Friday, 29 April 2011

Enjoying The Worldwide Element Of The Web

The Internet is kind of scary. The sheer scope and scale of it is incredible and though there are a lot of brilliant sides to the world wide web, it has it's flaws and the very freedom it grants people is often abused or misused.

My reason for writing this is that last night highlighted for me just how brilliant it can be. It was a bit of a weird night all in all; i couldn't focus on any one thing for the majority of the evening and kept chopping and changing what i was doing, but eventually i started writing, working on a fledgling idea for a new story, and somehow i managed to keep going until it was gone 3am. I'd had no intention to stay up so late but i've written so little creatively this year that when i am in a mood like i was last night i'm loathe to stop myself from writing more. Like i said though i ran out of steam a little after 3, but i still wasn't all that tired. It was then that i remembered something i'd seen on Twitter earlier that day but dismissed as impractical. Frank Turner was playing a gig in Brooklyn, New York yesterday evening and he'd posted a link on his twitter page where the entire gig would be streamed live from 3am onwards.

It may have been late but a chance to watch a Frank Turner gig live, even if on a computer screen rather than in person, isn't something i was going to miss out on. Here is the link to why i think the Internet is incredible; for two hours i sat watching a live video of a man playing a gig on the other side of the Atlantic, talking to other fans who were watching the gig via the stream and just enjoying this sense that distances were somehow made smaller by the web. The picture and sound quality was great to say it was a live stream and it made it all worth while staying up that late when i got to watch him perform one of my favourite songs of his - 'Smiling at strangers on trains'. I've never seen it performed live and, as someone who values live music pretty highly and Frank Turner equally so, it was a big deal for me.

The sense of being connected with people thousands of miles away was a more intense version of the feeling i get when i look on the statistics bit of this blog and see that it was read by people in Singapore, China and Indonesia. I'll never meet these people, i almost certainly have very little in common, yet on the far side of the world there are people who've read things i've written. It's a cool concept.

An extreme example of this inter-connectivity is the role the Internet has played in the so called 'Arab Spring'. Social networking sites have allowed oppressed communities to organise protests and mobilise people in a manner that the various "security" forces of the region simply weren't prepared for. It also allowed people to get their stories heard by the wider world even as governments desperately attempted to stifle the flow of news in and out of their countries. Though their problems are all very different and each situation is unique, the revolutionaries in different countries drew inspiration and practical advice from each other, for example Tunisian protesters advising their counterparts in other countries how to deal with tear gas. The Internet didn't cause these revolutions or even inspire them, the reasons for the unrest in the region goes back much longer and are much deeper than that, but it facilitated them, it offered citizens a weapon to fight back with against repressive governments.

The Internet's undoubtedly got it's flaws; it offers people anonymity to be crueller than they'd ever dare be in person, people feel free to insult and threaten other people from the safety of their computer keyboards, never having to face up to the consequences of their actions. Even the most cursory glance at the average YouTube video will show you that the old adage "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all" isn't really acknowledged online. The song 'Friday' by Rebecca Black is a terrible song, but the level of abuse thrown at this teenage girl by people who get some sort of kick out of writing the most horrible thing they can think of is just depressing.

I'd write more but one of the consequences of staying up past 5am watching a gig in America is that i'm extremely tired already this evening and i fear if i write any more i'll lose any sense of narrative flow or structure and it'll just become a complete ramble, rather than the traditional partially rambling nature of my blogs.

The song to finish this blog post is the Frank Turner song i mentioned earlier. That feeling of being so close to the answers, yet so far away, especially when it comes to girls, is one i'm more than a little familiar with and that is at least part of the reason i love the song. Plus it's just a good tune.

No comments:

Post a Comment