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(2010-05-26) Walk the less common path

Think back, say, 20 years. Here in Sweden we had just shed the TV monopoly while radio was still regulated. Mobile phones were still a luxury and the closest thing we had the ďworld wide webĒ was Usenet and FidoNet. We had some, but not too many, choices. Itís been quite a ride since. Now we have communities, blogs, short message services, forums and video sharing sites. And theyíre almost always free of charge and readily available to all.

Iíve heard a lot of people predicting that the Internet will mean the end of everything from poverty to war. Just like they predicted that radio would do the same thing in the 1920s. And if I remember correctly, this ďcure allĒ hope has been applied to almost all new technologies and at least one US president before.

So far the human nature, for better and worse, has prevailed. The Internet has given us so much, that itís hard to imagine what it would be like if it just vanished one day.

Whatís supplied: a smorgasbord of opinions ranging from the fringe to the main stream. The Internet also has a wide variety of whatís itís most known for, but letís not go there. You know what I mean.

Whatís in demand: what you already believe told by someone like you. This may not be what we expected, but it is what we got. If you have an open mind, you can find outlets of all kinds of political and worldly views. But how many of us bother with it? We often walk down the same path everyday by visiting the same sites with the same message. If we ever look around, we find sites we really hope someone (itís always someone else!) really should shut down. However as you probably already know, democracy is meant to protect the opinions we hate, not the ones we love. That is if thereís such a thing as democracy on the Internet or anywhere else for that matter.

Iím not trying to say that everything should be allowed to exist on the Internet. Itís kind of pointless saying that I really dislike things like malware sites, child porno and other criminal activity. Such things should never be allowed, but itís not what Iím talking about. I also donít really care for Nazis, ďpatriotsĒ and other backwards people on the Internet either. But itís a good thing they can exist, if only to work as an example of really bad ideas. But I think itís a good idea to broaden my own views every now and then walk the path less travelled and by reading something written by someone whose opinions I disagree with. I (somewhat) frequently listen to American hosts like Rush Limbaugh (Syndicated, rightwing), Bill OíReilly (FOX news, rightwing) and Keith Olbermann (MSNBC, Leftwing). Theyíre all share their narrow world views with us. But theyíre amusing and sometimes you can learn something.

Posted: 2010-05-26 by Erik Zalitis
Changed: 2010-06-19 by Erik Zalitis

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