Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Power of the Internet

The true power of the internet does not lie simply in the access to nearly all of human knowledge but also in the access to people who know how to answer questions regarding that knowledge. In addition, access to people who help others discover that a certain branch of knowledge exists, or that a certain idea exists is equally important. Knowing that a realm of knowledge exists is almost as powerful as actually having the knowledge available.

The internet allows even the most economically disadvantaged person, and/or the least educated access to some of the best minds on earth. Think about that, the best minds not only in their locality, but on earth. The average internet user can also gain knowledge of some of the best sources of knowledge, as ranked by experts and other average users. No longer are we limited by what we see on TV, hear on the radio, read in the newspaper or magazines, or what our local libraries (if any) can afford to pay for. The average internet user has access to the same materials or at least knows about said materials as do top experts and elites.

Before any of this can happen, though, the average internet user must become aware that the internet can be used in this manner in the first place. What good is access to people who can answer your question if you don't know they exist, or that their realm of knowledge exists, or that you can use the internet to access them?

Our knowledge of the world was formed and shaped by those who could afford to pay for or had the power to communicate with large masses of people, as such our knowledge was limited and indeed manipulated to serve certain ends, in the very least we had limited access to alternative sources of knowledge which might have helped us form a more thoughtful opinion.

The biggest difference between old media and new media is that the average person can, with relative ease communicate with thousands if not millions of people. Ideas, opinions, and knowledge can spread based solely on merit and not on how much money they generate, or how much power they give to a certain groups or people, or how well they accord with the reigning paradigm.