Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Never afraid to offer an opinion

It's a bit of an odd blog post title this one. I'm not intending to just post lots of my opinions. I have them and I'm not afraid to share but that's not the point of this entry.  It's more of a comment on the Internet.

It's not going to come as a surprise to anyone I'm sure if I mention the fact that the Internet has become a place where people feel more than comfortable expressing their opinion, no matter how batshit it is. Anything at all happens and you'll quickly see thousands of postings in favour of opposed.

And you know what, I think this is a healthy thing; for the most part. It's the ultimate expression of free will and free speech. But there is a line and a lot of people do cross it. There's much on the net that's offensive; much intentionally. This isn't good but I wouldn't curtail the freedom of someone to be offensive; as long as what they post isn't actually illegal.

After all I can choose to read or view something if I want and I can choose to not read or view something. I have total power in that respect. Now I know there are many who are taken in by material on the net. Unfortunately over the last few years words like grooming and radicalised have featured often on the news and the Internet has taken a lot of flack but it shouldn't.

Yes these are crimes but it isn't the Internet committing them: it's people. But these crimes are not what I intended to discuss in this posting. That's far too big a topic for an aside. I want to limit myself to matters of opinion online.

You see the thing that triggered this though was the new X-Files series. I've seen so many mentions of it from the moment it was announced right up to the broadcast of the first episode. And I've seen pretty much the full spectrum of responses from total vitriol to gushing devotion; and all before a single episode had aired.

I'm sure there have been countless more now broadcast has started. It's just I've been avoiding them. You see until this evening I'd not had chance to watch and was fearful of someone posting details. I like the surprise of finding out for myself.

That made it difficult - several of the sites I like visiting would no doubt have lots of content about it. I had to be careful on Twitter; staying away from the main feed. But this is really just another aside. It's a minor issue.

The main one for me is one of information overload. The Internet is thankfully, for the most part, unregulated. (And don't tell me I'm delusional. For the purpose of this posting it is. I'm not here to discuss paranoid big brother theories.)

This means it can be difficult to wade through all the nonsense to find something useful or relevant. For every fact I'm sure there are a hundred suppositions. And before you think I'm going to mention religion you can stop it. I don't want to get into controversial waters. I'm limitng myself to the inconsequential.

The Internet is a revolution. But it's also a trap. It can trap you into an endless cycle of cute kitten videos and it can trap you into reading/watching/listening to endless arguments. You need to treat the Internet a little like that strange old uncle you had as a kid. Not because he's a bit seedy; I'm not on about THAT uncle. It's because only 10% of what he said wasn't bullshit. Only on the Internet when it comes to opinion 10% might be optimistic.

I still think the Internet is a great thing. It's a power for good(on average). But remember don't take anyone's opinion as truth. Unless it's mine of course; you'd be okay if it was mine.



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