The Power and Responsibility of the Internet

I think I’m going to integrate TED talks into my life more. I realize now that I watch a lot of random videos as break (usually funny videos/music videos/reaction videos) but I can surely also fit in a video to make me think and to expand my world in my YouTube break session.

I watched this video today titled “Ten Reasons to Stop Apologizing for your Online Life”

Two main thoughts as I read this:

1. The Internet is actually a truly amazing thing. It’s like a mystical thing that shifts to reflect us and it almost makes me think it’s like a magical floating orb mirror thing or (if you are into Pokemon) like a Castform (it’s a Pokemon that shifts to reflect the weather).

 

I think it’s exciting but also a bit scary because that means if you just float along, you’ll be stuck in a rut, going in one direction and not exploring different perspectives or ideas. That means that we need to be self-aware and push ourselves to look for different angles more, because if we don’t, the Internet will just show us what we want (to be entertained or what we want to hear) rather than necessarily what we need.

Going along the idea of the Internet being a mystical powerful thing, just like Uncle Ben said in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” And indeed, the Internet is powerful, so we really need to be responsible with it. The TED talk speaker said that “Your attention is a real resource” and this made me also think that perhaps our attention is even like a currency that very often we don’t realize that we’re using so flippantly.Β Every video we watch, every website we visit, every thing we repost or share, that goes towards building the Internet we experience. Dang.

2. What does this mean for social media stalking then? Because so often we apologize for our online selves and say that’s just our more poetic selves/dramatic/fill in the blank, that then makes it fake and therefore, we don’t have a responsibility over it. But we do.

When we use online media, be it tumblr or blogging or instagram or twitter, it’s almost like creating a trail of breadcrumbs for someone to look up how we present ourselves. It’s almost like marketing ourselves but socially? I mean, I think a large majority of people Facebook stalk once they get a name, especially if it’s someone they overheard was good-looking. And then you go through their pictures and click through their other social media sites, and then bam, you have an image of them. You have knowledge about them from them, whether or not it was intended for you.

This doesn’t mean that knowledge equals relationship, however. There’s still the crucial step of establishing contact with that person and if possible, meeting them in person. But, still, it’s weird because with the Internet, you can discover a lot about a person through avenues they made accessible without even physically meeting them or having a conversation with them.

Which then goes back to responsibility. We need to acknowledge that our online selves are real and then that immediately means that we need to be more careful what we put up. I mean I feel like there’s always an awkwardness when someone says like “Oh I saw this on you (tumblr/twitter/instagram)” if you haven’t seen them. But then sometimes it’s neat, because you can follow what someone’s up to. Hopefully that someone is a friend, though.

Conclusion? The Internet is really powerful and demands responsibility from its users. Including me, who is writing this right now, and you, who is reading it.

///

Oh, it’s so wonderful to write more analytical things again! I’m going to reorganize my blog and create a category for TED thoughts. This summer I hope to watch a TED talk a day and write as I digest them. It’ll be a good way to keep myself accountable~

Finals week is wrapping up nowadays. I have to finish a short story and then a four page reflection about Hallyu from my perspective as a Korean-American. It’s still crazy that I get to say that both of the assignments are assignments. Wow. God is good.

Hope all is going well!

~ajc

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