The Impact of the Internet on Modern Culture

Marwa Hameed and Mike Chu

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From his masterpiece The Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens states: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” Through this quote, Charles Dickens may have been trying to convey that what is foolish and wise are simply based on perspective. The internet clearly demonstrates this idea. Some view the internet as a curse to humanity that is responsible for the destruction of culture. Others believe that a hundreds of years from now, the internet may be viewed as a factor that built our culture up, not knocked it down.

Today the world is going through a period of rejuvenation unlike anything we’ve seen before. The internet has been put on a global pedestal, reaching its peak since having made its debut in the 80’s. In every spectrum, whether it be books, movies or art, the internet has been key to letting new ideas and voices be heard. It has allowed different ways for people to connect and communicate, people from all walks of life who may have nothing in common. These small new connections and formats allow for the exploration of things that seemed distant, so much more close. Things that seemed insignificant to the world at first glance branch out and become a worldwide topic of concern or interest because it meant something to someone who dared to share it on the public podium that is the internet.

While the benefits of the internet cannot be ignored, we must also recognize the damage that this new technology has on culture. The internet’s accessibility and utility allows individuals to to express their ideas freely. While most may see this as a benefit to society, as free speech is a revered value in the United States, many forget that free speech can be used by the ignorant to degrade the values of culture. According to Andrew Keen from ABC news “What concerns me is an illiterate public, engaging in media… This is a public that knows very little about the world, and the end result is a dumbing down of culture, a dumbing down of information and an increasingly rude and politically extreme discourse, which essentially undermines the civic values in America today.” While the internet is an excellent place for discourse and exchanging of ideas, it is also a place that allows proliferation of lies, hatred, and bigotry.

The internet has normalized what it means to be a person living in the 21st century. It has opened the door for new era of communication and has eased difficulties surrounding modern cultural business. However, this revolutionizing technology has shown to be a double edge sword. While the internet has contributed so much to the modernized way we live now, it has allowed certain individuals to degrade society rather than empower it. While there are many conflicting opinions about the internet, nobody will deny that it has brought the change that transitioned humanity into a new cultural era.

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