“Has the Internet changed society and culture for better or for worse?”

That’s the question being asked on tomorrow’s You and Yours on BBC Radio 4. I’ll be on with Andrew Keen (truth has lost its lustre, here’s a previous run in with Emily Bell of the Guardian, and one from me) for a one hour phone programme at the merits and demerits of our increasingly ‘Interneted’ society. What does it let us do now that we couldn’t before? And what are its negative effects: ie, what’s on the dark side? Let us have your thoughts, and I’ll try to feed some of them in. The programme starts just after the 12 o’clock news!


  • Pete Baker

    For what it’s worth, Mick, here were/are my thoughts from last year

    How the internet can [still] change the world

  • slug

    “What does it let us do now that we couldn’t before? And what are its negative effects: ie, what’s on the dark side?”

    Brian Feeney? I had never read him before the internet.

  • confused

    Too soon to say one way or another.
    It certainly is very exciting and probably has more potential to do good than the opposite .
    Regulation is necessary though how this is done is a huge question and difficult with the world wide web.

  • Pounder

    The good is obvious for all here to see, perticularially here on Slugger. People of vastly differing views can debate and actually interact with people they normally wouldn’t.

    On the other hand there is a very dark side to the internet. In a recent FHM article Grub Smith hit upon it. The internet basically gives you exposure to a lot of things you normally wouldn’t see, from scat porn on up and this makes society increasingly jaded and unshockable.

  • the same kind of victimisation and persecution of certain people and their views happens on the Net, as it happens in society. There is yet no real protection on-line. So the mirror is somewhat cracked.

  • New Yorker

    On balance the internet has brought much more good than bad. Consider the educational and cultural riches it brings to more of the world’s population. Consider VOIP (voice over internet) and nearly free communications worldwide. Digital records of all kinds available anywhere. The good does not come without some bad, however, there are violent and deranged people who utilize the internet for their own harmful purposes, terrorists and sexual perverts for example.

    Any artist, who is really an artist, is not driven by economic gain: That’s just one problem with Keen’s observations. Another problem he did not answer, and Emily raised it, is that the “gatekeepers” are increasingly beholden to advertisers and other paymasters. Of course one has to exercise good judgment when sifting through vastly more offerings than we used to have. But good judgment was always a component of successful living.

  • D’Oracle

    I’m with New Yorker – so far, its more good than bad grosso modo ; -more real diversity of views.

    For now the people -the bloggers, are ahead but there are a lot of variables involved that could go -if not stay- negative

    Will representative democracies be able to handle diversities of view ; the jury is still out. Maybe we’ll evolve to more direct models?

    Will the corporate media people succeed in re-asserting ‘normal’ control through the net or will they get more behind closing it down if they cant. Its use by perverts and terrorists gives the nets enemies disingenuous grounds for curtailed access arguments (of the cat has four legs , the dog has four legs therefore the cat is a dog variety.

  • Millions of us have ready access to new people and new ideas. So if we’re good then the net is for good.

  • Alan

    Search engines impeding access to information for people in China is an inexcusable development.

    Also the apparent ease with which personal email addresses become available on the web. The Nigerian requests for assistance in laundering money have now become Chinese ones ! They must be selling the lists.

  • mnob

    Just consider this – the car is still changing the way we live today – 100 years after its introduction (look at the boon of out of town retail developments). The internet is still a baby.

  • Connected article in the Tele this evening; main danger of the internet- civil servants finding a meaningful purpose in life?

    I wonder if Slugger will see a downturn in volumne or (*ahem*) quality of comments because of this directive?