As the semester has come to a close, we have read several pieces by Morozov, arguing against usage of the Internet in many ways. For example, he has repeatedly claimed that the Internet promotes a lazy generation of slacktivists and that the Internet has become an integral part of our lives (for both the good and the bad). Lastly, Morozov argues that the Internet cannot solve large-scale “wicked” social problems in ways that visionaries and politicians alike suggest. Instead, he suggests that the Internet can play a significant role in “fixing” social ills, however, it must be done through piece meal strategies, which are often smaller, focused and more successful than utopian plans.
Despite his acknowledgement that in order to facilitate social problems abroad one must used a more focused method, the government has taken a different approach… which may not necessarily be in the right direction. Policymakers such as the former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, believe that the Internet could help promote freedom and democracy particularly in authoritarian societies. Ethan Zuckerman, pushes this idea forward by suggesting that providing access to the internet can help change people’s opinions of their government and thus ignite a revolution. He also argues that citizens would be able to organize and communicate better via social networking sites. While I agree that the Internet is important for modernization, I do not think it is necessary nor the only tool needed to spark a revolution. For example, Gladwell (2011) argues, “People protested or brought down governments before Facebook was invented. They did it before the Internet came along” (p.2). What matters more than a tweet or a text message, is that people truly care about a cause enough to participate and fight for what they believe in.
Morozov may claim to be a “cyber-realist,” however; it seems that above all that he is a cyber- cynic. And he is making me one too. In a world more dependent on technology than ever, I cannot help but begin to see the different natures of the Internet. Morozov also suggests that people rarely have true control over the information that is posted to the Internet; photos, messages, posts all get lost in what he refers to as an “information black hole”(p.312). But really, where does all of our information go?
Does Internet access provide the ultimate tool for revolution? Moreover, do you think that Internet Freedom should be a United States policy? Or have Morozov’s words made an impact on you, making you a “cyber cynic” and more aware of the “scarier” side of the Internet, such as the “information black holes” or the public-nature of social networking?