Random Thought

Forgive me if somebody has already said something like this, but is it possible that the Web has made it harder for others to lie to us and easier for us to lie to ourselves?

I’m thinking of how, on the one hand, governments and corporations are having trouble suppressing all kinds of unflattering info (yes, even in China), while fringe groups with extreme beliefs are able to erect comfy feedback-loop houses for others of their kind to dwell in and congratulate each other for being right.

In other news, anyone who disagrees with yesterday’s post about being open to criticism is just jealous of my shoes.

Discussion (12)¬

  1. Chris M. says:

    Those are nice shoes.

  2. Lou Manglass says:

    I’d say, yes and no. The Internet democratizes access, so it makes it easier to put dirt on someone out there. With some exceptions (The Great Firewall comes to mind) it also limits spatial concerns, so with the right context anyone anywhere can get access to the information. In that sense, yeah, it becomes harder to lie to each other.

    But in another sense, your thought about making it easier to lie to one’s own community can expand to the community at large. With such ready, inexpensive access it is easy to make up credentials to back up claims. So far, it seems the Internet community has been quick to discover many, but how many cases have gone on undiscovered? And even if they have been discovered, how much damage has been done until that point? Phishers come to mind as portraying valid credentials and lying to more people more effectively than ever before.

    It’s an intriguing thought, and I think my mind has been hijacked for the rest of the day. Also, your shoes are nice, but I already have a pair.

  3. Jessi says:

    Haha its like in Pictures for Sad Children
    “The internet is where awful people meet”
    Still, I’d rather have people all bloated with glee online than in real life.
    I also feel i benifit from the coziness, i have a sweet community of fellow comicers around me who offer me encouragement and constructive critism in equal measure

  4. Joey says:

    This seems like one of those impossibly esoteric concepts that cannot really be understood. It seems the anonymous face of the internet is the far uglier underbelly of humanity, cellulite and all.

    In that light I think that it is possible to see the truer side of humanity in a general way, But even the act of typing out a blog entry is a falsehood when compared to raw speech. I think that’s why its shocking to hear about politicians flagrant tweets but certainly as you say, there’s an honesty there that can’t be obscured or edited with even a dozen PR agents. It’s just too damn spontaneous and instant.

    Also, Kanye West is kind of a Jack Ass.

  5. Emi says:

    While the internet has fostered larger communities of otherwise lone extremists, I think that’s just the hit we have to take in order to have something capable of fostering strong communities of other small social groups. I enjoy having a a comfy feedback-loop house of artists and comic appreciators at my fingertips, so I guess wouldn’t really have it any other way… as uncomfortable as that makes me sometimes.

    Also, regarding yesterday’s post – I agree that even bad criticism tells us something and should not be written off, but as an artist sometimes it’s hard to separate criticism of your work with criticism of yourself. I think the biggest problem is our insecurities, it’s hard not to take it personally even when you know you shouldn’t.

    Oh, and those shoes are SO last season.

  6. ferbie says:

    your shoes don’t fit me = i don want em

  7. Darkflame says:

    Its a multiplayer.
    If your the type that seeks knowledge from diverse sources, and builds a picture of the world from that, then it gives you huuuugggeee power to get a more clear, true, unbias image.

    If however, your closed-off and stick with your own groups, the feedback indeed can make you more resilent to other views outside that group. Worse, your views become entrenched as your constantly reassured your correct.

    In true, we are all probably a mix of the two.
    But on the whole, I think the first wins out.
    Curiousity is naturaly human, so the more information thats there, the more we learn.

    This is one of the reasons, incidentaly, why I think newsites like google news is a great thing. People see from more sources *by default*. Its a shame media is so resistant to them, and wants people locked-into their own sites. (its understandable, given they need those eyeballs to pay for themselfs at the moment though)

  8. Hell, Scott. You don’t need to be a fringe group to have the “comfy feedback-loop houses for others of their kind to dwell in and congratulate each other for being right.” phenomenon pop up.

    Any collection of fans who can freely interact with their favorite creator will give you that.

    And I appreciate how careful you always are to avoid it. 😀

  9. Mike Leung says:

    re: circling the wagons online: where there is no panic, there is no con.

  10. Vainamoinen says:

    I’m not sure if “two sides” could actually be identified. For example, even the faintest idea of conspiracy whenever, wherever, by whomever is very readily discussed and bolstered in the internet. This might help if there’s an actual conspiracy – in most cases, however, the feedback-loop creates an ennervingly empty carrousel of arguments with false presuppositions and faulty logic.

  11. Nat Gertler says:

    It is categorically impossible for me to be jealous of your shoes, McCloud. You know why.