Internet: The stumbling Stock on the Process of Forming the Global World

The number of messages that people leave online daily can be greater than the amount of information that was passed in the entire world several centuries ago. With this in mind, it is rather obvious that the Internet should be seen as an incredible tool that allows people to exchange information effectively and, ultimately, bring the entire humankind together. While this may be what people expect this invention to achieve, the reality is quite the opposite; though social media allows one to communicate with other more easily, it seems that people are not using it to the full potential. Therefore, one might assume that the positive impact of the Internet may have been exaggerated. Though people exchange information at speeds as never before, they teem to grow apart because of this newly found opportunity with the major manifestations being Fear of Missing Out, common practice of having multiple identities online, continuation of social media mentality in the real life, and reliance on the Internet rather than internal resources.

Fear of Missing Out is making people detach from those who are around them. Burak suggests that this is a novel cultural phenomenon which is common among people who are used to learn about the latest news almost instantaneously (429). Therefore, if there is a delay in learning the political news, a person feels depressed and anxious since one does not know what other people know. The major problem here is that this information that is circulated around the way is rarely important for all citizens equally such an earthquake in a distant country.  Thus, people tend to be distracted by the events that happened far away. For example, a person might be enraged by a certain action that a pro-life activist performed in a distant city. This leads to the situation when the Internet becomes the source of conflict which, obviously, does not contribute to the unity among people.

Nevertheless, some might point out that the Fear of Missing Out is nothing but an exaggeration that is born out of an incorrect understanding of what the Internet is capable of doing. One might consider the following analogy: the World Wide Web is just like a knife which can be used to cut vegetable to feed hungry people, but it can also be used to stab a person to death; while the physical object can be the same, it is the way in which it is used that makes the difference. Whether to use the Internet to gossip around or use it wisely as a search engine that will enhance one’s overall academic performance, it all depends on the person. So, one should not blaming the Internet for the strengths and weaknesses of the human character. Learning about shocking events which happened in distant places like beheading of the people by ISIL is a conscious choice of a person. So, the Internet itself cannot be blamed for that, but rather it is the people who get frustrated are to blame. Obviously, this seems to be a reasonable claim; however, there are several flaws in it.  Furthermore, in many cases, the political news provide shocking content and do not affect people directly. example, it used to be that news networks should spread the video of ISIL beheading some prisoners. It is clear that this information would enrage a lot of people and provoke anti-Muslim sentiments. However, this particular information is excessive since ISIL is already recognized as a terrorist organization. Therefore, it seems that the Internet does its best to spread the information that is largely irrelevant and shocking. This combination results in the situation when this content contributes to the conflict inside the society. This leads to the situation when people want to stay informed about events which happen far away, sacrificing the time they can spend interacting with their environment and people around them.

Many people tend to have several identities online which leads to hypocrisy in the interaction with others. According to Boyd, the contemporary people put a significant emphasis on impression management which urges many to create several identities that they use online (125). Facebook is the place where this is quite evident. For example, a single person can have multiple account: one for showing off one’s achievements and create the illusion of happiness, another – for leaving hateful comments and attacking other users, and yet another for private conversations with a limited number of people. The major problem here is that the simultaneous existence of several identities online contributes to hypocrisy in real life as well, since a person knows that one will be able to avoid punishment by putting certain words in the mouth of a specific identity. Another good example is Internet trolling and hate speech. There is no doubt that many people offend others using an account that was specifically created for that. As a result, the Internet enabled people to show their hatred more actively and avoid punishment.

There are some who would strongly disagree with this point of view. They will note that the Internet is capable of taking a big share of a person’s privacy. Auerbach notes that people rarely consider what kind of information they share online which might lead to negative consequences for them (180). As a result, the creation of multiple identities that will be used online may be seen as a reasonable tool to achieve comfort and stability in one’s life. This way people will be able to avoid criticism from other aggressive users and keep some parts of one’s life private. Given the fact that people tend to share even the most intimate aspects of their lives, one might assume that the common practice of having multiple identities was originally an answer to that kind of privacy invasion that is caused by the Internet as well as other users, but now it causes people to be detached from others and hide behind their multiple identities.  In spite of the fact that this reasoning is quite convincing and sounds logical, it features several weaknesses. The ability of a person to have an active online life using several identities is something that devastates the concept of integrity (Shekhawat and Rathore, 335). Indeed, the idea of anonymity is a double-edged sword: a person can easily avoid taking the punishment for horrible actions as long as one conceals his true identity online. In other words, the fact that the Internet not only allows people to have several identities, but also encourages that, to a certain degree, has a significant impact on the way in which people value interpersonal interaction. Today, it takes a couple of clicks to register a fake account and start spitting out hate speech online. There is no doubt that until this situation is handled, the society will never experience stability since it will be particularly easy to offend specific groups inside it and take absolutely no punishment for it. Therefore, this practice contributes to detachment of the people since they often choose to hide behind their identities than to interact with other directly.

The reliance on social media mentality prevents people from developing strong connection to each other in the real world. It is essential to keep in mind that the pattern of interaction in the social media is dramatically different from what people are expected to follow in reality. When they act offline as if they were online will decrease the value of real-life experience. Jurgenson describes the IRL (in real life) fetish and notes that many people develop a distorted understanding of reality because they are used to communicating online so much (195).  So, the fundamental problem here is that the popularity of the Internet is so strong that is gradual transforms the way in which people interact and introduces elements that are suitable for the virtual world, yet are not appropriate in other situations. The negative impact of online communication is obvious. There is no doubt that the proponents of the digital media will support a completely opposite point of view. They might point out that the social networking services enable people to practice their social skills on a daily basis in the environment that can be partially controlled by them. This leads to the understanding that social media mentality is, in fact, a positive addition to the mentality of the people since it helps to build one’s social capital and spread one’s social network. Obviously, there are many negative aspects of interaction online; however, many of them are simply impossible in the real life. As a result, one should not worry that social media or the Internet, in general, will have a negative influence on the human interaction. The situation can be quite the opposite: the more people use social media, the more they will train their social skills and, therefore, their interaction with the people offline will be better. So, the proponents of this point of view will insist that people should do more online communication. There is no doubt that there is a strong logic behind this view; however, it is essential to acknowledge the fundamental flaws that exist in this kind of thinking, namely that making no difference between online and offline interaction will decrease the value of the actual interaction among the people. In essence, social media is not a negative phenomenon; however, there are some inherently negative aspects of it that can ruin the conventional patterns of interaction. For example, it is common for the social media users to leave positive comments under a new post made by a person with regard to a new change: a new haircut, a new car or a new accomplishment. The problem is that many feel obliged to write positive comments even when they do not mean what they wrote. If this pattern is applied to real-life interaction, this will mean that people will start boasting more and other will start supporting when while in reality they do not feel what they express and thus lead to the situation when one cannot truly express themselves when communicating with other in reality, and thus detaching one from another in the society.

The Internet encourages people to rely on the knowledge that can be easily retrieved from external sources rather than their own knowledge. Because everyone relies on knowledge from the internet, they may be misleading by the internet and separate themselves into different groups (i.e. black and white), and easily hatred toward the other group because of the extreme comment online. Postman points out that many people tend to rely on digital media as it is able to provide them with an answer more easily than their own memory (159). People tend to think that they should focus more on learning how to operate the machines rather than learning about the world. This will lead to the situation, where conflicts will appear quickly, and there will be no possible way to resolve them, since each party will rely on its own set of superficial knowledge.

The supporters of the digital media point out that this particular aspect of the Internet has not been understood properly by the people. Google search does not make people stupid, it enables them to refrain from remembering a considerable amount of the information and have it available whenever they want to. By relying on the external sources of knowledge, people might free up some time to focus on what is really interesting for them. One might compare this to using calculators: people no longer have to memorize multiplication table; however, more scientific discoveries have been made after calculators became widely spread. To put it differently, there is nothing wrong with using technology as long as it helps a person to achieve more. Therefore, the criticism of the Internet and the fact that it enables people to rely on external sources of knowledge originates from the understanding of this tool in an incorrect way (Ayas and Horzum, 283). It is highly unlikely that digital media can have a negative impact on the society. There is no doubt that this kind of thinking can convince some people. There are several flaws associated with it as well. The major problem here is that such behavior reduces the value of knowledge that people have. It used to be that individuals who were able to retrieve knowledge from their memory were highly respected in the society. This is no longer the case. Another point that should be mentioned in this regard is that such practice also reduces the importance of wisdom in the society which leads to numerous conflicts and overall instability in the social environment. One should point out that the tension between the people can be reduced if they are able to process the information correctly. The Internet allows them to refrain from relying on their own mental capabilities and make sure that they can use external forces. As a result, many tend to believe what other people say rather than approaching the situation critically and developing their own perception of the situation. So, one might speculate people grow apart because of the Internet. They have an opportunity to access the information that support their point of view and disregard all others.

In conclusion, the Internet results in the detachment of the people in various ways. It has been shown that many people are accustomed to learning about events very quickly which causes Fear of Missing Out and encourages the individuals to learn about the events that do not influence them directly, which makes a person care less about one’s relatives and friends. In addition to that, it is common for people to have developed identities that they use online to send different kinds of messages. In the worst cases, this results in the projection of social media mentality on the conventional interaction among the people. The Internet encourages people to use external sources of the information and discourages them from having a critical worldview. Next time when you boast the number of friends you have online, think about that you can have more friends in real life.

Works Cited

Auerbach, David. “You Are What You Click.” Reading Pop Culture, edited by Jeff Ousborne, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015, pp. 179–189.

Ayas, Tuncay, and Mehmet Baris Horzum “Relation between Depression, Loneliness, Self-Esteem and Internet Addiction.” Education, vol. 133, no. 3, Spring2013, pp. 283-290.

Boyd, Danah. “Impression Management in a Networked Setting.” Reading Pop Culture, edited by Jeff Ousborne, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015, pp. 122–127.

Burak, Jacob. “Escape from the Matrix.” Reading Pop Culture, edited by Jeff Ousborne, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015, pp. 428–434.

Jurgenson, Nathan. “The IRL Fetish.” Reading Pop Culture, edited by Jess Ousborne, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015, pp. 191–197.

Postman, Neil. “The Judgment of Thamus.” Reading Pop Culture, edited by Jeff Ousborne, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015, pp. 151–166.

Shekhawat, Deepika and Pushpa Singh Rathore. “Internet Usage in College: A Comparison of Users and Non Users in Relation to Self Esteem and Satisfaction with Life.” Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing, vol. 5, no. 3, Mar. 2014, pp. 335-340.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: November 27, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

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