The Internet represents the ascension of yahoos, a victory lap for plagiarists, the end of culture, the beginning of the dark ages inhabited by glassy-eyed chronic masturbators who judge truth by the number of thumbs up, wisdom by the number of views, and knowledge by whatever is most fun to believe … Our task is to learn how to build smart rooms – that is, how to build networks that make us smarter, especially since, when done badly, networks can make us distressingly stupider.
This is one of the first things that Weinberger mentions in his book Too Big To Know. This statement really captivated me because of the total truth behind it. Think about Wikipedia. While it can be an incredibly accurate and up-to-date resource, other times, it can be hijacked by some “yahoos.” Some pleasure in misguiding others just as some work for self-gain.
With the creation of the World Wide Web, we have an incredible tool at our disposal. What used to take days or months to spread around the world can now be distributed in a few seconds. This includes both valuable information and misinformation. For example, just a few weeks ago, the rumor that Mike Stoops would be leaving OU for Louisiana State flooded social media. One person was behind this (granted, he was just doing his job and really has no liability). One post, one tweet, or one article can spread like wildfire in today’s society.
Many might wonder what good the Internet does when situations like this occur. While things can spread like wildfire, normally there is one thing that can always be done: checking other sources. With how huge the web and social media is in our day in time, a major event will likely be covered from every side. If there is only one source, you might be able to conclude that that news is baseless, a myth, or a total lie. If the idea is from multiple places, you could conclude that there is a basis to it.
The moral of the story here is this: the Internet can be either good or bad; it is up to the user which one it is.