The World of Instant Information

From the finger-print unlocking iPhone 5S to amazing new tablet computers, our world is becoming ever more digital.  With technology expanding into the mobile sphere, more and more people are beginning to utilize the Internet on a wide variety of devices all over the world.  Recent mobile advancements have been coupled with the rise of the social networking site (Facebook + Myspace), in which individuals have an online profile and interact with one another.

The Internet offers society plenty of tools to become better “citizens” (increase civic participation, interpersonal trust, and political knowledge) and increase social capital.  Pasek, More, & Romer’s study revealed that looking into the particular types of Internet use is important in analyzing the results.  The researchers used Facebook as an example.  They proclaimed Facebook “focused on connecting users through their high school, business, and college communities…emphasis on having its users replicate their real-life identities.”  On the other hand, Myspace was viewed more as a music-oriented social networking website focused around common interests.  This fundamental difference in users and the information each website provides drastically affects the purpose each has in society. Ideally, individuals will use the Internet to not only consume content and maintain social networks, but also voice your own opinion.

In Measuring the Success of Digital Campaigns, Dave Karpf proclaims “Anyone with an Internet connection has a platform for getting the word out.”  This is extremely important as it reveals the truth behind the Internet.  While the Internet has almost unlimited potential, people must make a conscious effort to make use of it.  Especially today when people are constantly bombarded with content.  This means not using the Internet to play mindless video games or watch ridiculous YouTube videos, but using the Internet to voice your opinion.  We are currently living in a revolutionary period of time.  With the tools in front of us, nearly everyone can take an active role, it’s simply up to the user.

How are you currently using the Internet?  Primarily for fun? Or mostly for work/study?  Finally, do you believe you need to be more active online?

This entry was posted in Winter 2012. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The World of Instant Information

  1. snayeon says:

    I agree that Internet users should be more aware of how they are using the Internet and should be using it not only for entertainment but as a tool to express their viewpoints and concerns. Personally, I use the Internet and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to maintain relationship with friends and family and to form new people and acquaintances. Also, I use it for entertainment, such as watching episode after episode of tv shows on Netflix. I think people, including myself, are too comfortable with the Internet and social media sites, which can negatively affect individuals socially and physically. For example, the Internet makes people lazy. Not only are people not getting enough physical activity and not going to the gym but people are impatient and addicted to instant gratification. No one wants to go to the library to do research for their term papers but use google scholars and other online sources to get their articles right away. Also, I don’t think expressing your viewpoints online or slacktivism is as effective as being active and fighting for different issues offline. In order for people to be more involved and live healthier and happier lives, people need to stop viewing the Internet as a dominant factor of their lives and need to see the Internet as a supplementary tool that can enrich their lives.

  2. robausti says:

    By: Robbie Austin
    I use the Internet mostly for work/study, hence primarily for information. The Pasek study proposed that individuals who use the Internet for information are more likely to participate in offline clubs and groups, and to demonstrate higher levels of political knowledge. Indeed, I do learn most of my political news from the Internet, and the Internet motivates me to engage in campus clubs. “Instant information creates involvement in depth” ,states Marshall McLuhan in the Pasek reading. For success, users must make a conscious effort to use digital tools. This relates to how Karpf stressed the importance of applying a strategic logic to the design of any metric of digital activism. After all, strategic action is a way of acting with intentionality and mindfulness of one’s goals.

  3. arieloz says:

    I personally am very active online. I would say my Internet use is mostly for fun, but a considerable amount is still used for working/studying. I am constantly using the Internet to keep myself informed on the latest news events, keep in touch with family and friends on Facebook, read fashion blogs, and research information for homework and papers. However, none of the activities listed above showcase my own opinions or make me engaged with the Internet besides the occasional status update on Facebook. I completely agree with Dave Karpf’s claim that “anyone with an Internet connection has a platform for getting the word out.” This is especially true after websites have enabled their followers to be engaged by commenting on posts, and the creation of blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress. You raise a strong point for why people must make a conscious effort to use the Internet in way to voice their opinions. I have recognized this in my own life and took it upon myself to voice my opinions in a personal lifestyle and fashion blog. Hence, the Internet has become a tool in my daily life.

    Ariel Oz

  4. Neha says:

    After becoming more involved in social media and taking courses/learning about right and wrong practices, I’ve found that I use the internet more effectively than I perhaps did earlier. I am very active online and use it for entertainment, primarily, but I feel that I am slowly becoming more aware of how to use social media and other internet features more appropriately, while still enjoying what I’m doing. I appreciate and take advantage of the smaller changing nuances that may, perhaps, seem irritating because I seek to make the internet experience better in any and all ways possible. We were virtually brought up with easy access to the internet and as with most things, did not necessarily use it effectively as we could have. I am slowly realizing the benefits of engaging in more conversation or building a conversation-starting presence because I think that is the main way we will continue to benefit from the internet and get more out of it.

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