By Ben Spielberg
Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451 famously abhorred television, so much so, that he directly related television with destruction. Instead, he preferred what was most comfortable to him: libraries. According to Bradbury, kids did not need computers or colleges to grow. Rather, they needed to spend as much time as possible in public libraries, as he did when he was young. Of course, Bradbury could never have predicted that his own science fiction novels would be turned into movies grossing millions, or even that I wouldn’t have known this about him unless I had read this article online via the New York Times.
Bradbury’s idealized world is a classic example of what I like to call the “You Kids These Days” syndrome. As we age, we forget that culture is constantly changing, and what seems unnecessary and even pointless is in fact revolutionary. Among other things, subjects of this type of scrutiny were things like Galileo’s heliocentric theories, rock ‘n roll, and even more lately, Facebook. While Facebook began as a simple outlet to, well, look at pictures of girls, the website has become a pool for both creativity and looking at girls.
Most recently, an app has been released for Facebook called Votocracy, in which people can actually run for president and start getting their names out there. Since anybody has the ability to sign up (with a $100 fee), there are candidates ranging from a weird hippie dude to a pretty serious Senior Vice President at Paramount Pictures. The idea is silly—because Votocracy goes against the grain in so many ways, it seems implausible that even our current President could win this election with the application.
However, Votocracy succeeds at producing a transparency that has never quite existed before. For instance, we can actually view the contestant’s profiles and take a look inside their private lives. Sure, Obama wrote a pretty good book and Clinton rocked the saxophone, but a look at someone’s Facebook is a greater pathway into not only their worlds, but also the worlds around them. Would Ronald Reagan have played Farmville? How many vampire requests would JFK have sent me?
It is no doubt that the Internet holds a lot of power. In 2009, creator of 4chan Christopher “m00t” Poole was nominated for Time’s Most Influential Person of the Year and once his online community found out about it, they manipulated the poll so much that not only did Poole win by a landslide, but they organized all the nominees’ names following his to subsequently spell out a phrase (“Marblecake also the game”). It’s really easy to pass off something like Facebook or a message board as an activity with little to no purpose, but at this point, it is clear that there is immense power underneath what would have been Bradbury’s worst nightmare.
- The Butterfly Effect and Ray Bradbury (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
- Double Rainbow Guy Is Running for President via Facebook; You Can Too (mashable.com)