A mild acquaintance of mine was complaining that no one ever reads the rules for the groups they join and she cannot understand why. Unfortunately she has chosen to blame it on Facebook and has taken to saying that Facebook and other Social Media (etc) platforms enable this sort of behavior. She also, apparently, blames Wikipedia “for people being lazy as far as research goes” and holds onto a hyper romanticized ideal of the worth of Libraries.
Libraries are amazing and I will always love and appreciate them. I do not, however, hold a hyper-romanticized ideal of what they provide. We really romanticize Libraries too much, because they’re far more limited than Google will ever be with the right skills. That is not to say that they are not without their merits. They have positive benefits and we do need them. But what, genuinely, makes a Library any better than Google or Bing- other than some mildly classist and pretty much anti-technological personal opinion and hyper-romanticization?
And I mean genuinely, because a Library is not guaranteed to have or be able to obtain the book you need, and Librarians are not some amazing holders of all knowledge that are guaranteed to have any knowledge on the subject you’re researching. If you live in a small, conservative American town? Your options are even more limited. But I can sit right here on my couch- even in small, conservative town America- and Google that same subject. I can do that and find not only academic information from the last century or more, but also community supported books and information, people to discuss it with, AND I can order the books I need and have them shipped directly to my house.
Google has its own problems, yes. It has problems like the fact that it is also easy to get bad information, yet that is a problem that is not unique to Google. It happens with Books as well. Being published does not make the information any more right or official no matter where it was published and in what format. You really cannot ignore the fact, though, that like Libraries, Google has it’s own strengths and weaknesses and that neither is better than the other or enables worse information or behaviors.
It frustrates me so much to see people blaming technology all of the time for the shortcomings of people. The want to do things the quickest and easiest way possible has been the singular driving force behind the evolution of humankind. We are inherently lazy creatures, and that will more than likely never change. It is not an excuse and people need to not be so lazy or ignorant, but it will never change- especially not when we live in a society that doesn’t actually value education and hard work despite its claims that it does.
But it is not Facebook’s fault that people do not read and understand things like rules; it is not Facebook’s fault that people think that they don’t matter, or that they’re exempt from them. It is not Google’s fault, or Bing’s fault that people cannot do proper research, or that people rely on Wikipedia so much; it is not facebook, or Google, or Technology that’s the problem or the reason.
Blaming Facebook, social media, or just technology in general is a cop out. It is just another way to conveniently allow people not to take responsibility for their own actions… After all, why should you take responsibility for your own laziness when practically everyone in society teaches you that technology is at fault with articles like “How Modern Technology is Making us Lazy and Stupid”, or “Is technology hurting us by making life easier”?
The problem is and always has been us and we need to start taking legitimate responsibility for our own actions instead of finding other things to blame- things like technology which has given us no excuse not to know practically everything, because everything is right there at our fingertips now.