One of the great things about the internet today is the rapid sharing of information. A Tweet someone sends about a new cupcake bakery could spawn a new customer or even a hundred with the right following. Event organizers can spread the word of a new concert or party, and in a relatively short amount of time, they can attract tons of participants. Small town news stories can spread globally, within hours or days if the right push is behind it.
Of course, there's a huge downside to this as well, a downside we as a digital culture are still figuring out. Sure the message spreads far and wide, but maybe the new cupcake bakery is selling E Coli-riddled muffins. Maybe no one comes to your party because there just wasn't the right spin on it. And maybe that small town news story about an old man who feeds the bird in the park ends up demonizing him because he kind of looks like a version of what Hitler might look like today if he'd actually survived WWII. Of course, the spread of the message is only part of the problem. The other half is the way the message is written.
I'm not here to solve all the problems on the internet today, but I am going to try to bring a little attention to something that has been bugging me for a while now. I'm sure this affects every facet of the internet, but I see it every single day in the world in which I live... the world of geekery.
The internet helps in a lot of cool ways when a new movie or video game is coming along. We can see early production shots of new movies, pictures taken from an adjacent building and posted online. Early tests for new video games can spread quickly across the internet, whereas years ago we'd have to wait for pics posted in a monthly magazine.
What bothers me the most with all of this is that rather than spreading useful information, the internet has turned into a game, a game where the most clicks wins. Most of these articles don't care about whether they're right or wrong, they care about about how much traffic comes to their website. This isn't new information. What gets me is that these articles are being passed off as "news" when it's the farthest thing from it.
I can think up literally anything and post it around the internet as a "newsworthy" article and it will drive traffic to my website. The masses on the internet will click on the link, some will not, and many, many more will simply debate whether the headline is plausible or not (because who has time to read these days). I'll save that gripe for another day.
Look. I'm not going to tell you how to internet. Hell, sometimes I find it fun to browse the Reddit comments on these rumor news posts just to see how bent out of shape some people get. Trolling is an important part of the internet, too. But many of us get wrapped up in the sensationalism of the rumors and spread it around without even thinking about it. Rumors are rumors, and no amount of wishful thinking will prove them true or false. Of course, they might be true...by accident.
Video Games, Comics, Movies, and Books. I'll talk about it all, and I'll tell you why it's so awesome!