I just listened to a Nerdist interview with Harrison Ford from a few years back. You’ve got to love the guy’s dry sense of humor, but there’s also some interesting stuff in there that I found, well, interesting. Here’s his take on the internet:

Nerdist: Now there’s the internet, you can watch whatever you want.
Harrison Ford: So that’s what it’s for.

N: Do you loath the internet?
HF: No I think it’s very useful for the gathering of misinformation … and wasting time.

N: But I feel like it’s most of our culture now …
HF: I like the internet as much as I like social networking.

N: Is social networking the downfall of our culture.
HF: Yes.

N: Do you think there’s just too much information out there?
HF: It’s very likely not even information. It’s just stuff. And the notion of living in a virtual community I think makes it difficult for young people to realize there is a real world to participate in where you actually are who you say you are and you can’t just press a button to get liked. And that you have a community that you live in to which you are responsible and are known in that community, so if you break windows people know who you are.

Related: Twitter. One Question: Why?

Now, you know me. You know I agree with Ford, more or less. And yet, he did the interview on a podcast which I listened to and am sharing now, along with just about everything else I’ve ever written – except the book, really – on the internet.

Do I think what I write is useless? Misinformation? A waste of time? Of course not. But here’s the thing. If there wasn’t so much bullshit out there, so much misinformation, so much nonsense, I wouldn’t have all that much to write about, now would I?

So I guess in some ways the internet is useful, if not just to refute all the fake news, popular fads, sensational hype, political talking points and myths masquerading as common wisdom that’s rampant online.

Of course there is a lot more to it — the Web’s impact on our culture — than that.

Related: The Dying Art of Being Social

I bought a cargo net and hook for the trunk of my wife’s Honda Civic the other day. I bought them online, on eBay. Turns out they require an expensive tool, some drilling and some other stuff to install. Disappointed I got back online and found a YouTube video that explained exactly how to install them using the parts supplied and nothing else but my hands.

Thirty minutes later, cargo net and hook were installed. Easy. Total price: $60. I would have paid Honda quite a bit more to do the same thing, not to mention the time spent, pre-internet.

Some people love the interactive Web. Others shun it. But the truth is, it’s complicated. Anything that has such a profound impact on our society – our daily lives – is bound to be. There’s good and bad and everything in between. And how we judge that is highly subjective. Besides, that genie’s so out of the bottle it isn’t funny.

One more thing Ford said: “I like the real world.” Yeah, that sort of sums it up for me too.

Image credit Kroejsanka Mediteranka via Flickr

  • SamHanson

    Just like any complicated system, there isn’t an easy 0/1, yes/no, good/bad.

    It’s a big mix of everything and the good thing about the net is that if you
    actually care enough, you can pick the good out of the bad, for the most part. Just how I found out about this blog 🙂