Saturday, April 24, 2010

From warm fuzzy to frightening - the Internet experience

I had actually intended to write a warm, fuzzy piece today talking about the wonder of the Internet and how the social media are evolving into a new kind of community that replaces the traditional form. The Townie Bastard blogger got me thinking about it with some of his reflections yesterday about the Facebook phenomena; others have said much the same thing. So, I was going to reflect on the wonderful diversity in the blogosphere and how rich is the content on the blogs which belong to Stephen Eli Harris' Newfoundland Blog Roll. Then, I read this story about death threats being made against British Columbia Member of Parliament Ujjal Dosanjh and quite frankly, I felt a shudder as I read it. One line quoted in the story says someone posted this on the Facebook page, "It'd be much more appropriate to pierce him with bullets, not compassion.” I realize there are nut cases in every community and the Internet tends to attract them by the millions, everything from perverts to terrorists. It’s why organizations such as CSIS and the NSA in the States maintain such careful monitoring of the Internet. But whereas before the nut cases had an audience in the tens; now those audiences are potentially in the millions. There are very dangerous and very influential people on the Internet, many of whom prey on those for whom information discernment is not a skill. I never heard of the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team before but right now, I feel glad these people are on the job. In the meantime, send some positive energy towards MP Ujjal Dosanjh – it’s probably not the first time he’s had threats made against him, but it has to be very unsettling for him and his family.

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