Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Virtues of Facebook

Ah yes, the Internet. We have the world at our fingertips and yet we just use it to watch stupid cat videos. 

For many of us, this cynical sentiment pervades the edges of our consciousness whenever we log onto Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or any number of social sites. This is such a waste of time! What am I doing with my life?! I've had these thoughts and many others just as pathetic. Several times in the past I've resolved to solve my problems and stop wasting my time by minimizing my time on social sites. Just take a Facebook fast! That'll do it, right?

Wrong! The truth is, we can just as easily waste time off the Internet as on it. If we're not on Facebook, we might be watching infomercials. Or eating donuts. Or throwing spitballs at the ceiling. Or wasting away on the sofa. Or all the above. All useless activities. But we could also choose to spend our time reading a good book, learning calculus, or taking a hike. It doesn't take rocket science to be able to distinguish between a good and a bad use of our time.

The same is true for the Internet, even social sites like Facebook. In fact, you might even argue that it's especially true for social sites. How, you ask?

Think about it. For the first time in the history of the world, we have the ability to connect with people on the other side of the world with the click of a button. Anybody can put something on the Internet. Hundreds, thousands, or millions of people can read, watch, or listen to something some random individual put online without even leaving the comfort of his or her own home.

And guess what? That individual could be you.

Anyone nowadays can be a writer, filmmaker, artist, you name it, without money or connections. That's the beauty and power of the Internet.

Of course, it can be destructive. If anyone can be a writer, filmmaker, or artist, then anyone will. We can't trust that just because something is out there for us to read or view means that it's valuable. There are plenty of duds. But there are also a lot of talented people who might have otherwise been overlooked.

So yes, you can spend hours wasting away playing Farmville or watching Charlie the Unicorn videos (shudder). But you can also use the Internet to your advantage.

Why all this sudden affinity for the Internet? Well, I didn't pull all this out of thin air as a justification for Facebooking. I'm taking an English class right now that is totally changing my paradigm toward the Internet. My teacher is having each of us students create a blog and update it frequently, use Google+, and he's encouraging us to also use Twitter and other social sites. Through this course, I'm learning to be digitally literate.

I'd like to invite all of you to visit the blog I've created in order to follow my progress toward digital literacy: A Ghost-Ship Setting Sail. On this blog, I'll be sharing more of my discoveries about digital literacy as well as literature and other related (or possibly unrelated) topics. Hopefully though, that blog will also inspire me to write more on this blog. (As you can see, it already has!) I mean, let's face it, this is still the place where I feel most free to share useless opinions about random topics. How can I let that go?

1 comment:

  1. Cat videos are not stupid! They're adorable!