Thursday, August 11, 2005

Using Technology Humanely

Thanks to James Kushiner at Mere Comments for making me aware of this article on "Technology and the Spirit of Human Ownership" by Paul J. Cella III in which the author offers the following caution about blogging and other forms of Internet discourse:
Technology can also obscure the humanity of the human beings we interact with. For example, the Internet is wonderfully efficient at distributing information and at democratizing the Fourth Estate, but it can also isolate and dehumanize. Anyone familiar with Internet debate understands this reality all too well. There is a sort of raucous and wooly community among the multitude of bloggers. It is always fascinating, frequently rewarding, and at times magnificent: a genuine innovation in free speech and republican discourse. But it is also conducive to meanness and slander. The ordinary inhibitions of human interaction, the natural respect and civility that should be extended between even those who disagree, is attenuated and at times almost nonexistent. The result is often a kind of disembodied aggression, a drab uncharity. People troll the Internet hunting for targets of animus on whom to unleash their polemical weapons. It is very easy on the Web to forget that you are actually in a distant way engaging real people. And in forgetting that, ferocity ensues. Blogging is spirited, but it often lends itself to rancor. At its best, it brings distant people with shared interests together in ways once unimaginable. At its worst, it reflects the radical isolation of technologically-inebriated creatures. In its glories and entangled perils it illustrates the truth that we must be mindful of all that is human behind our contrivances, lest they devour us.

3 comments:

YnottonY said...

Hi Keith,

This post prefectly describes the situation in the chat programs. Paul Cella has given a great warning here for "thinking Christians."

One of the other problems in the blogosphere, are spammers. It appears that your blog is suffering from the problem these days. Are you aware how to delete comments? It's a helpful feature ;-)

If deleting the comments is too time consuming for you at this time, you might provide your blogger password to someone you trust so that they can do it for you.

Thanks for the warning and thoughts in this post,
Tony

Joshua Sowin said...

I really enjoy most of the articles in the New Atlantis. I look forward to every issue! This article is no exception.

Tom said...

Ah, the depersonalization and false sincerity of spam. Gotta laugh at the cheesy appeals to pride. I'm waiting to see the spam that says:
"Really love your blog. I agree with EVERYTHING you say. Why not head over to my site and get a great price on our book 'Satanism in 666 Easy Steps'. I just KNOW you'll love it!"
Sigh...