MideastWeb Middle East Web Log

log  archives  middle east  maps  history   documents   countries   books   encyclopedia   culture   dialogue   links    timeline   donations 

Search:

The promise of the Internet, Mideastweb and Paris Hilton

12/25/2003

Everyone who runs a Web site or Web Log wants to know if anyone is out there reading it, and MidEastWeb is no exception. This past year we had over a million visitors. That is as many visitors as we have have in all previous years together, from August 22, 1999. Our traffic statistics are not a secret, since they are displayed on the front page of MidEastWeb. A million visitors is not bad, but it is not nearly enough of course.

The Internet promised to be a great force for peace and democracy, that would give a voice to the poor and disenfranchised, and give them access to information they never had before. It hasn't really happened, has it? Most countries in the Middle East have been slow to develop Internet resources. Though 40% of Israelis have access to Internet, percentages for most other countries are much lower. But in the USA, just about everyone has access to the Internet, and we have to admit that it hasn't had a great impact.

After the terror attacks of 9-11, a survey in the United States asked people what news sources they found to be the best source for information about terror attacks.

They got the following responses:
1 Daily Newspapers 10%
2 News Magazines 2%
3 Radio News 8%
4 Television News 71%
5 Internet 7%
6 Family and Friends 2%
7 Don't Know/Other Response 0%

Likewise for information about the environment, only 7% named the Internet as the best source of information. 64% of those questioned in 2003 said they had access to Internet from their home, and more can access it at school or work, so the problem is probably not lack of access in the United States.

To be sure, the Internet has a role in providing news information. During the days following 9-11 and during the war with Iraq, news and issues Web sites like this one were jam packed by visitors. Most of them were not seeking in-depth analysis. They were looking for maps. In the week following 9-11, MidEastweb had 140,000 visitors, as many as we had had in the previous year. A large majority of those visitors visited the map pages.

The Internet is making a revolution in the way people buy things and in many other areas, but it doesn't seem to have had much effect on information and news consumption. Part of the problem is the quality of information on the Web and Internet. The Internet news industry is dominated by the same large news agencies that run television and news stations. Usually, they do a great job of covering a wide scope of issues, without much depth. Additional sources of information are likely to be Web sites of partisan organizations, providing selective in depth coverage that "proves" their point, as well as the rumor mill that works overtime. Within a short time after the 9-11 attacks, Islamist partisans had spread the false story that the Israeli Mossad was behind the attacks, a rumor that made its way to the press and is still believed in much of the Middle East. Other non-information on the Web included a non-existent letter from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, a fake interview with Israeli PM Ariel Sharon in which the fake Sharon made outrageous racist and bloodthirsty statements, and a supposedly anonymous letter from a just plain Israeli decrying terrorism, that turned out in reality to be a letter written by the racist Rabbi Kahaneh in 1988.

The fault however, is not necessarily in the news sources, but in us, "we the people." News sources supply the kind of news that people want, and Web sites supply the kinds of information that people want. A quick look at the most popular Internet search words gives a very definite picture of what Internet users want.

The top 10 ranked search words from one source:

1 2518 paris hilton
2 1483 kazaa lite
3 1324 jokes
4 1270 google
5 1253 yahoo
6 1166 ebay
7 938 msn emotions
8 875 games
9 871 health
10 868 paris hilton video

"britney spears" was ranked 36 and carmen electra was ranked 44. This list had recognizable pornographic terms removed from it, but some of the top ranked terms were obviously pornographic or sex related.

The word "news" was ranked 252. Though the USA is fighting a war in Iraq, it was not even on the list.
What does it mean? Does it mean that people are only interested in sex, entertainment and shopping, or does it mean that people don't take the Internet seriously as a reliable source of information, or does it mean that serious folks don't use the Internet? It is hard to say, since the Internet has thus far not proven itself as a reliable source of information. On the other hand, the information available on the Internet has to reflect what people want to see.

In a democracy, people get the government they deserve, and perhaps Internet users are getting the level and kind of information they want.

If you like this post - click to Reddit!
add to del.icio.usAdd to digg - digg it

Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000143.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 07:11 PM CST [Link]

NEWS

Middle East e-Zine

Midde East News

Opinion Digest

Late Updates

REFERENCE

Middle East Glossary

Middle East Maps

Middle East Books

Middle East Documents

Israel-Palestine History

Israel-Palestine Timeline

Middle East Countries

Middle East Economy

Middle East Population

Middle East Health

Zionism History

Palestinian Parties

Palestinian Refugees

Peace Plans

Water

Middle East

  

Blog Links

OneVoice - Israeli-Palestinian Peace Blog

Bravo411 -Info Freedom

Israel News

Oceanguy

Michael Brenner

Dutchblog Israel

Dutch - IMO (Israel & Midden-Oosten) Blog (NL)

GulfReporter

Israpundit

Alas, a Blog

Little Green Footballs

Blue Truth

Fresno Zionism

Reut Blog

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Blog

Simply Jews: Judaism and Israel

Jeff Weintraub - Commentaries and Controversies

Vital Perspective

ZioNation

Meretz USA Weblog

normblog

MIDEAST observer

On the Contrary

Blogger News Network- BNN

Google Sex Maps

Demediacratic Nation

Realistic Dove

Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.

On the Face

Israel Palestjnen (Dutch)

Middle East Analysis

Israel: Like This, As If

Middle East Analysis

Mid_East Journal

Z-Word Blog

Dvar Dea

SEO for Everyone


Web Sites & Pages

Israeli-Palestinian Procon

End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: One Voice

Democratiya

ATFP- American Task Force on Palestine

Americans For Peace Now

Shalom Achshav

Chicago Peace Now

Nemashim

Peacechild Israel

Bridges of Peace

PEACE Watch

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Z-Word

Zionism

Zionism and Israel

Zionism and Israel on the Web

Israel - Palestina:Midden-Oosten Conflict + Zionisme

IsraŽl in de Media

Euston Manifesto

New Year Peace

Jew

Christian Zionism

Jew Hate

Space Shuttle Blog

Israel News Magazine

SEO


My Ecosystem Details
International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Link 2 us
We link 2 U.
MidEastWeb- Middle East News & Views
MidEastWeb is not responsible for the content of linked Web sites



Please do not leave notes for MidEastWeb editors here. Hyperlinks are not displayed. We may delete or abridge comments that are longer than 250 words, or consist entirely of material copied from other sources, and we shall delete comments with obscene or racist content or commercial advertisements. Comments should adhere to Mideastweb Guidelines . IPs of offenders will be banned.

Powered By Greymatter

[Previous entry: "Prophet and Loss Statement 2003 - How good was the MEW Crystal Ball?"] Main Index [Next entry: "Crystal Ball: What will happen in 2004"]

ALL PREVIOUS MidEastWeb Middle East LOG ENTRIES

Thank you for visiting MidEastWeb - Middle East.
If you like what you see here, tell others about the MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log - www.mideastweb.org/log/.

Contact Us

Copyright

Editors' contributions are copyright by the authors and MidEastWeb for Coexistence RA.
Please link to main article pages and tell your friends about MidEastWeb. Do not copy MidEastWeb materials to your Web Site. That is a violation of our copyright. Click for copyright policy.
MidEastWeb and the editors are not responsible for content of visitors' comments.
Please report any comments that are offensive or racist.

Editors can log in by clicking here

Technorati Profile

RSS FeedRSS feed Add to Amphetadesk Add to Amphetadesk

USA Credit Card - Donate to MidEastWeb  On-Line - Help us live and grow