Oh No! It’s the Internet!

Here in the U.S., we’re about to celebrate my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.  It’s a holiday all about good food and spending time with good friends, and… that’s basically it.  And that’s why I love it.  No need to agonize over finding just the right gift, or anything like that.  Just relax and enjoy being human.

This year, I am most thankful for the Internet.  Now you might be thinking how could anyone be thankful for the Internet?  There’s so much online harassment going on.  Political disinformation campaigns are plentiful.  People are being cheated and scammed, and faceless corporations are collecting personal data on each and every one of us.

Yes, the Internet can be a scary place.  Without a doubt, some bad things have happened to me online, and I know far worse things have happened to other people.  But as a wise woman once told me: nothing good in life comes without risk or without sacrifice.  And at least in my personal experience, the good stuff on the Internet far outweighs the bad.

The Internet has fed my passion for writing and art.  It’s fed my passion for science and space exploration.  It’s given me access to so many resources, and I’ve read so much original research (unfiltered by the popular press) thanks to the Internet.  I’ve learned so much, and I’ve been exposed to perspectives and worldviews that I, as someone living in one specific region of the United States, never would have encountered otherwise.  And the Internet has left me with an awareness that, despite all this knowledge I’ve gained, I still have so much more to learn.

And most importantly of all, I’ve made new friends here on the Internet.  I may not have met you in person, but I love you all the same!  I know some people would take a dim view of me for claiming my online friends count as “real” friends, but it’s true.  I really do consider many of you to be good friends.  For that, I am very thankful.

Okay wait… do I really want to share that in a blog post…?

9 thoughts on “Oh No! It’s the Internet!

  1. I’m with you on seeing the internet as an overall positive thing. The access to knowledge is something I would have given a lot to have as a teenager, when I had to make due with whatever local bookstores and libraries stocked. (The selection of which was heavily influenced by the socially conservative politics of where I live.)

    I even see social networks like Twitter as net positive. It all comes down to who you follow and interact with. The internet allows me to find people with similar interests, no matter how arcane, and have conversations about it. I now regularly have conversations with friends on in other regions and continents, something that would have been unimaginable when I was a boy.

    That’s not to say there isn’t a dark side. There are a lot of trolls who only seem interested in causing trouble. They’re best ignored, or blocked if they persist. And the various outrage bandwagons that form too often come down on people who don’t deserve it. Those are also best ignored.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I decided a few years back that there are far better ways to support the political causes I care about than getting into arguments with people online. I’ve been much happier since then. At least with Twitter and WordPress. Facebook is really testing my patience, though.

      I think you just have to decide for yourself what you do or do not want to participate in online. Otherwise it’s easy to get sucked into the nonsense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was a brave of you to say you are ‘thankful for the Internet’. Although the internet has fractured society into conflicting subcultures, there is little doubt that it has given many creative and productive, like-minded thinkers an on-line community. I can only hope that the thoughtful and progressive writers will contribute more to the collective consciousness of our world society moving it in an informed and constructive direction. Your science writing is among these positive forces. Now where will we have our party?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Internet definitely has its problems, and it would be reckless to ignore that. But overall, I do believe the good outweighs the bad.

      That’s really kind of you to say my science writing is one of the positive forces on the Internet. I worry a lot about that, because I know I’ve made mistakes on this blog, and I hate thinking that I might be spreading any sort of misinformation. But I’m trying my best.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, can’t say I’m a Facebook fan. My blog posts to an FB page for people who want to follow me that way, but I do very little interaction there. Most of the comments I get from it are adversarial and not very thoughtful.

        When it comes to politics, I’ve reached the point where I rarely engage with it anymore. It does mean I ignore a lot of what comes through my Twitter timeline.

        Liked by 1 person

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