Using the Internet, We Become More of Who We Already Are
If you are a social person there are unlimited online platforms and people that you can interact with about anything, anytime. If you love physics, there’s more physics online than you can ever dream of reading about. Music, sports, you name it we have it!
Not only is the information on most subjects more than anyone can consume in a lifetime, it’s available in the format of your preference; text, image, video, audio, app, game, or a hybrid of those. And it’s not only information that’s available, there are people, communities, events, and the top expert or celebrity in your topic of choice is just a tweet away.
All of this is available in ever-improving formats, mostly free, and in a way that fits your needs.
So you engage more in that field of interest, and you become part of communities and newsletters and fan pages, and you can go as deeply into that community as your energy, passion, and discipline allow you.
When I was learning the drums as a teenager, the difference in information between me and the non-drummer was two exercise books and one video tape. Now the difference is millions of videos, info graphics, tutorials, and courses, and if I go deep into that, the gap between me and the non-drummer is going to be much wider than it was back in the dark ages. Similarly, as a non-painter for example, the gap between me and painters is too big.
Each of us becomes more and more shaped by whatever industry or hobby we follow. It follows that each one of us is living in his / her own silo with widening gaps of knowledge and perspective between people from different fields.
The same applies to the social networks that we are part of. We are connected to the people we already know and work with, speaking the same languages and living in the same places, or simply working in the same industry. These people share information based on their values and habits, reinforcing the same perspective that we are already used to, making us more of who we already are. The more sharing and communication you do through these networks, the stronger the relationships, and more difficult it will become for you to break loose of those networks or simply obtain a new perspective.
The funny part is that we can each jump into a completely different world simply by choice, and pretty much any community is just one click away. The pressure will still come from existing networks, to respond to messages, updates and content shares, strengthening the already-existing networks, relationships, and systems.
A nice outcome could be that because we have more information that we can consume, we can satisfy a certain interest until we are bored of it or had enough. We are not stuck with a few books and some people in the neighborhood. We have a chance to see whether or not we are truly born to be in a certain field, or if it was just a strong but temporary interest.
Would all this lead to a state where search engines, apps, and social networks become so good at figuring out our needs and satisfying them that each one of us will go after what they are genetically predisposed to more than anything else? Kids are starting to use iPads before they can walk, and are probably drawn to the kinds of activities that their genes have a tendency toward. Maybe!