The Blessings and Pitfalls of the Internet: Day 3 of 31 Days of Posting

Back in the early days of  "American Online" and using Netscape to travel the World Wide Web, I was thrilled to be able to make contact with other people interested in topics I enjoyed. When my oldest son was diagnosed with autism, those early connections with other parents of children with autism were so helpful. A lifeline really. Back then, the only books in the library about autism were really old. The latest research about how to help children with autism was online. Some of it was and is problematic. I won't go there, because it's not the point.

The point is, the internet afforded people interested in various topics to come together in a wonderful way. Not long ago I found my old "tomato files" from 1995. I was in a group on AOL called The Tomatoheads. We had a great time. I was in songwriting and worship leading groups as well. I am still friends with two people from those groups.  I've made some deep friendships from connections with other artists. What a blessing that has been!

But the same opportunity for positive gatherings of likeminded people can devolve into groupthink.  People say things they would never think to say to someone in person because of the anonymity factor. And perhaps people do things they would never think to do on their own.

A recent study showed that disinformation campaigns and internet bots stirred up controversy about the movie The Last Jedi online!  I kid you not:

Vetting what we read and  analyzing it is so important. Just because there are words on a picture doesn't make it true. Sometimes a little truth is mixed in with a lie. We need to be careful about that. Here is a good program on NPR about combatting disinformation.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden