How the internet is connecting people – About Manchester – About Manchester

It is and always has been Facebook’s that helped to connect people. It connected people all around the world with each other, completely for free and without stealing anyone’s data. Luckily the internet isn’t just Mark Zuckerberg’s business empire (though a scarily large part is), meaning it also has good things to offer.
And of course, the idea that sites like Facebook and Twitter connect to an extent is true. People get to know many people across the world, especially through messenger platforms like Discord and Skype. It is however often the question, in what sense these connections are real. We meet many people online of which only few we actually get to know on a level that is more than superficial.
Another way of connecting people is through dating apps. Here the idea is that you get to know people on a deeper level than through a normal social media platform. There are many types, like an over 60s dating site, for over 60 dating and besides sites for over 60 dating there are many more, for example to filter on sexuality, or age. A more problematic type is the type that filters on the level of education. This might be to some extent rather dividing. It stems from the idea after all, that people of different levels of education would not be compatible and that people should remain within their own level and social class. In this way the internet can be both a place that makes for connection, but also a place that can offer the division that some people apparently look for.
Perhaps the best example of the internet dividing us instead of connecting, is the elections in the US of 2020. Here Facebook is said to have played a key role in influencing the thoughts of many voters. This is done through the complicated algorithms used on the site, which will try to get to know someone. They will measure someone’s interests and ideas and then show them content that matches with the ideas they have, therefore always reinforcing the beliefs someone already has and never showing a second side of a story. In this way people will enjoy Facebook more, because people don’t like their opinions to be contested and that way Facebook makes more money. It is these kinds of things that we have to be very careful with when sharing data. A fear that should not only be pointed towards companies, but also governments who might be wanting to abuse the power that can come with this.
Let’s not forget however, that there is also a good and very much connecting side of the internet. A side that gives for lifelong friendships and relationships. The internet is being used for many beautiful things, from music to pictures, a lot of great art is to be found online and without the internet the world would probably be a bit of a less beautiful place. But we should be careful to maintain this beautiful side and never let it get overshadowed by the dangerous developments that are now starting to come to us.

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