You probably think that the Internet has become a boring, repetitive, bleak landscape that is poisoning your mind. The only thing it is good for now is for conspiracy theorists to have a place where they can plant their seeds for future sheep to follow. If it is not about that then it seems to be 24/7 COVID. The Internet is just not useful anymore!
Hogwash, it’s what you look at that makes the Internet what it is.
Now I don’t say that everything you look at is of your own choosing, but it likely started out that way. Every time you click “Allow” someone puts a cookie on your computer to get more of the same. Thanks to folks like Google, who sell what you click to others, you are often bombarded with much of the same. Remember that “Terms of Service” agreement you automatically clicked to get an app, or when signing up for a social media account? If you actually read that agreement, and I don’t image there is a person on earth who actually has, you agreed to be fodder for annoying things to appear on your Internet browser screen today.
There are so many “news sources” out there that do nothing but seek hits, so they can make more money. Truth is irrelevant to them. The more clicks they get the more they make. They are not concerned about truth, they only want your click. Ironically, the search engines just can’t seem to tell you anything about the sources they point you to.
Sadly many of the more reputable source of information are metering their users to a very limited number of free articles per month making it harder to obtain information that stands a chance of expressing an alternative viewpoint. To read those sites you gotta pay up front. But, isn’t the information you use to make daily decisions on just about everything worth it?
My major source of daily information comes from the New York Times. Yes, I pay $4/month for that feed. NYT is one of the few places where I feel I can get some good old-fashioned, unbiased, fact base, double-checked, in-depth news. They diligently parse though what they carry to determine its truthfulness. Are they perfect? Of course not, but they at least try.
I also pay a $5/month subscription to “The Medium” website. I have been using them for a couple of years now to glean information about some of the topics I have interests in. These include: hearing loss, autism, psychology, history, and several others.
These organizations have many people who give us what we need to know. They need to be paid for their talents. They can’t work for free, any more than you can. Support them and be vigilant in where you get your news, and you will discover that the Internet is what you make it to be. I can’t imagine I would ever go back to the dusty card files in the local library to get what I need about today’s world.
3 thoughts on “Making The Internet Great Again…”
I rarely use my phone for internet access as the screen is too small for comfort. On the rare occasions I do, I always use anonymous/private mode so that no history of my internet access is available. The few apps I have installed are checked for what access might be granted, and frequently I do compromise by choosing apps with restricted access over apps with more bells and whistles.
The browser on my desktop macine (linux – I abandoned Windows in 2008) has third party cookies blocked and I make a practice of (a) using a variety of search engines (Bing, Google, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Yahoo!, Yandex), and (b) periodically using anonymous/private mode and a VPN to compare results.
I’m also mindful that many news sources have their own agendas so I gather widely – most of a liberal bent, but include other sources such as Al Jazeera, Fox, BBC, Stuff (a NZ source), and many others.
The problem with many news sources is that they recognise your interests from your viewing history. My prefered browser is Vivaldi, but I also use others such as Firefox and Opera. These I have left in their default settings, and have experimented by using each of them as if I had a different persona. For example I currently use Firefox when following up on alt-right and conspiracy ideas. Sure enough, search engines and especially social media tend to feed more “information” supporting such ideas than opposing ideas, and over time become even more biased. The algorithms used really do reinforce confirmation bias. It seems to me that the algorithms themselves are as much or perhaps more dangerous that those who hold fringe ideas/beliefs.
I don’t use paid subscriptions as the cost of subscribing to a wide range would be prohibitive, but I make a point of disabling ad blocking on sources/sites I trust.
It sounds like you are well-prepared, Barry. The internet can be a very useful place if you navigate it properly.
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One result of my vigilance is that I have been forced to acknowledge my own biases, and recognise that my own value system and beliefs are no more true than any other. I am the way I am due to circumstances such as the society and era I live in, personal experiences and personality characteristics I was born with.
I try hard, although not always successfully, to avoid thinking of those who hold opposing views and values as being ignorant or idiots.