They call it the World Wide Web. It may be worldwide in its physical reach, but is it leading to a worldwide culture, or a sense that we are citizens of the world? […] in many countries today […], we see the emergence of a new hyper-tribalism led by populist, strongman, authoritarian figures. It’s like we’re going back to the Nineteenth Century rather than advancing forward into the 21st. […] There are indications that the Web is a web of the like-minded. A Web where we search for what we’re interested in and ignore the rest. […] For a great many, the Web does not expand horizons, or change minds or attitudes. Instead, it reinforces existing attitudes and intentions.
This is a sad realization for those of us whom Stephen Fry described as “early netizens”;
I and millions of other early ‘netizens’ as we embarrassingly called ourselves, joined an online world that seemed to offer an alternative human space, to welcome in a friendly way (the word netiquette was used) all kinds of people with all kinds of views. We were outside the world of power and control. […] So we felt like an alternative culture; we were outsiders.
Pessimism is taking over, I must be getting old.