Dr. Suprakash Roy appears in The Best Seller, a novel by Arunabha Sengupta.

A cyber conscious mender of minds, he is interested in the effect of the modern world of the internet and social networking in changing human behaviour.

The following are a demonstration of how the doctor's own mind works, extrapolated from the novel.

Powered by The Senantix Channels

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Highs and Lows - Bipolar world wide web

The Queen of England has entered Facebook and the surfing serfdom has responded with 200000 likes.

Sarah Palin has discovered that Twitteratti is suitable for Political proclamations, probably because given the 140 character limit, she would not be expected to defend her dramatic statements.

However, while the conservative, liberal, old world and new world politicians join the social networking bandwagon, some mysterious game is afoot.

A while back, members of a group called Digg Patriots had been banding together to promote conservative leaning online stories. On the social networking site Digg, which presaged Facebook and Twitter, they were burying the articles of certain users within a couple of hours by posting their own comments over them in bulk.

While Digg Patriots were taken down after a website revealed their curious antics, and Digg itself has been left behind in the race by technologically more robust Facebook and Twitter which are immune from such burying tactics, it does raise a few questions.

Web 2.0 as I see it, acts more like a peripheral device for the modern brain. This is nothing sensational or new. Human beings have for ever been subject to the information that has flowed from the news print, television, movies, other media and now the internet. What is radically alarming to me is that, in this environment, where the individuals themselves seem to play a role in communicating and being a part of the propaganda juggernaut, manufactured consent is ever more easy.

While control of news and media by powers that be is not new by any stretch of imagination, modern times with Wikipedia, Google,Twitter and Facebook make it ridiculously easy for those with vested interests to mass manufacture favourable arguments and consent. Included in the step is the easy to use make-believe 'power' vested in the individual to forward and like the propaganda. This gives surfers the manufactured feel of playing an active part in social consciousness.

What we see often is manufactured groupthink orchestrated across these networks. This  not only promotes the propaganda, but also ensures that the population sincerely believe that they 'support' and 'like' and 'retweet' their own opinion, playing a major part in the important global movements.

With the sensory delights of the web, the clickable links promising plenty of reward with minimum of expended effort, aural, visual and also tactile touchscreen delights there for the taking, the millions cannot be expected to dwell on a particular issue for more than the half a minute before moving on to the next you-tube video or iTunes download. And if a supposedly socially conscious thought rolls by with thousands of likes, aggregated with web based evidence and agreement, it is easy to put the click of consent and pamper one's political consciousness, before moving to the next link of entertainment.

With the aid of agents and programs, it is not really a theoretical or technological stretch for sufficiently powerful interests to manufacture and append web based evidence and agreement. In the virtual world, a lot of the facts are .. well ...virtual ... and sadly, our netizens are growing more and more oblivious of the fact. The worldview that is being presented as the external consciousness of the current mass of mankind can be more virtual than ever before.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
A novelist and cricket historian, Arunabha Sengupta is the author of three novels and the Chief Cricket Writer on cricketcountry.com. In his novels he deals with the contemporary world with acerbic humour. In his cricket writings he covers the history and romance in the game, while his post graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces