Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Internet is For ? (not entirely safe for work) updated

While I await Dan Drezner's blog response to today's Maureen Dowd column on blogging and anonymity, I am once again struck by how people tend to overreact to the new technology. There have been heaps of columns by relationship gurus (Ann Landers, etc.) about how the internet has messed up people's relationships via p^rn or by email/chatting/whatever leading to cheating.

And I wonder what they would have been saying as the telephone was widely disseminated:

"I overheard my husband talking to someone else and he sounded like he was talking to a woman. What should I do?"
Expert: "You should consider destroying the phone."

Hmmm. The internet facilitates, it offers opportunities for increased interaction. What people do with that--well, that depends on their marriage/relationship, their morals, their ability to withstand temptation, etc. So, give it a rest. Stop blaming the internet for how people abuse it.

Of course, there are serious questions about anonymity and personal attacks, but these are not new problems--again, phones, graffiti, cb's, ham radio, and the like have long existed and served to provide anonymous means to attack people.

Updated: See here for a good discussion of the lameness of Dowd's column:
The definition of “no accountability” is a Dowd column (or really, most op-eds at the remaining big papers): you’ll never be expected to do any reporting, never be expected to get your facts straight, and you can pretty much spin out whatever fleeting thoughts come into your head over your morning coffee.

For Avenue Q's take on the internet as interpreted through the prism of World of Warcraft, click here (but send the kids out of the room or put on your headphones).


Steve Greene said...

Don't diss Ann Landers! I read her every day from the time I was 12 until she died (2002). And I don't recall her being unfair to the internet. Her sister, Dear Abby, maybe. Ann, no.

Rex B said...

Classic video, but I think its usually a case of the kids putting on earphones and sending the parents out of the room!