Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I keep reading in magazines the frequently voiced opinion that the internet has stiffled creativity. Well, not creativity, so much as the desire to properly investigate, research and explore. Enthusiasm and passion have overtaken fact, knowledge and experience.

I don't wish this post to descend into a regurgitated debate of bloggers versus journalists. That conversation has been had too many times before, and by far greater and better qualified individuals for me to attempt to shed any light on the matter or say anything new.

The internet is both a blessing and a curse as a democratizing force. The widespread availability of information at all times and in all places is like a deluge of words, images and film that is both refreshing and overwhelming. The idea that anyone, anywhere in the world, can fabricate a web page of their own design leads me to question the validity and truthfulness of almost everything.

I shall never forget the words of my history of art professor at university who adamantly repeated: 'All images are fake. No image is real.' What he meant was that there can never be an objective recording of anything, ever; be it words or pictures. Everything that is said, verbally or in writing, every photo that is taken and film that is recorded is done so from an angle, a unique perspective, your perspective. No matter how detached you may try to be, you always only see things from your point of view. Everything is tainted by the personal touch. Even the footage you see on the news: someone recorded that and made a decision, conscious or otherwise, to shoot from that standpoint, to aim their lens in that direction, at that event.

The content of the internet is largely like this. A proliferation of points of view and opinions, especially on blogs. We all comment, critique, observe and respond. It is so easy now to read ten, a hundred, a thousand different perspectives of one thing- and due to the open access of the internet it is easier now than ever for one person's perspective to be subsequently adored or vilified. 

Due to the younger generations having grown up parallel to the evolution of the web, they more quickly updated to the online medium and subsequently are the ones most at risk of overexposure.

Whilst I think it is fantastic that online blogs have enabled the voices of younger, passionate, enthusiasts to have their voices heard, I do worry about their ability to withstand the constant presence of the online public. The current level of celebrity hysteria is shocking. 'Bieber fever', Gaga's 'little monsters'...it's overpowering. And as the crash and burn cases of young stars like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears have shown- it is hard to withstand the pressure of constant observation and scrutiny.

Isn't it about time that we stepped back? Shouldn't we take a moment to 'switch off'?

Obviously I am aware of the hypocritical nature of this post as it is being published on an online blog. But, how else are you supposed to communicate in this day and age? No one reads letter anymore.

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