Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Age of Technology, but not Information?

I was reading an article regarding some statements made by Pres Obama from AFP

A few excerpts: ""You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter," Obama said at Hampton University, Virginia.""

"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes  {see note added at bottom of this blog post }and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," Obama said."

"All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy." Obama said.

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I know that there is a lot of muck out there, but I think back to when I was a student and trying to find more information about something... I had to go to the library and search through their records but I was only able to check through things that someone else decided should be kept in stock. Or I could look through past newspaper articles from various agencies, but even then I was only able to utilize what someone else somewhere decided would be kept on file. Or I could use a text book in school that someone else decided my class should be educated with, and I had few ways to fact-check unless I traveled the world and used different libraries across the planet or searched old book stores in other towns, cities, and countries.

Now it is right here at my finger tips. I have to learn to sort through the mire, but it's just like my mama told me - "you can't believe everything you see on TV". I carry that over to "you can't believe everything you hear on the radio" and "you can't believe everything you read on the internet".

Just because some people don't know how to do that, and just believe everything that pops up on a screen with no further thought given, doesn't mean that technology and the internet are 'bad'. I LOVE it. I can keep real-time contact with family and friends living all around the planet. If I hear something on a Breaking News story, I can jump on twitter or facebook and look for photos or words that people are posting right as it happens. I can check several sources in mere seconds. But that's supposed to be BAD somehow?

Reading into some of the president's words (and other techno-critics), I can't help but feel they do not appreciate that people are able to gain more information on a much broader series of topics than ever before. I can't help but wonder if they would rather all people got their info from one or two sources and then felt the SAME about an issue, or what.

For example, I know a woman in Florida who went to a tea party rally last year. I saw her photos right there on facebook. I saw exactly where the group was standing, several shots from various angles showing how many people were there, what most of the signs said, etc. And with a woman I personally know standing right there among them. Yes it is possible she edited by removing pics (or not taking them in the first place) of people who might have had rude signs, or been making rude gestures, but there were dozens of photos showing nice regular folk just standing around making their thoughts and wishes known. That's one way I could get information REAL TIME. What's wrong with that? Without the internet, I would not have been able to see all that unless she snail-mailed me photos which would just be a silly waste of money.

I used to live in England and if I want to see what's going on in their neck of the woods, I can jump online and read their local paper. I watched the brit election results and then went online to zero in on my old city, to see specific results that would never be played in such detail on my TV here in Canada. I got to see that it swung from a long-time labour vote to a conservative one! I get to read various brit papers to see what's going on over there, then I might go read some middle eastern papers, or other european, etc. How could that be a BAD thing?

I read several blogs but I always follow their links and then search for other similar stories online to see if everyone has the same info. If I read highly opinionated posts, I am always aware that it's the writers OPINION, just like in many newspaper columns, and not necessarily something I would agree with on further investigation.

I've taken online courses where I had to search for information and include it just like an old bibliography in high school, but it was much easier to navigate and I could do it at 2am in my pjamas while my kids were asleep, instead of trying to fit library time around work and homelife. What's so evil and bad about that?

Even if you take that away, there are always going to be people who base their opinions, votes, rants, vents, etc on incomplete information. We can't help what someone else does with the info they are given. There are still newspapers and magazines that have heavily biased information in them. Take my former-beloved Nature Of Things program, or the National Geographic magazine... both things I grew up loving and reading/watching as much as possible but are now so one-sided I cannot fathom being a loyal fan any longer. If I did not have the internet to check things out with, I would only be getting one side of an issue and I thought that having an informed opinion meant taking in as MUCH AS POSSIBLE and then forming an opinion on it?
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Just adding this from my comments section:
ooooo and wait a minute! Ages ago i saw some articles about Obama having campaign ads on an XBox 360 game! Gee this whole time he has been warning us about HIMSELF, has he not?


According to gamespot.com, and the updates to the story, the Obama campaign ran ads in up to 18 different games.

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6199379.html

5 comments:

  1. And just how much information do you get from a PlayStation? El Presidente has problems!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, I don't get that one unless he means games where *gasp horror* you can talk to others while playing via internet.

    It's like telling people they are not allowed to gossip anymore. Reading blogs, watching the news, reading things in forums online, etc and then telling other people about it with your iphone, twitter, FB, My Space, or face to face, on the phone, in person, etc is all the same thing if you want to look at it that way - gossip lol. But you can reach more people via the internet and apparently this is 'dangerous for democracy'.

    People talking to each other is dangerous. Maybe we should go back and blame Alexander Graham Bell for inventing the telephone. He started this whole mess! Or was it edison for inventing electricity? Darn it! Without those dudes we would not have even thought of the internet... what about Ben Franklin. Damn him and his kite for discovering the powers of electricity. How dare others after them be brainy enough to create such monstrous things as 'the net'.

    Or wait, wasn't that Al Gore?

    ReplyDelete
  3. ooooo and wait a minute! Ages ago i saw some articles about Obama having campaign ads on an XBox 360 game! Gee this whole time he has been warning us about HIMSELF, has he not?

    According to gamespot.com, and the updates to the story, the Obama campaign ran ads in up to 18 different games. Hmmm.... adding this to my main post lol.

    http://www.gamespot.com/news/6199379.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. this is just a beginning of his policy initiative for "net neutrality" which is anything but. the coming years in the US are going to be turbulent and the last thing teh US govt needs are nosy bloggers and free thinkers pointing out the coming (and current) contradictions in liberal policy.


    brad

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't know if I had a life before the internet. My lap has got so used to my laptop that it's like I am missing a limb when the laptop's not on it.

    ReplyDelete

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