good. It is clear that web 2.0 promoters venerate the amateur and distrust the professional. This is evident in the unalloyed praise of Wikipedia and worship of open source software. There is no appreciation of amateurism as in the promotion of blogging as an alternative to the mainstream media. Main stream media has approached individual blogs as competitors. This is not viewed as a competition between sites alone but also as competition between business models. Dan Gillmor calls web 2.0 a black room where a few people decide what is important.

There are limitations and flaws of the blogosphere such as its superficiality, emphasis on opinion over reporting and its echolalia. Checking the tendency to reinforce rather than challenge ideological extremism and segregation. All the criticism should be hurled at segments of the mainstream media. The mainstream media has the capability of doing things differently from the bloggers. They can fund in-depth research and reporting and even underwrite projects takings months or even years to be completed successfully. They can also hire and pay talented people who would not survive as sole proprietors on the internet. Employ editors and proof readers and unsung protectors of quality works and placing equal weight and opposing ideologies on the same page. One would rather choose the professionals over the amateurs.


To sum it up, there is so much expectation from the web than what people get. The web presents a ready-made promised land. The web should be rich with sense and create a passage into the process of personal and communal unshackling. People expected that by the late 1990s, the dreams of digital development could have been achieved. The outcome turned out to encourage only the greedy who took over it. People expected the web to transform them. But one is left asking if truly the web has transformed the people. The argument has been effectively constructed as all the appeals used have been brought forward in a sophisticated manner. The web has provided a new way of thinking leading to the language of rapture. As people seek transcendence, they do it in many ways and it includes religious practices such as going to the church. People find that no one can look for moral force in the web in religious terms. The practical effect of the web on society and culture is it good or bad? It is hard to find answers to such questions using the web.

November 03, 2022

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