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Internet, Activism and Change
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With the invention of the internet, individuals around the world have changed in the way they think and how they do other related things like studying and the type of media they use in their day today lives. Media has moved from print to a variety of ICT enabled media like computers, which one can do reading online as long they have access to the internet. The internet has put forth a strapping influence over our deliberation through online websites that give individuals freedom to speak out, push for change in their governments. The internet stands on interacting and conversational grounds.
The development of ICT over the years has led to many students depending solely on it to get information for academic purposes, especially those who are undertaking higher education. Some universities allow their students to use the internet do their assignments and research as there is a large number of credible sources that can be very useful to the students. Other than for academic use people use the ICT particularly the internet to socialize with their and people around the world hence connection of people to share their diversity (Singer, 2010, p.1). The internet on the other hand has negative effects to the people using it for example; children might get access to some sites that that would not be adequate for them such as pornographic material.
Current forms of ICT have caused social, political and cultural changes in society as it is being used by more and more people for a larger range of daily uses. People are more into socializing using the internet through sites such as facebook, twitter and other social sites where they make friends from all over the world, which is very exciting. Politicians nowadays use the internet to fulfill their political interests and bring people together for their purpose for the society. More and more people use the internet making it great platform that politicians have learnt to exploit in an attempt to target potential supporters for their campaigns. The internet gives freedom of choice and speech on political forums that take place online (Gladwell, 2010, p.1)
Socializing of individuals through the internet enables people from diverse cultures to communicate and exchange details of their cultures. Students can learnt more than they can get from books about the different cultures in the world and through their friends, they can visit different parts of the world to directly interact with the cultures. The information found on the net is massive, which gives individuals more information than they can actually finish reading. This gives people a sense of wanting to know more about other individuals whom they may meet online through websites for socializing and exchange of ideas from all subjects around the globe. Dictators and authoritarian leaders should fear the impact of internet activism. People can gang up and want to fight against the authoritarian leaders that rule their country (Butterworth, 2010, p.2). Individuals may form groups that are opposed to authoritarian leadership, plan riots that may cause damage or deaths creating a bad image for the dictators. We can open say that internet activism can cause harm; hence it is not simply virtual politics.
The internet has made a lot of changes in today’s world. The internet has manipulated many aspects of society. This has brought about changes in people’s lives hence the implications that scholars and activists have made are actually right when they say that, the internet and new varieties of information communication technology (ICT) will bring about a new-fangled epoch of activism and lead to societal, political and cultural modifications. With Facebook and other sites the conventional relationship between political power and accepted will has changed enabling the weak to come together, plan and give tone to their distress (Hyatt, 2011).
People who solely rely on the internet and ICT to do their studies or work on a regular basis give the implication that they cannot do without them. They are literally hooked up; if they go a day without ICT they feel that something is missing. These individuals portray a sense of relief or freedom to do a majority of things that they are used to and work with better. They feel they can trust ICT to do things for them without struggling too much to get the end product.
Carr’s analysis which implies that internet use is damaging our analytical capabilities and critical faculties is actually true. Internet utilization revolutionizes our thinking and analyzation of information because it makes peoples concentration to waver after a few pages of reading a book. The flow of the book thread is lost, one starts to look for something else to keep him busy. The book does not have the same effect it had on people long before the internet whereby they would be caught up in the narrative or turns of events in a long article. The feeling that one has is beinghauled back onto the text, the profound reading that used to exist naturally has become a constant resistance (Carr, 2010, p.1)
Activist communities are created daily by individuals or groups who are fighting for certain rights for other people or other people. Personally, I have joined two online activist communities Ya-Ya network and Global Youth Connect. Ya-Ya network which is allied by individuals who are against racism and sexism. They work with issues that affect the eminence of young NYC people with the main focal point to counter-military conscripting and connection between militarism and other social justices (Williams, 2011, p.4). Global Youth Connect which aims to construct and sustain a society of youth exerting to fight for human rights and justice socially, for motivation and sanctioning for youths to fight for a social alteration that has significance. I get to check and participate on the cause at least twice a week to know the most current issues and updates.
The internet as a technology does actually support speech, civil liberties and democratization. This is because civil societies have industrialized a diversity of techniques online, to augment their operations. There is creation of sites on the internet that can be accessed by anyone from anywhere to speak out their minds and give ideas on different subjects on discussion (Naughton, 2008, p.3). These sites give gives one the freedom to share whatever he or she has in mind. WikiLeaks subsistence attest to free speech permits of the internet if only the truth is posted from leaked files. They are anonymous posts that are placed on the site so that information intended for the public is passed out. These leaks lead to thwarting of many governments around the globe. Most of this information is not known by the general public, this helps them be updated on all aspects of society in the world socially, politically and culturally. Some governments may be against these sites but I say if the truth is leaked then I would say it is the right thing to do.
I believe that the internet has the capacity to enable social/political change because the internet has got many non-profit organizations, every one of them conjecturing how best they can make use of the new medium. They encourage individuals to join political sides for different reasons. The people get to access the sites they are interested in so that they can know more but at the same time they learn and alter the way they think on the views given on social and political grounds. For example, President Obama supports the internet revolution for politics because he thinks that if information moves around freely, the society is made sturdier (Miller, 2008, p.5).
The internet cannot be really said that it is owned, this is because it is a global system that allows dissimilar computer systems to converse using average set of regulations, without which they would not be able to chat. I do not feel surveilled most of the time because I feel safe in that, the privacy settings allow me to do my own business without getting any intrusions or any of my data being looked at. Sometimes when sites are lacerated and data is leaked, I do feel monitored and wish I could live the site because my information has been compromised. The government can create awareness on the effect of unrestricted internet access especially to the underage children. They can impose restriction to the viewing of hate sites and pornographic sites in public places such as café’s and coffee shops as this will lead to the spreading of these kinds of activities especially among the teenager of today (Ratliff, 2008, p.10). Online users of the internet today are not concerned about the privacy of personal information as there are restrictions that have been implicated on the website owners not to share the user’s personal information.
The corporate nature of the sites that users visit is not of much concern to the user because it is not the aspect that the user is interested in. The corporate branch of the sites that a user visits only becomes an issue when they cause an impact on the site thus eliminating the importance of this site. A user does not put much thought into the ownership of the information that he or she gets from the internet. The user basically worries about the content of the information that he or she requires. The user visits sites that he or she knows to be of relevance to the matter at hand. I sometimes have concern about individuals who have ownership of information on the internet. It is not much though because I do not want to know more about them unless I am required to by circumstances of knowledge (Kelly, 2008, p.6). I am not really apprehended by the amount of data held in respectable licensed formats because all I actually want and need from the internet is what I go for so that I can use it. Other issues that concern licenses do not actually come to mind at that time but eeither way does not impact me in any way.
The digital divide is a term used to describe the gap between individuals, businesses, and locations at different social and economic levels with consideration to both the opportunities to access the information that is available and the communication technologies. The use of the internet can also be utilized in a wide range of activities. This aspect incorporates the physical access to the technological advancements and the skills, knowledge, and resources required to successfully participate as a digital inhabitant. The internet plays a fundamental function in higher schooling by linking the digital divide (Zimmer, 2000, p.4). This can be done by digital activism; marshalling people to support more individuals affected by digital divide to be able to cross the bridge for internet use and participate in activism.
There should be a right to access the internet because it is mean to serve the whole global population. There should be no restrictions made on the use of internet if the user does so responsibly. The internet on the contrary has various rewards. This service provides the user a vast wealth of knowledge thus giving him or her desire to learn more on subjects that fascinate the individual. The internet provides an opportunity to the users to expand their horizons to the things that matter to them (Harkin, 2010, p.1). The internet is a more attractive method of teaching as it uses visual aids to help the user understand the context of the information being passed on to the user. This aspect enhances the desire to explore the articles given and the motivation to go beyond the information given to find other sources that are relevant to the question at hand. This can also entice the user to think outside the box and develop a new idea. The internet is not only about the education and communication; there are games that are available online. When a user indulges in these games, they can help develop problem solving skills that can be used in other activities like studies.
Without access to the internet one can luck out of many opportunities. The internet is a major line of communication that is preferred by a large number of the working class people. Without the access to these channels then an individual may become unaware of the things that go on around him or her (Zimmer, 2000, p.3). A week without internet access may inconvenience an individual but a month or a year without access to the internet may breakdown operations within an organization. Some companies totally depend on the internet to exist. An example is the online freelance writing jobs that are a source of employment to a great number of individuals. If they do not have this service then they would lack a means to which they earn a living. Internet addiction can become a real problem if it is abused by the user. When a user becomes completely dependent on the internet then he or she finds it difficult to work without it and thus it becomes an inconvenience to them. Internet use should be only of the required amount in order to avoid addiction. One can also combine other forms of communication or visit a library.
Universities should not require students to complete research without using the internet. The internet is a major contributor to the provision of information as almost every topic that has been documented has been published online. The internet brings one millions of hits on subjects searched for on the internet. It is much easier to use and time saving compared to other spring of information. A university library may have an extensive assortment of books on all subjects but they are not always available. This creates uncertainty on whether or not one will be able to fulfill the desired quest for information. A library may not have a particular book or may even have loaned it to another student (Sullivan, 2008, p.3). The internet thus is more accessible by the use or a computer or internet enabled devices at the click of a button. This is considerably swifter compared to the preceding routine of going to the library. This can be done from the comfort of an individual’s home or place of work rather than having to go through the hustle of visiting a library to access a certain article or book.
The internet has caused a stir in the world and it is changing day by day, making advancements that continue to make people more and more dependent on it. It is being upgraded and creating tools that are addictive and more efficient for the work one is doing online. Some social sites have enabled practice of civil liberties and democratization by the users at the same time making sure there anonymity is respected. Social sites have aided people in socialization on their livelihoods leading to cultures being shared across the globe. Students have benefited immensely in doing their researches and studies by accessing the internet, information is just a click away.
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