#122 - WORLD WIDE WASTE OF FARCEBOOK
Having been barraged by Facebook status and links (as I'm not bright enough to figure out how to turn them all off), I am appalled at all of the crap out there. My first thought was that the whole internet superhighway thing (as we used to call it) was a bad experiment. Superhighway, perhaps, but there are no driver's licenses or insurance: Anybody can put any old clunker on the road, in the name of free speech. What's the point of information if no one can tell (or no one will take the time) to check that what is there is actually true? Or, if not true, obviously labelled as opinion? Anyone with a PC (which is pretty much anyone in the Western world) can add to the general confusion. And I'm not talking about Wikipediea, a well meaning but immense and largely unmonitored mine of data nuggets. I'm talking about outright lies and misinformation, disguised as something good and right.
I thought back to when information was harder to disseminate, and thought perhaps that that difficulty held information to a higher standard. You know, like books: writing, editing, publishing, printing distribution, sales. Or further back: having a bunch of monks writing by hand. After all, if it's a lot of work, you should only expend the energy on things that are worthwhile. But then, we tend to romanticize the old days. Ironically, I saw a phrase on Facebook that said: "The good old days weren't." Got me thinking about this conundrum.
Read some old non-fiction books. Many of them are crap. Or, more charitably, were thought to be true at the time, but now are seen not to be. As well, much that was published as fact was actually opinion. Possibly, well regarded and much believed opinion, but still opinion.
So once again I try to rant against Facebook, and trip over my own thesis. On sober reflection (I'm mostly sober when I write), we certainly have more crap on the internet, but we also have more truth. We have more ranting fundamentalists in our faces, but we also have more critical thinkers available to us. The first trick is to tell which is which.
Wait, let me back up. The first trick is to CARE what is true and what is not. To allow that your beliefs are not always true, at least not for everyone. THEN, the trick is to tell what is true and what is not. And how it applies to you; and how it applies to everyone else.
But I still hate the stupid timeline thing...
07 March 2012 AD