It’s All Your Fault!

Many people (mainly {exclusively} historians) claim that you must learn about the past in order to prepare for the future. In every required history class I have taken, and even the one I “elected” to take, there has been some common themes throughout time. One of the most prominent themes is that if something goes catastrophically wrong like someone ate a forbidden apple, or opened a box belonging to Pandora , or lost an election being completely more qualified than the competitor, the blame can 98% of the time be traced back to being a woman.

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Although women have been causing all of the worlds’ problem since (most literally) the beginning of time, a new contender is now entering the race! That’s right, people are starting to realize that women are not ALL to blame. Now if you are feeling unproductive, ignorant, or like the world is a terrible place; you do not need to blame the first woman you see! You can now shake it up and blame the internet and social media. Hooray!

In our most recent class, the idea of internet blaming was thrown around quite a bit. Many people were making the claims that if memes, Netflix, and internet nonsense did not exist we, as a community, could be living in a sort of Utopia. We could be living in a world without climate change and cancer, everyone would love each other and we would all be collective geniuses sharing our genius ideas with each other. As much as I would like to believe this to be true, I do not buy it for a second. I think the way people spend their time is more based on human behavior than on access to social media. Social media is a blank platform and people can add to it whatever (and I mean whatever) they would like.

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If people wanted to share different ways to cure cancer and not weird Ron Swanson memes, they would and they have! A study was conducted in India on the top ways in which people use the internet and social media. The results were astounding. Out of the mass of data collected not one of the ways listed has to do with killing time or nonsense. The people of India claimed that the internet enhances all aspects of daily life. The internet increases flow and productivity in business while also enabling the unemployed to apply to jobs and see what is available. The internet is a tool not a cause. No one blames a hammer for putting a nail in the wrong place.

Being unproductive is most certainly not a new trend. People have been trying to find ways to kill time since the beginning of time. Have you ever seen the crop circles in Kansas? The chances that those are created by UFO’s? Very unlikely. The chances it was a bad season and bored farmers wanted to pull a timeless and epic joke? Very likely. People most certainly do not NEED social media in order to create nonsense. Using the internet and social media as an IV for amusement just happens to be our generations’ preference.

Although, I have been very one sided throughout the majority of this blog I do have to agree that the way in which we use the internet can get out of hand. People have the ability and choice to use social media to communicate intellectual arguments and factoids, but more often than not people do not do either of those. When looking up the most retweeted tweets the number one spot went to “#nugsforcater.” This means thousands of people agreed that sharing a mans struggle to get free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s was more important than, pretty much, anything else.

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I do happen to find this particular situation extreme, but also hilarious. I think this is another important aspect of social media we should take into account. Social media provides people with laughter and entertainment. Entertainment is the sole purpose that sports stars and actors make so much money. People love to enjoy and commiserate with others. This transition of entertainment source can be seen through the Instagrammers that are getting paid and sponsored to promote products.

In conclusion, much like the strong powerful women of our past, the internet will have to prove itself worthy, time and time again. There may be a lot of activities and content on the internet that many people are not proud of, but like the intellectual of our time Hannah Montana (spoiler alert: Hannah Montana=Miley Cyrus) once sang: “Nobody’s perfect, you live and you learn it.”

4 comments

  1. I think, generally speaking, the internet really has done more good than bad. I think what a lot of people would point to is sort of a sedentary lifestyle that comes with browsing social media and the internet. I tend to lean that way. But you do bring up a good point, every generation has their version of a time waster. It was video games when I was growing up. TV before that. Maybe the internet is so highlighted now is because of it’s usage rate. You could get away with not playing video games or watching TV, but you can’t avoid using the internet and what comes with it.

  2. Wasting time might be a cultural thing. We are so well off in America that we pretty high on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. So we don’t need to spend time to hunt for food, or find shelter for the night. I think that this lends us to spending time in areas that are less productive. It becomes a trade off. Obviously you need to release steam, and wasting time on the internet is a good way to do that, but we need to have self discipline to focus on the task at hand. If you value you wasting time more then a project, then you will end up on facebook more than you should. Its left to self decision and the culture that prevails.

  3. I always find it fascinating how differently the internet is used in developing countries vs developed countries. As you said, in India not a single person said they used the internet as a form for procrastination; while in the US procrastination is arguably our biggest use of the internet. How we utilize the internet depends on our circumstances, and if we are well off it would make sense that our usage of internet is not to dramatically benefiting our society. However, at least we are creating and sharing as well as consuming, so I would agree with Clay Shirky that its a pretty good way to spend our cognitive surplus.

  4. One example of using the internet as a form of entertainment for me is usually when I have an assignment and want to procrastinate. It is unfortunately so easy to sit in front of your phone or computer for hours on end just browsing around. I have found that while I was working, it definitely made me more unproductive. I deleted my G-Chat because I found that I was spending too much time talking to friends rather than working.

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