The impact of Internet on the society and our thinking

The
impact of Internet on the society and our thinking
Tania
Malik
Sociology
Dr.
Carey Ford
May
5, 2016

The Internet is a decisive information-age-technology, just like the
electrical engine was the vector of the technological transformation of
industrial age. This worldwide network of computer networks that is largely
based on modern platforms of wireless communication provides an ever-present
capacity of multimodal, interactive communication in preferred time, surpassing
space. The Internet is not a new technology(White, 2007).
It was first deployed in the year 1969. It was then privatized in the 1990s, and
then released from the control of the Commerce Department of U.S, later
diffusing around the world at an amazing speed. According to the first survey
conducted in 1996 on Internet users, it was found out that about 40 million
people were accessing Internet. The number of Internet users has been seen to increase
tremendously to over 2.5 billion, which is according to another survey that was
conducted in 2013(“Computer
Society Information”, 2005). At the core part of these
communication networks, Internet ensures efficient production, distribution as
well as the use of digitized information in all formats. Thus, the scope and
speed of transformation of the communication environment by wireless
communication and Internet has resulted to all kind of dystopian and utopian
perceptions globally.
As in all moments of key technological change, companies, people, and
institutions have felt the depth of the change from the Internet use, but they
are often overwhelmed by it, out of total ignorance of its impact. This has
resulted into dramatic increase in sociability, but of different kind that has
been dynamized and facilitated by social networking and permanent connectivity
on the web.
For
us to fully get a deep understanding of the effects of the internet on society,
we have to remember this; technology is material culture, which is produced in
a social process within a given institutional environment on the basis of
values, ideas, knowledge, and interests of their producers, who adapt and appropriate
the technology rather than adopting it(Scanlan, 2006). By so
doing, they modify and produce it in a continuous process of interaction
between social use and the technological production. We live in a network society; meaning, a
society that is constructed around organizational and personal networks, which
are powered by digital and later communicated by Internet. Since networks are
global with no boundaries, the network society is a worldwide network society. Historically,
this has resulted from the interaction between some of the key sociocultural
changes and the emerging technological paradigm that is based on digital
revolution. Rather than reducing sociability among people and isolating them,
Internet does actually increase sociability among people from different walks
of life thus uniting them.
From
the studies conducted by Michael Willmot for British Computer Society, and the
World Wide Survey of the Michigan University from 2005-2007(Choi & Ross,
2006)showed that use of Internet empowers people by increasing
their personal freedom, security feelings, influence, and all those feelings
that have got a positive effect on personal well being and happiness. This
effect is particularly positive for individuals with lower income and that are
less qualified, for women, and people that are in developing world. It has been
positive for women, since they are at the core of the network of their
families, thus Internet helps them organize well their lives. It also helps
them overcome their isolation, especially in those societies that are
patriarchal. In addition to these, Internet use contributes to the rise of the
autonomy culture.
Power
and counter power, which form the foundational relationships within the
society; are constructed upon the human mind through the processing and the
construction of meaning of information according to certain interests and sets
of values(De
Grandis, 2006). The mass media and ideological apparatuses have been
the main tools of mediating communication and asserting by use of Internet, and
still they are. But with the rise of a new culture of autonomy, has found a
major medium of mass self-organization and self-communication in the Internet. Due
to power relations, the relations, which constitute the
foundation of all societies, and the processes that challenge the
institutionalized power relations have decided and increasingly shaped in the
communication field. It is a meaningful
and conscious communication that makes people humans. Therefore, any key
transformation in the organization and technology of communication is of utmost
relevance for the social change. Over the last three decades the advent of
wireless communication and Internet has shifted the process of communication in
the society at large, from mass communication to mass self-communication. From
a message sent from one person to many with less interactivity to a system that
is based on messages from many people to many people, in chosen time,
multimodal, and with interactivity, receivers are senders and senders are
receivers. Thus both have got access to multimodal hypertext in the web, which
constitutes the endlessly changing cornerstone of the communication process.
As
a society, people’s critical thinking is declining as a generation in
comparison to that of the past generations. Yes the availability of Internet
has made everything easy, but it has some shortcomings. With the Internet
readily available anytime to almost everyone, we find solutions to questions we
have easily, and take the information supplied by the Internet rather than
critically analyzing topics and thinking on our own(O’Reilly, MacMillan, Mumuni,
& Lancendorfer, 2016). Indeed, our reliance on researching ideas and
opinions of other people on the Internet is greatly jeopardizing our higher
order thinking as well as our originality. We are now continuously evolving
from a culture of cultivating our personal knowledge into that of hunting and
gathering information in the electronic forest that is dazzled by the treasures
of the network, not knowing the kind of damage we are doing to our culture and
our intellectual lives. The use of Internet has given rise to a systematic
trend of reporting and fact-finding. People are becoming too apt to share what
others are thinking rather than developing and formulating personally their own
ideas that are unique. This has had a negative impact to our educational and
academic institutions globally. The use of Internet has increased sociability
among people significantly but unfortunately, it has resulted shallow thinking among
people in the society and not adding much to our cognitive thinking.
With
the extensive recurrent usage of Internet, studies have indicated that the
development of the systematic implications like scattered thinking and short
term attention spans(Scanlan,
2006). While we are working online, our brains are
constantly being pressured to take in large amounts of information. Numerous
links on a single page connect to others, web pages contain pictures that are
enticing, and sidebar advertisements flicker and divert attention. With the
overbearing amount of information and the regular exposure to these types of
distractions, our attention spans are greatly reduced which instigates to other
significant cognitive problems.
As all technologies, the Internet does not produce effects by itself.
Yet, it has got specific effects in our cognitive thinking, and the alterations
of the capacity of the communication system to be organized around those flows
that are multimodal, interactive, local or global, synchronous or asynchronous,
from people to people, objects to objects, and from people to objects,
increasingly depending on the semantic web. It is crystal clear that without
the Internet, then we would have not seen such large-scale networking
development as the fundamental mechanism of social change and social
structuring in each and every domain of social life. The Internet and a variety
of networks based on the wireless platforms constitute the society’s network
technological infrastructure, as the electrical engine and electrical grid were
the main support system for the form of the social organization, which we
conceptualize as a modern society. Hence, as a social construction, the
technological system is open ended, forming a social organization that transmits
what is best and the worse to humankind.
Although,
Internet makes things faster and easier for us, it is not always necessarily
better. We do not want to sacrifice our uniqueness and critical thinking
ability, for the attainment for the diffident amount of additional
productivity. Our cognitive thinking is the greatest possessions we have,
therefore we should this vast amount of time spent on the Internet to preserve
it for the better. Therefore, it is of wisdom to use the Internet moderately
and when it is necessary.

References
Choi, Y. & Ross,
L. (2006). Policy and Power: The Impact of the Internet on the Younger Generation in South Korea. Social
Policy And Society, 5(03), 421. .doi.org/10.1017/s1474746406003095″>http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s1474746406003095
Computer Society
Information. (2005). IEEE Internet Computing, 9(6), 79-79. .doi.org/10.1109/mic.2005.122″>http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/mic.2005.122
De Grandis, G. (2006).
The Impact of the Internet on Our Moral Lives R. J. Cavalier (ed.), The Impact of the Internet on Our Moral
Lives (Albany: State University
of New York Press, 2005), 249 pp., $26.95/£16.75 paperback. Politics & Ethics Review, 2(2),
224-226. .doi.org/10.3366/per.2006.2.2.224″>http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/per.2006.2.2.224
O’Reilly, K.,
MacMillan, A., Mumuni, A., & Lancendorfer, K. (2016). Extending Our Understanding of eWOM Impact: The Role of
Source Credibility and Message
Relevance. Journal Of Internet Commerce, 15(2), 77-96. .doi.org/10.1080/15332861.2016.1143215″>http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15332861.2016.1143215
Scanlan, M. (2006).
Book Review: The Impact of the Internet on Our Moral Lives. New Media & Society, 8(3),
525-527..doi.org/10.1177/146144480600800313″>http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/146144480600800313
White, A. (2007). The
Impact of the Internet on Our Moral Lives. The Journal Of Value Inquiry, 39(3-4), 537-539..doi.org/10.1007/s10790-006%095764-x”>http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10790-006 5764-x

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