The Web has profoundly changed how we relate to information and, in certain cases,
completely reversed traditional influence structures.
THE INTERNET IS NOW THE PRE-EMINENT MEDIUM FOR INFORMATION AND INFLUENCE
The Internet has surpassed print publications to become the foremost vector for information, giving access to an infinite number of information sources from anywhere, for anyone and at any moment. The growing ubiquity of mobile devices and permanent access to the Internet is enhancing this domination of the information landscape.
INFORMATION IS NOT EASILY RECYCLED
Contrary to traditional media, content available on the Web is not easy recycled, often piling up and gathering dust in a process known as ‘online sedimentation.’ This is especially true on the first pages of Google and on Wikipedia, where content can remain visible for several years. Yesterday’s information is not replaced by today’s. At the same time, ideas and messages published online are regularly repeated and re-appropriated, even by opinion leaders and decision makers. This further contributes to amplifying the impact of communications.
CONTENT IS OFTEN RADICAL, CONTROVERSIAL AND STRONGLY ORIENTATED
Online expressions of opinion are shaped by specific codes of conduct. Where traditional media ascribes to a set editorial policy, online content is often more subversive and more critical. This tendency is further exacerbated by social recommendation (‘liking’ and sharing), increasing the ‘virality’ and the ultimate impact of information.
INFORMATION IS NEITHER HIERARCHICAL NOR MODERATED AND IS OFTEN ANONYMOUS
The ability of users to generate their own content, often anonymously and without any moderation, has led to the emergence of new opinion leaders. Diverse publications of varying quality are available on the Internet, without any established hierarchy between ‘real experts’ and amateurs. Information published online is consequently becoming more difficult to verify and/or contradict. Compared to traditional media, it is far more difficult to identify authors and their agendas.
The Internet functions like an echo chamber for traditional media. A symbiotic relationship between the Web and the media helps to sustain both.
- “INFOWARS” ARE ESPECIALLY FIERCE ONLINE.
- FROM MAJOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIETAL CONTROVERSIES TO SPECIFIC LOCAL DEBATES, ALL ISSUES HAVE AN ONLINE DIMENSION