With great power comes great responsibility

Being a communications and media student I tend to spend a fair bit of time online, whether it’s talking to friends on Facebook, browsing through Tumblr or navigating my way through Wikipedia (starting with puppies and ending in the 1896 Summer Olympics), but now I can finally blame my internet addiction on somebody other than myself, cyberspace.

Cyberspace is the quicksand of the internet world, it pulls you in and refuses to let go until all your free time is spent staring at a monitor, unable to pull away from the endless information and communication available right at your fingers tips.

However while saying this, just because something is online does not mean that it is not real or important. I know that without the internet and cyberspace I would be completely different to the way I am today, I would be oblivious to so many things in the world. I’ve grown up being sheltered from so many of the world’s issues and it’s only since I’ve been involved in an online community that I’ve truly started to understand important issues, such as racism. While this is a positive point for cyberspace I have also seen many horrible things, including the spreading of hate and prejudice, and in a massive network like the internet things are able to be shared and distributed at amazing speeds.

In Lessig’s ‘Four Puzzles From Cyberspacehe tells of story of a university student named Jake who is a quiet, average guy in the eye of the beholder but online he is a well known writer of violent and sexual stories. Even though to the majority of us stories of this nature disgust rather than intrigue, Jake was able to pick up a large fan base and his stories were in high demand. This is a prime example of how easily horrific things can travel through the internet ,and if it wasn’t for his network of followers maybe Jake would have quit writing before he was arrested and saved the internet from his horrible writings.

In conclusion there are always going to be positives and negatives when it comes to cyberspace, it all depends on how we decide to use the internet. With great power comes great responsibility.

 

Lessig, L 2006, ‘Four Puzzles From Cyberspace’, https://www.socialtext.net/codev2/four_puzzles_from_cyberspace

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2 thoughts on “With great power comes great responsibility

  1. edabbott

    That’s the great thing about the internet, self regulation. This allows somebody to see whatever they want, and if somebody doesn’t want to see something, they can simply close the browser.
    I like the point you made about there being an audience for something that would be frowned upon in real life. This means that there is no such thing as a minority on the internet. Even if a gay person lives in an isolated country town, with nobody to talk to who is like them, they simply have to log onto a chatroom and there are hundreds of other young, gay people there to talk to. These sorts of opportunities were unheard of 20 years ago, and it means that the children of today have the chance to grow up as unsheltered, cultured, understanding and well-informed people in a society where everything is readily available to everyone.

  2. Cyberspace definitely has its draw cards and downfalls. So many friendships and relationships flourish because of online media spaces, most of which we fail to recognise the power of. I know that in a world without cyberspace, many of my friendships would have fallen by the wayside or fail to exist at all. In the case of Jake, sure there are some horrible people and behaviours occurrent in cyberspace, but let’s not forget that they exist in the real world too.

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