In the reading, The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers Standage discusses the history of the telegraph, including the failures and successes. The telegraph was able to connect the world in a way that had never been done before. Governments and citizens could send messages across oceans and continents. This invention allowed news to travel faster and reach more people. While it is clear that the majority of people viewed the Trans-Atlantic Telegraph as a huge step forward, not everyone did. Standage states, “far from welcoming the telegraph, many newspapers feared it (p. 148). Newspapers worried that this invention would ultimately hurt the newspaper industry and change the way news was distributed. This fear, however, was unnecessary. After the technology became established, it became apparent that the telegraph “was not suitable for distributing the news to large numbers of readers (p. 149). In this case, new technology ended up improving communication and was a catalyst for further technological advancements.
I believe that the invention of the Internet has created the same sense of worry around the newspaper industry, but also around many other industries. The Internet has allowed information to be shared at an even faster rate with very little cost, thus changing the journalism world forever.
In The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You, Pariser discusses how websites, such as Google and Facebook, have advanced in ways that allows data about your interests and behaviors to be applied to almost every other aspect of the web. But does their power go beyond that of personalization? I believe such companies have the power to stall technological advancements. For example, companies such as Apple and Google are able to sell products that are only slightly better than the previous model (ex: iPhone4 to iPhone4S), in order to insure people will continue to buy their products when an upgrade is available.
Standage stated, “the potential of new technologies to change things for the better is invariably overstated, while the ways in which they will make things worse are usually unforeseen” (p. 104). Has the invention of the Internet caused unforeseen negative effects? In what ways do you think the Internet has made things worse? Do you think that large companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple, etc. have too much power and control too much of the technology industry?