Has the Internet changed our core values?

If you've been following this blog, you might remember that I'm a self-professed sufferer of a, erm, disorder I've come to call, privacy paranoia.Becoming a blogger, getting on Facebook and letting people other than my friends be able to contact me via mobile and IM, meant I had to give up some of the privacy I've always guarded closely.

If you've been following this blog, you might remember that I'm a self-professed sufferer of a, erm, disorder I've come to call, privacy paranoia.

Becoming a blogger, getting on Facebook and letting people other than my friends be able to contact me via mobile and IM, meant I had to give up some of the privacy I've always guarded closely.

But, I've accepted this as necessary in my work as a tech journalist and gradually learnt to live with it. In fact, I've become so good at living with it that I'm starting to view some things in a different light--and that has got me somewhat concerned.

Anyone who's on my Friends list in Facebook--personal friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or otherwise--won't know who else is on the list, and can't view each other's details. It's a way of safeguarding my privacy, as well as those on the list.

But, just recently, I asked myself why I had perceived this to be so important. So what if my industry contacts know the names of people I hang out with in my personal time, and so what if my colleagues know who are my friends' friends.

To some, this may seem like a trivial change in viewpoint, but it's a complete 180-degree turn for someone who used to be horrified at the possibility of those very same thoughts becoming a reality.

When we look at the insanely rapid pace at which the Internet has evolved in the past decade, I think many of us just didn't--and probably still don't--have the chance to sit down and really reflect on how the changes would impact our life.

Over the years, as we become more accustomed and adapted to the way things work in a post-Internet era, it's very easy to get caught up in the various waves of transformation and forget values we may once hold dear.

In her post this week, fellow ZDNet Asia blogger Swati Prasad, discussed the changes that have swept across India's media scene, which now appears to value pure sensationalism over hard news in order to grab more eyeballs and hence, sell more ad revenue.

While I don't condone such forms of journalism, I understand why some media entities might have felt the desperate need to do so in order to compete with a new challenge that emerged with the Internet evolution--24x7 bloggers who seem to suffer from a severe case of insomnia.

I think that's just one critical example of how the Internet revolution has so stealthily forced us to abandon core values--and to an extent, ethics--that may have once guided us.

Of course, not all changes are bad, and I doubt if any of us would really want to retreat and return into a pre-Internet era.

But perhaps, it would do some of us some good if we all took some time every once a while, to step away from the Web-induced mayhem and think about whether we still like what we've become.

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