Awab Alvi responds to Douglas Rushkoff
As much as I am committed to the social web for all my efforts in activism there is a definite downside to it, the downside is that there is too much clutter to sieve through, and sadly its growing by the minute. It can all be attributed to just merely have a larger user base which is now able to digest the information on the net and regurgitate their own thoughts as and when needed - this power of speech aka type written journalistic thought was once merely limited to the morning newspaper or the occasional letter to the editor. Some might actually be moments of genius but quite often its a waste of 1's and 0's. With a larger user base naturally the number of bad apples amongst the crown increases.
That said I still believe that the occasional fake video or the occasional mis-reporting should not undermine our confidence in the medium, in fact it just highlights the human aspect to this use of technology. You have to learn to live with both sides of the coin, knowing the fact that this can sometimes be bad.
Another downside which I see is that the phenomenon of the white screen which allows almost all of us to hide behind it, a facebook event would get hundreds in not thousands of "Will attend" to actually end up having only 5 eventually show up. Says a lot about the power of the 'click', it simply can not be trusted, they may mean well, but it has lost us the human touch level, the importance of having RSVP'd to an event which was previously considered as a corner stone to an unwritten verbal promise that I must attend. Is it that we have slowly begun to deliberately decieve, will that have serious repercussions in our own human lives as time progresses, will be slowly morphing ourselves into untrusted humans, where the no one will put a value on our promise
So I often question the power of the web has it has become merely a chatter box with too much of extraneous noise interspersed with a few moments of brilliance. Often I meet people who are frequent commentators on my articles, behind the white screen they elevate to a larger then life personality, and when you bump across them on Main Street, its more often contrary to what the appear online.
On the flip side - I being a dentist by profession, would have lived a closed limited life spending my time as dentist working 9-5 six days a week in solitude treating the 32 teeth that nature had to offer, had it not been for blogs which I discovered in 2004, had it not been for the Government of Pakistan blocking the Blogspot.com domain in 2005, had it not been for Perviaz Musharaff putting a martial law in 2007 - I probably would have never embarked into the arena of online activism that I so much enjoy today - so I then must ask even myself, have I been liberated, have many others like me found the light to be able to share their freedom of thought so freely - I do not know, but this I can tell - my being part of this online revolution is immensely satisfying and liberating to say the least.
So do I have the right to question the downsides of the net, or is it just that its a web full of people learning and discovering their way across the hyper-connected world that we call Internet