Books or no books?

Books or no books?

How the 21st century set the path to digital knowledge acquisition.

 

The 21st century, the new millennium, the new decade, the same people, but with new technology. Much has happened in recent years, both in geo-political terms, and in the world of social life and technology. The term “social media” has become established and big names like “Facebook”, “Twitter”, “Wikipedia” and many more have become an integral part of our society today. So we live in a world that is dominated by the benefits of the internet. But now you have to ask yourself the question: What happened to the good old book?

 

The book itself is close to disappearing, but the knowledge remains. As the term “Wikipedia” mentioned above, knowledge is not necessarily bound to tangible literature. Nowadays, many people get their knowledge from online platforms. Actually, this offered only benefits at first, because knowledge was now accessible everywhere for everyone. One was no longer bound to the dimensions of the city library, or to the own encyclopedia. Knowledge was now available everywhere, in every unimaginable size and shape. But this also carries risks. Now it is easier to manipulate knowledge, to infuse people with false knowledge.

As it was the case in 2016, during the presidential elections in the USA, when the term “dirty campaigning” became widely known. “Dirty campaigning” is described as a way of publishing false information to gather advantages during election time. Donald Trump spoke badly of Hillary Clinton, and conversely, Hillary Clinton on Donald Trump’s. Those false reports where not published on paper media, but online on social media platforms. The big problem with that is that on online platforms, the wrong information spreads faster than with newspapers or books and people even believed it.

Also Wikipedia does not always provide the right information. Although Wikipedia offers a wide range of information, caution has to be required! Everybody, even if you have to verify yourself first, can change the variety of information on Wikipedia. It can be described as the story of the fisherman: if the fisher tells of his catch, then the fish is “this big”, and two weeks later the fish is twice as big in the same story. So there is always a certain subjective opinion in the knowledge transfer. It does not necessarily have to be bad, it sometimes even gives you a wider vision. But this can also be used in a negative way when people trust blindly.

Who can we trust? The 2016 election and the myriad of science websites on the internet are an example of how the internet can badly effect our daily life. Now the only question is what is better, or worse, book or online media? This does not mean that the “bad” knowledge is only disseminated online, …also in newspapers and other media not truthful knowledge is sometimes portrayed. Both have advantages and disadvantages, as we have heard before. You have to decide for yourself whether to fall back on the good old medium of books and newspapers or on the internet. But most importantly, listen to many opinions and weigh up what is right and wrong. Only then you can get the maximum knowledge.

Make up your own opinion!

About the Author

Tibor Spath

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