For anyone that reads my blog, you know that I write about this particular topic frequently. Despite this, I feel the need to elaborate further due to the nature of the presidential election that recently shocked the world.
For once in the history of humanity’s short time on this planet, there is a mechanism more powerful than any authority, individual, or cabal of elitist conspirators. It should come as no surprise that the mechanism to which I refer is that of the internet.
Society’s ability to communicate and coordinate en masse is greater than ever before. Its changed the world in a number of ways, not limited to politics. Its expanded our social networks. Its forged relationships that otherwise would never have been possible, even resulting in lifelong partnerships between people who lived an entire world apart. Its provided a foundation for massive business enterprises, leading to the commercial globalization we are witnessing today
To further illustrate the enormity of the Internet’s impact on the world, let’s take a look at some statistics:
- Despite being vastly outspent by a margin of three quarters of a million dollars per electoral vote, Donald Trump succeeded as the lessor funded candidate (save Carter’s victory over Ford in 1976) for the first time since 1968.
- For the public, this is a vitally important fact. For once in our history, the influence of money can be circumvented by the collective power of mass communication, possible only via the internet.
- According to most studies, nearly a third of all marriages began online.
- This is a far stretch since the days where meeting online was taboo. Remember ten years ago when people were reluctant to admit that they met online? Those days are long over, with digital introduction almost becoming the status quo.
- The Internet has provided an unprecedented capability for multitasking.
- The importance of this is self-explanatory, but warrants mention nonetheless. You don’t need a degree in economics to know that efficiency is drastically improved with increased mobility. The Internet has given us the ability to conduct business, social endeavors, and anything else requiring access to our peers from almost anywhere on the planet. The only stat I need mention to prove my point is this: over 40% of people use their smartphone while on the toilet. This is a humorously literal translation of the fact that there is no longer such a thing as idle time.
- It has resulted in the death of countless languages.
- This is something that can be good for some and not so good for others. Only 5% of the world’s 7,700 plus languages have been translated for compatibility with the internet. In an environment which constantly requires digital conformity, millions are being forced to learn the handful of languages which dominate the majority of the planet.
- Cat videos.
- Okay, maybe this one isn’t as vital as my other points, but it still proves a point. There has been an absolute explosion of creative output since the advent of the internet. Its enabled (for want of a better term) completely average individuals to obtain their 5 minutes of fame via the countless social networks we have at our disposal. Vine, YouTube, Facebook, etc. have produced a slew of creatives dedicated to our viewing pleasure.
These points constitute but a mere fraction of the ways in which the internet has literally changed the world as we know it. Moving forward, its going to be crucial that we as a populace maintain its openness and availability. Any brief glance at history will tell you that those who desire power will attempt to gain control or censor communicative accessibility of the masses. They fully understand the impact that an idea can have – as an idea is more influential than the biggest gun, bomb, or projectile conceivable.
The voice of the people will forever be our most powerful weapon, and it is our duty to protect it.