|In the last decade, we have reached a certain level of connectivity with each other that we have formed what is known as internet culture / Photo by: Cathy Yeulet via 123RF|
Ah, the internet. These days, it is simply the place to be. One doesn’t have to be much too young or much too old to have access to the internet. Often, we don’t even realize that we are using the internet. Things like bank transactions, or simply watching TV shows can already count as consuming media through the means of an internet connection.
In the last decade, we have reached a certain level of connectivity with each other that we have formed what is known as internet culture. The internet has taken a life on its own, thanks to the interconnected communities that interact, produce, and give life to internet content no matter what they are.
But how exactly has internet culture changed?
Welcome to the Internet
If the topic of conversation is the internet and how it’s been in the last decade, it’s near impossible not to talk about memes. It’s the most universal form of communication and entertainment for online peers, even able to become vessels of worthwhile conversation.
Speaking about memes in the last decade, social media manager Nathan Allebach tells Medium, an online publishing platform, memes have become a worldwide mother tongue for everyone who has enough luxury to just surf the internet.
Allebach describes internet culture as not only for entertainment and news, but also a “universal language connecting people from all over the world.” The internet culture was privy to the 2016 elections, bolstered by memes themselves and arguments from supporters on both sides. It was also on the internet that issues like Black Lives Matter gained prominence and how many other movements were carried over from person to person.
But before it became this worldwide bulletin board of things we should and should not be concerned about, it was a place that welcomed anonymity and niche communities. The internet would not have had its influence on us if we hadn’t had the influence of the nameless few.
|If the topic of conversation is the internet and how it’s been in the last decade, it’s near impossible not to talk about memes. It’s the most universal form of communication and entertainment for online peers, even able to become vessels of worthwhile conversation / Photo by: Liannadavis via Wikimedia Commons|
According to Allebach, much of the strong influence we see in, say, memes, would not have been possible if the internet did not allow for “gamers, programmers, web developers, and other tech-oriented” young people to “pour all their weirdness into a melting pot.”
Eventually, all this weird soup made it into the mainstream, with various content creators -- as they are now called -- formed hordes of fans with the type of usually hidden, niche content that was only present in certain communities.
YouTubers debuted their careers, becoming public spectacles who would often catch too much spotlight. Take Jake Paul, for example, a 22-year-old YouTube content creator who’s had his own ups and downs.
Jake Paul is not very well-liked on the internet, a position which most YouTubers and online stars are mostly in every day, but Jake Paul tells NBC News that he just keeps on going. He does share candidly that taking up the task to become a YouTube personality is not easy.
He tells the news site, “It’s hard growing up living under the spotlight. I lived my 17-to-22-year-old life with millions of people watching every little thing I do. So if I make a mistake, it’s under a microscope.”
The Internet's Impact
The speed with which internet content is consumed is the more important point of discussion these days. There’s no use barring for entry when the internet does not discriminate, to a fault. Keeping this in mind is all the more important when you realize that 59% of people aged 18 to 29 said that social media and the internet had a “great deal” of influence in their lives.
In a survey commissioned by news outlet The Atlantic and The Aspen Institute in 2012, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland and Associates, this acceptance of online influence does stop somewhere, as more than half of 18- to 29 year-olds expected sites like Facebook and Twitter to keep their private information private, as opposed to those over 65 (38%) saying that they believe the same thing.
Interestingly, both groups say that, when it really comes down to it, they do not expect privacy on the internet (47%). When asked about tracking from websites, 40% of younger Americans said that they approve of this behavior, while only 18% of older Americans expressed disapproval.
|The speed with which internet content is consumed is the more important point of discussion these days. There’s no use barring for entry when the internet does not discriminate, to a fault / Photo by: rawpixel via 123RF|
The bigger divide, according to the survey, is in the concepts and moral values people promote and see on the internet. Younger generations are more open-minded when it comes to homosexuality: 62% of people aged 18 to 29 say it is morally acceptable, while 36% of people over the age of 65 say it isn’t. Eighty-seven percent of younger generations are also in favor of interracial marriage (which is bizarrely an issue to Americans), while only 65% of older Americans approve of it.
Even then, both groups seem to be troubled by the direction that the country is headed, regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds; 63% of respondents say that the country is indeed headed in the wrong direction while 70% of respondents say that values are getting worse.