World Wide Web
Recent years have shown how the advent and societal incorporation of the Internet introduced a slew of unique problems impossible to have forecasted prior. Identity theft, phone addiction, data leaks, echo chambers, and even the empowerment of dictatorial government control over citizenry (see Myanmar).
This is only to name a few.
It’s easy to harp on headliners – and they deserve attention – but it’s important not to forget the benefits which also manifested from our World Wide Web.
Like everything else in this universe, the Internet is nuanced.
Here I’m going to argue for what I believe is the most powerful and poetic gift of the Internet. One that, perhaps, forgives its inherent shortcomings. It is an extraordinary gift of which the Internet is the only universal bearer.
It is the gift of opportunity.
I was a stubbornly shy kid – and in some ways still am. From the get-go I was infatuated with the arts, yet resisted guitar lessons, acting classes, writing courses, and so on out of a “I’ll learn it myself” false confidence and a fear of asking for help. It is likely I would have wavered out of my deepest passions if it weren’t for a recently developed tool at my disposal…
You guessed it, the Internet.
Guitar tabs, YouTube tutorials, infinite collections of fiction, philosophical inquiries, these were all essential building blocks to who I am today. And none of them would have entered my life without the Internet. More recently, I’ve discovered how powerful a tool the Internet is for chasing dreams…even if starting from scratch.
All this, of course, pertains to immaturely stubborn and highly privileged little Kory of California. But the beauty of the Internet is its ability to expand vast distances with comparatively little infrastructure and cost. In fact, everyday more and more communities across the world are receiving their first access to the World Wide Web.
Economic advantages of the Internet beside, think about the enormous power this brings to people. An almost limitless wealth of knowledge spread to every corner of the globe. The ability to discover and chase what interests you, to dedicate yourself to your passions.
Of course, not everyone will have the social circumstance, economic stability, or drive to harness the Internet in pursuit of their dreams. But for millions every year, the opportunity becomes available.
That is a thing of beauty all itself.
The Internet has caused damage. It will cause more. But the opportunistic power it provides cannot be ignored. It levels the playing field, giving so many a chance to better themselves, their communities, and – in turn – the world.