I’m sure that many people have seen this commercial by State Farm where the young woman believes everything on the Internet. Although this is funny and used for joking purposes, this commercial in a way expresses the true state Internet uses in today’s world. The Internet is known as an information highway where users can access to a plethora information at their own convenience. Recognizing this fact, many if not all newspapers and magazines have moved to the Internet along with other news-related websites spreading anywhere from local to international news, information about you’re the average person to A list celebrities, and much more. The Internet is also full of “gossip” about things that are just rumors of real stories. However I feel that sometimes people these days cannot tell apart the gossip from the real stories. People also tend not to look into the validity of a story, contrary views, or anything else to get down to the truth. Online readers seem to take in information as it is given with no care in mind about inaccuracy or biases.
Recently a friend of mine made a post on Facebook complaining about her financial situation at Loyola. Knowing her personal situation I felt she was unjustified in what she was saying because she was not giving an accurate picture of her situation. I really didn’t have a problem with her post in itself because many people post on Facebook expressing whatever they feel whether it be fair or not. However what really bothered was the high intensity of support she received. All the “likes” and comments on her post in agreement with her bothered me because I knew that there was a large group of people supporting her statements which in itself was highly inaccurate and would not be know by the average Loyola student. This small situation to me reflects how people online tend to believe whatever they read without second-guessing of looking into it more.
I feel on the other hand that such high support for her post stemmed from a recent online controversy about Loyola from a recent grad student. A little while after the student body received an email about tuition increase, the Loyola Phoenix released a story from a Loyola alumnae entitled “An open letter to Father Garanzini”. In the letter former student Peter Kobak wrote a letter to President and CEO of Loyola University Chicago about why he would not currently donating to the university. He complained about how the university uses the tuition money and basically how it has become a business and does not support the Jesuit mission it promotes. I will even admit that when I first read the letter I was in agreement with Kobak, at least until I read a response letter by a current Loyola student David Markiewicz. In the second letter, Markiewicz, defends the actions of the university’s use of money and refutes the state about the university’s business aspect in respect to the Jesuit mission. Both letter present tow different ideals but also prevent valid points to consider. The problem is that people tend to not look at both ends of a story or even second guess what they are reading like I did when the first letter was released.
This very concept relates to what Douglass Rushkoff was saying in his work Program or be Programmed. Rushkoff says, “ A society that looked at the Internet as a path toward highly articulated connections and new methods of creating meaning is instead finding itself disconnected, denied deep thinking, and drained of enduring values” (Rushkoff 10). I agree that we as a society can use the information to spread information in good ways and we do, the only problem is that we need to regain that instinct to question and get down the truth, not just blindly accept what we read on out screens.
Kobak, P. (2014, January 22). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.loyolaphoenix.com/open-letter-father-garanzini
Markiewicz, D. (2014, January 23). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://loyolamensbasketball.com/2014/01/23/an-open-letter-to-peter-kobak/
Rushkoff, D. (2010). Program or be programmed: Ten Commandments for a Digital Age.