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The Age of Information and Ignorance

Kendall Gill, Editor

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Starting in the mid-twentieth century, the Information Age, more commonly known as the Computer Age or New Media Age, is a period in cultural history revolved around the shift in traditional industry to to an economic industry based on information technology. The change over time has integrated new technologies, user devices, and interaction with humans and devices.

 

With the Internet becoming one of the most significant industries of the global market and culture, ignorance has become commonplace. There is a possibility that overwhelming access to information would logically coincide with a progression towards naivety, but at no time in history has willful ignorance become so quickly accepted.

The spread of intentionally deceitful lies and blatant misunderstanding has found veins in which to spread information through a social media culture of instant access to the ideas of individuals, however misinformed or misguided. While some of these falsehoods have been able to spread by being well crafted and loosely based on fact, a large portion of information is blindly accepted by those who are willing to accept any version of the truth that best fits an opinion or personal agenda. It is not uncommon now for rumors to become prevalent as the concept of “fake news” and corruption of the media have trickled down into the conversations and interactions of everyday people.

As the world as a global culture evolved, technology accelerated, advancing at an unprecedented rate leaving people to catch up and create regulations for this new frontier. Unexpectedly, the considerable expansion of information has taken the world back into an Age of Ignorance. Nowhere is this intellectual dilemma information with ignorance more prevalent than in the American political cycle of 2016.

Throughout the campaigns of both political parties, thoughtful discussions of issues have been replaced by quick blows delivered within a 140 character limit. Twitter has become such a prominent source of information that many people are willing to ignore that the constraints of the content shared on Twitter often make it so that important context is lost.

One Oakdale High School student and Twitter user reflected, “I feel like a lot of people our age and younger don’t really know how to navigate all of the information thrown at us. It’s almost overwhelming to think about how many things we see that could be completely fake and we’d never even know.”

This feeling of cautiousness in believing new information is not shared by everyone in this new age. Often times, those with large online and cultural influences find ways to exploit the public’s vulnerability by assuming that the audience will not look any deeper into a topic than the surface level information conveyed in a tweet.

Another student from Oakdale described their reliance on media to gather information and form opinions. This student explained, “…obviously I’m always trying to be informed but there is a limit to how skeptical I’m going to be. I think there are people who I’m more likely to believe for sure.”

In this way the Internet has proved to be both a blessing and a curse. As unfathomable amounts of data are instantly available, there are few established boundaries on the vast information surrounding our society. The issue of a lack of accountability is pressing as it becomes necessary to be diligent in how information is interpreted and analyzed. Moving forward, it’s clear that changes must be made to maintain a more practical use of the information given and accessed worldwide.

About the Writer
Kendall Gill, Editor

Kendall Gill is a junior at Oakdale High School, that enjoys photography, music, and the arts. After high school she hopes to pursue a career in International...

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The Age of Information and Ignorance