Sticky Fingers: American Involvement with the Internet

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Joined: 11/28/2011
Sticky Fingers: American Involvement with the Internet

Globalization: the center argument for most of modern day debates, proving to be beneficial to a thriving nation but inflicting dangerous inequality on other countries in the process.  And to have that same conflict with the Internet is an epic on its own.  With the Internet reaching all different countries, it only seemed like a matter of time before someone wanted to own the whole thing. 

            America has their hands firmly in most forums that are available to users.  Search engines and social networking sites like Google, Facebook and YouTube are all big name leaders of the Internet.  And through advertisement and other forms of propaganda, these American sites and companies have profited and appealed to the billions of people who use them every day.  Some have said that we American have been deceived by our own media, to which I have to agree.  Media makes it easy to reel in users and viewers with prospects of the “American dream” that we hear about so often.  It is an illusion that can make a quick buck and they know it.  Not to mention that these sites are in constant competition with each other for the title of the most popular, most lucrative and most accurate.  Someone can ask a question on the Internet and get millions of answers, but it doesn’t matter unless those are a million correct answers.  Lately, it seems like search engines are merely pumping out information for the users to sift through for themselves since they already did the hard part of obtaining user recognition, and that is not the way to do things online. 

            On the other side of the spectrum, America and the Internet have done some good in the recent weeks.  There are over 7,000 languages in the world and about half of them were endangered by rapid modernization and government repression.  But with sites like YouTube and other social media sites, the languages that are seen as inferior have a way to continue on through videos and verbal dictionaries.  Some examples of the endangered languages are Siletz Dee-in (American Indian) and Matukar Panau (Oceanic).  With progress like this, it raises the question as to what other countries and cultures does the Internet affect so greatly, and for better or for worse.

            In Russia, Internet use is far less than in America and they are still learning how to use it.  These people aren’t familiar with the Internet and approach it with extreme caution.  Right now, they’re almost at the same level as America by the way they are now tackling the problem of cyber bullying with children.  There are some things on the Internet that are alright with us Americans, but other countries can find it offensive.  Yet even though certain countries can find it in bad taste, it isn’t illegal to any place, especially our own home country.  That’s why there are laws being made (or already have been made) in countries like Russia, France, Germany and Spain.  If we take that into consideration, it’s possible that our online companies can make some modifications to do either one of two things: be aware of what is good and bad in different countries other than their own or be open to local sites and companies that want to share the online financial and social benefits that America has today.

            In Egypt and Syria, networking sites are highly depended on for revolution against dictatorship and censorship.  These countries act rather quickly when something goes amiss in their society and the first place they turn to is the Internet, writing articles and blogs, taking videos and pictures, any kind of medium that can show other people outside the country what’s going on.  Since Egyptian and Syrian citizens are using these sites that are run by American countries, surely they must see the content that is posted.  It has been quoted that Syria sees America as “the only ones who protect democracy and human rights in the world.”  There is the bias with some Americans for the fact that we have had a few defeats in the Middle East so far, and having another international affair is the last thing we need.  But it has been observed that there are revolutionaries in the country that are desperate for American aid.  It seems like it would be enough proof to see these rebels area against the government and seek democracy by seeing how often they use American media to get their words across.

            The influence that America has on these countries is quite inspiring, but it’s up to us to actually do something in return.  Our country can help others be strong, and we already have by providing these repressed people with a voice.  But do we choose to listen?  Can we learn to share and extend further?