The Internet has revolutionized our current culture where it has led us to abolish ideas of time, which is durable media that can extend its worth over long periods and space, which is light and portable media that can be transported over long distances, for a more interconnected concept of culture (Innis and Watson 26). But has this interconnected idea of people and information gone too far? Although the Internet provides speed and accessibility of information and connection, it makes us less critical in how we perceive and use information today. Infobesity allows us to scan the Internet without cause and become ever so distracted in the process of finding what it is we are looking for. Jodi Dean claims that this distraction evades our critical thought (9). Being able to access copious amount of information leads us off topic allowing us to jump from source to source forgetting that some information posted on the Internet is not necessarily valid and truthful. Jaron Lanier makes note of the upsides to an abundance of information but proposes the system of the Internet is a messy one nonetheless (9). We no longer read in a linear fashion from beginning to end but rather jump from one topic to another reading short snippets of information until that information does not suit the interests of the reader. How does this affect our critical thinking? Nathaniel Poor discusses the open sources software as being open for the public where anyone can post what they like in any forum he or she chooses therefore the validity and truth of the information requires the reader to critically analyze what it is they are reading. Critical analysis is a skill that not everyone possesses and this alone can lead to a misunderstanding of truth and fact on the Internet.
On the contrary, the Internet can aid us in being more critical of what we are finding. With the evolution of search engines we can now type specific words into a search bar that will pull up related information to the topic of choice. Keywords and phrases are used to optimize our choices on the Internet to specific searches we want to look for (Killoran 50). Also, with the use of scholarly websites this allows readers to not have to put their critical thinking cap on and know that the information they are looking for contains truth and validity.
What is important to note is the Internet is a sharing network where finding information that you were not necessarily looking for but that you found in an easy, accessible manner is possible. Michael Warner discusses online publics as a social space that is a reflexive circulation of information and discourse where information is abundant (420). This means that anyone can put information onto the Internet where millions of people have access to so the misconception that if something is posted onto the Internet it must be true, is false in every way possible. It is better to approach the Internet and the information posted on it with skepticism and a critical eye.
Dean, Jodi. Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive. Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2010. Web. 5 February 2013.
Innis, Harold, and Alexander J. Watson. Empire and Communications. Toronto: Dundurn Press Limited, 2007. Web. 25 February 2013.
Killoran, John B. “How to Use Search Engine Optimization Techniques to Increase Website Visibility.” IEEE Transaction on Professional Communication 56.1 (2013): 50-66. Web. 25 February 2013.
Lanier, Jaron. You Are Not a Gadget. NY, eds. Knopf, 2010. Web. 15 January 2013.
Poor, Nathaniel. “Mechanisms of an online public sphere: The website Slashdot.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 10.2 (2005). Web. 22 January 2013.
Warner, Michael. “Publics and Counterpublics (abbreviated version).” Quarterly Journal of Speech 88.4 (2002): 413-425. Web. 15 January 2013.