One of the undervalued things about social media is its ability to teach and expose us to various viewpoints. Social media is largely unfiltered. What goes online are the raw thoughts of people from all over the world. While some are thoughtful and educated posts, others can be hard to read or watch. When sifting through those posts, I was particularly concerned about the overall state of our society. How can people think like this?
Then I remember that not everyone comes from the same background and not everyone was raised the same way I was. Social media allows me to see the raw thoughts of people from such a wide variety of backgrounds. I am not receiving the information through the mouths of news reporters, who have carefully picked scripts aimed to deliver a certain agenda. There are video hosting websites that have footage that would never make it to public television because they are too offensive. Some of those videos are less significant, but my choice to watch those videos gives me the opportunity to see firsthand what other parts of the world are like. Watching that kind of content isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s bad that those kinds of things still exist in the world. Without exposure to that kind of content, we’d be ignorant for living our lives so comfortably in America without any consideration for what’s going on in the rest of the world.
I think Web 2.0 was a gateway for society entering the modern era. It changed the way that humans interacted with each other on an instant and efficient level. Not just communicating with each other instantly, but leaving your mark with comments and posts to encourage discussion with your peers and random strangers on the Internet. I think this has brought a wave of innovation for the world. Now, crowd funding is a legitimate method to popularize and fund a project. Even if actual capital isn’t raised, moral support is definitely in the realm of the possibility in addition to constructive criticism. Having the ability to reach such a large audience also keeps public figures more considerate of their actions in fear of public backlash that can spread much faster with the Internet. The ability to communicate to such a large audience is something that can never be underestimated.
This doesn’t come with a price though. Web 2.0 has given each person an identity. Whatever goes on the Internet will stay there. Even if there’s a “delete” or “hide” button, the post is only buried underneath a layer. There is never a way of completely terminating a file. The Internet is cumulative and continues to grow each day because it is a compilation of information. Because of this, information about each individual on Earth is becoming less and less private no matter what he or she might think. I think this is incredibly scary to think about, that everything you do is being watched in some way or another. It’s a level of surveillance we’ve never witnessed before.