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The internet is creating a revolution, challenging, then changing long established theories. In the past, the print media had total control of published content. They only accepted articles from people with quality writing skills and from socially acceptable sources. Public opinions were created and formed by these people. This requirement prevented the experiences of blue-collar people to get their opinions and experiences published. The internet is changing all that.
For the first time in history, people from all social levels can publish their opinions and there is someone out there to read them. Internet information seekers require information based on verifiable or firsthand experience, not theories. This requirement is leading to a culture revolution. For example:
The formal education system is controlled by big business, unions and politicians. Today's system has been designed for their benefit, not students. Politicians are passing laws that control the curriculum. Who benefits? This is why the system is in a tailspin. Standardized testing is a cover for bad management, while giving the appearance that something is being done. The Wright Brothers', Thomas Edison, Henry Ford did not master academics, they never finished high school. They succeed because they had a motivating vision and opportunity to develop it. With standardized test as a teaching guide, our next generation young people will have the ability to read and write, but, will have lost the art of developing a motivating vision, the unique skill that made America great. And this is because big business, unions and politicians are more interested in personal benefit than benefits to society.
During the 1400s, the intellectuals' pet theory was that the world was flat and setting on the backs of elephants. If a boat sailed too far out to sea, it would fall off the edge of the world. This theory was accepted because is came from people with impressive titles. So long as wild theories cannot be proven, they are safe.
Sailors at the time had first hand experience, they knew there was no edge to fall off of. They were not consulted because they were considered socially inferior, did not have the right kind of education, therefore, their experience and opinions were ignored. For the seamen, keeping the general public afraid of the sea was good for business, it kept competition in check. Christopher Columbus was a seaman who challenged the intellectual minds of the day. The internet is doing the same today.
The way people think is no longer controlled by publishers, it is becoming controlled by internet search engines. Today's search engines seem to have human logic that base its selections on that logic. Webmasters are technicians and many know how to write a web page that gets high ratings with search engines. The point is, technicians are taking influence away from intellectuals and this is going to bring drastic changes in our society.
High visibility changes will take place in the political world. 1960 was a wakeup call of TV's influence on political campaigns. Image influenced voters. 2004 may be a wakeup call of the internets' influence on campaigns. Facts, not spin, will influence voters.
Copyright 2001 by Robert L. Webb
Goose Creek, South Carolina, USA
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