Our times are confusing. Maybe all times were confusing to their contemporaries. Yet we are now, all in a sudden, in a digital society overflown by information. And most of us haven’t had the time to learn to cope with it.
Media illiteracy isn’t a new problem, but it has today become in the form of digital media illiteracy too large of a problem. So large as to endanger the stability of our society as we know it.
“The recent proliferation of fake news is undoubtedly a matter of concern. Not that it never existed before […] But it’s arguably spreading at an unprecedented level because of digital media and their potential to access and spread information relatively easily.”
We people have become more isolated and at the same time more connected through the digital world. We learned from our parents, teachers, and friends how to navigate the world, but we haven’t yet learned how to navigate the digital world. The cities, streets, constitutions, institutions, laws, and regulations we all have come to understand and live with, do not exist yet in the digital world.
This combination of isolation from the real world, digital media illiteracy and lack of understanding of the workings of the digital world leave us all exposed to confusion.
We are losing trust in our institutions. In our politicians. In one side, they also struggle to take the right decisions in an ever more complex world, with ever less sovereignty at expenses of giant corporations and overwhelming markets. In the other side conspiracy theories find fertile earth and unlimited potential for spreading in the digital media landscape like wildfires.
Ballots’ results are shocking, people take ever growing radical stances. And in this manner we approach, day by day the point when we will turn our society into an unmanageable anarchy. An anarchy made of frightened, confused, and isolated people. A return to a middle age of castles and citadels. Servants and tyrants.
Every one of us who is today losing trust, and becoming confused, thus falling in a rabbit hole may want to ponder who is reaping benefit of this and who is not. It is very likely that the society will not be in the side of the beneficiaries.
“It should be a matter of concern that while 52% preferred the BBC in 2015, only 35% of 12-15s in 2016 reported relying on it for accurate and true information about what goes on in the world, and that while 17% relied on Google in 2015, that number reached 30% in 2016.”
Disbelieving BBC to believe Google may be an—out of the 90’s when internet was a promise—romantic thought but the gears of the apparent romanticism of Google and co. aren’t meant or designed to benefit our society but to maximize their profit.