The Personal Impact of the Web

Friday, August 05, 2011


(Aaron Epstein/WNYC)

This week OTM brings you our first ever live show - a look at the internet and how it's changing us. First up, what is the net doing to us as individuals? Does it connect us to each other? Or does it degrade our real life social connections? Bob and Brooke hash it out, with help from psychologist Sherry Turkle and net researcher Lee Rainie.

Comments [10]

J'quan Freeman from SE Raleigh

I agree with saying that the internet is tasking over. The internet is used to do everything. We use the to find job, find info, and look for friends. The internet is not always used for negative reason though. Its there for any and everyone.

Aug. 19 2011 08:22 AM
Dynasty Winters

Personally, whether we like it or not the internet is taking over. Its one of the main things people involve themselves with. When applying for a job, you use the internet, when you're looking for an old classmate, you use the internet, when doing research for a project, you use the internet. Although, some people think the internet has made a negative impact on us as individuals, if we didn't have the internet, they still would complain. The internet didn't affect us negatively, the people on the internet did... this is a huge difference. What you choose to use the internet for is your choice, but you can't say that the internet as a whole is a "negative".

Aug. 18 2011 08:22 AM
Alexa from Philadelphia

Seriously, no mention of the fact pre-show or on the website that it's a re-broadcast? I remember it from earlier this year too.

Aug. 14 2011 11:03 PM

I think that we are relying on the internet and taking the internet for granted. The internet is good, and bad. I use the computer every day for research or just for fun. I do most of my classwork/homework on the computer. All these social networks are making the internet bad for everyone. They are all distractions and a way for people to cyber bully. I think that the internet was a very good invention, but there are always downfalls to inventions.

Aug. 12 2011 08:09 AM
Arianna Allen from Raleigh, NC

I think that the internet has corrupted us, as individuals. It has corrupted us because I know that me being a teenager will go for the internet about everything. If I have an assignment, then I always type it in to and a whole bunch of information and things come up for me to complete my assignment. At my high school, we have a program called Project Based Learning. In this program, students are able to type up their notes and download assignments from the teacher's website. Also, with social networking, it has corrupted students per say because it becomes a huge distraction. The internet has both helped us and destructed us all in the same way.

Aug. 11 2011 08:26 AM
Gabe from Chicago

For Chris from Westbrook, Maine (and others I suppose):

I remember this episode vaguely as well. Turns out it's originally(?) from February of this year. Here's the archival link:

Aug. 10 2011 07:59 PM

This summer internet has changed my life for the better! I decided to learn a new language and found an online website that allows you to practice speaking with native speakers. In addition to learning two languages, I now have many acquaintances and 3 dear friends from all over the world. Skpye allows us to see each other's homes, to really get to know what life is like in our respective countries. Getting to know these people has challenged many of my preconceived notions. One of my friends is from a middle eastern country that our government is not too fond of. It has been so enlightening to discover that the populace of his country wants what we want...democracy, peace, economic stability. I think that if we use the internet to develop relationships, we will all be more reluctant to go to war! When you have met someone's family, seen their home, shared dreams and don't want anything to harm them....

Aug. 07 2011 10:29 AM
john walter from western Massachusetts

The internet is not working alone in destroying our attention spans and our ability to think. Software like powerpoint has contributed to this destruction by creating a culture of bullet points. There is no actual thought any longer, only points. The concept of long ideas embedded and brought to life within long sentences has been lost to us. This marks the end of true understanding.

Aug. 07 2011 10:28 AM
Chris from Westbrook, Maine

When was this recorded?

Aug. 06 2011 12:13 PM
Phil Henshaw from way uptown

Your ideas about how the internet is changing us are insightful and entertaining as always, but honestly, you're missing the physics of it. The "internet generation" somewhat corresponds to the "productivity people", the driving force of economic activity and growth around the world, and the internet is a major productivity tool, allowing us to control more and more with less and less awareness of it.

If your productivity goes up 10%, as may be expected or demanded by your employers, the certainty is that both the complexity and scale of your influence the world at a distance from you increases by 10% too. Productivity is real control of real stuff. It is a measure of your engagement (entanglement) with the real complexity of the natural world, as it is. The less we know about that, the more unsupported theory we need to rely on. There's a real dark side to that, that we can see vivid evidence of in our social distension over the issues today.

As we engage ever more intensely within our social networks, our social consensus realities become ever more detached from the real world they affect and are affected by. So,... our society becomes a prisoner of the social realities people invent for themselves, based only on agreement with their own cultural values.

It means that as complex societies go into their "information age" at the peak of their development, their cultural decision making processes become physically detached from reality, and from the decisions that they make. The scientific meaning is to give you a better way to raise questions. It’s a well founded "model idea", a hypothesis generator, to be used for raising better questions about the real observations one can make.

That our society evidently has an extreme problem with clinging to false ideas, at a time when nature is strongly urging us to change, is rather undeniable though.

Aug. 06 2011 07:57 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.