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041 Classical Argument Essay February 10, 2004 Since the introduction of the Internet, the simultaneous easy access to the world and every day occurrences, and the removal from these very same happenings, has disenfranchised society of today Ah the Internet, one of the most prestigious inventions of our time; an entrance ramp to the new information superhighway. A work of art meticulously sculpted to the needs of society; the ultimate expansion of the mind. With the Internet, the possibilities are endless. A person can do anything from checking the latest news and stock quotes, to buying a car or even get married! The Internet creates a whole new world, expanding the capabilities of its’ users. Yet with all its magnificence it devours the minds of its captives and exiles those who abandon it. The Internet originally began with only two people as a means of sending files back and forth from one machine to another. Soon after the USSR launched Sputnik, the first satellite, ideas began to spark rapidly (Zakon). At MIT, ideas of social communication through large networks began to develop. Soon after, the idea of “time-sharing” was developed; where two computers could be directly connected via a phone line. The idea of linking computers together to create “networks” quickly spread to universities throughout the nation (Zakon). By the mid 1970s, nearly every major university from Hawaii to London was hooked on one of the first networks. Email sparked great interest in nearly seventy-five percent of all users. Ten years later, Symbolics.com became the first “website” followed by nearly every university in the
Stoll nation. Finally, in 1991 the World Wide Web (WWW) was created to allow a more organized national “web” of users (Zakon). For years the population of the Internet has grown exponentially. Eventually major corporations, banks, and schools took full advantage of this Internet expanding the abilities of its’ users. As the home to over 170 million hosts, the Internet serves thousands of countries with over twenty-billion users (Zakon). Since the introduction of the Internet, the simultaneous easy access to the world and every day occurrences, and the removal from these very same happenings, has served to integrate and disenfranchise society of today. Anyone who uses the Internet as their source for news, whether it is of local or world in scope, has a choice as to what they view. The media of fifteen years ago was presented in half-hour or hour segments on ABC, NBC, or CBS. Then, whatever the station chose to cover is what the viewer was subjected to; today, this is simply not the case. A person who receives their news through the Internet does not have to click and view every headline offered by a News media’s website. By this convenience, or ability, a person chooses the news only that they are interested in and becomes removed from the occurrences outside their interest. By this argument, a person has become disenfranchised from society if they use the Internet. Those who do not use the Internet for their media source are subjected to a broader news in spectrum when watch TV for this purpose. Another great aspect of the Internet is e-mail. Instead of a costly long-distance phone call, why not write and send a relatively free e-mail? It can be competently argued that inflection, tone, mannerisms, and a friendly voice are a fundamental part of a working society. Remove these by e-mail, and a person is distancing themselves from the identity of speech. For the people who do not have Internet access that need to contact someone, and make a phone call to do so, can be said are more greatly incorporated in today’s society.
Stoll Buying online is a booming trend. Who has Internet access and has not heard of Amazon.com? It’s as easy as one, two, three. First a buyer wants an item, then he or she searches for it online, and third they enter credit card and shipping information and they have bought it. Soon the days of driving outside in inclement weather to walk around a store all afternoon looking for an item that is not even there will be long gone. Given another ten or fifteen years and the majority of people may be doing their grocery shopping online. Is the interaction of people, by sight, sound, transaction from one to another part of society? That sounds like a fairly summary definition of society. And so for the people who still tediously take all their time to drive to their local Wal-Mart and peruse the clothes stands and house-ware isles, good for them for keeping abreast of society. And yet, can it not be most poignantly argued that the Internet is today’s society? That to write emails, check news online, buy everyone’s Christmas present online is today’s society? That our time and efforts should be best spent at work and with friends and family and not the routine, meticulous tasks of every-day living? Those who use the Internet have substituted much of their interaction with other people for the speed and comfort of the Internet. The stigmata of geeks who sit all day behind their computer browsing the Internet and playing online games is fading with every new mom and dad, child and grandparent that sign online. Using the Internet is socializing. Take chat rooms for example. In chat rooms people of all races, age, sex, income, and every other divider of class can come together and share ideas, views, and a friendly “hello.” Is this not the very epitome of socializing? Yes, the Internet separates people from society on one hand, but the other hand is bringing people together. There are websites for people of similar interests, where they can come together and be heard and accepted. However, if you remove these possibilities from a person it will only further them from this new form of society.
Stoll Over the years, the Internet has become a very powerful tool. Its mere convenience has expanded the economy to new horizons. Thousands of jobs have opened up to this new market. Small businesses now have the ability to expand to new locations to better compete against the large corporations that have run the country for so long. The Internet itself has created a society of its own; a society that has sparked a dangerous evolution of our time. The danger lies with the mere choice of its’ acceptance. There are many people today who are still not connected to the Internet. Of these very people, a majority of them are minorities and or those with little to no income. The choice of ignoring the Internet has created a gap in two distinctive societies. Those who remain connected and controlled by the constant movement of the Internet further distance themselves from physical interaction with the world. Those who refuse to join the Internet become attached to television and the society that it projects to them. At the moment the Internet most certainly disenfranchises society and the people who abandon it. However, a middle ground between true society and the conveniences of the Internet are soon to come. Only with the help of its’ members will this middle ground society ever form.
Stoll Works Cited Zakon, Robert Hobbes. Hobbes Internet Timeline v.7.0. 2004. 4 Feb. 2004 <http://www.zakon.org/robert/Internet/timeline/>.