Technology affects culture. It’s all too easy to see social media and new forms of interaction as insidious threats to our social-cultural norms. The new is often the source of technopanic
In many cases, one may want to be sanguine about how the social & cultural effects of a new technology (particularly a new medium or distribution mechanism) are going to emerge. Effects are often complex, contradictory and play out differently in different segments.
(Longish counterpoint: as governments & banks finally allow for programmatic access to verified identities, firms can turn to them to digitally verify a customer’s ID. Pity the finance & government sectors were so lackadaisical about offering such services for much of the past decade. Good that they have now woken up.
As the late Douglas Adams observed:
I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
The BBC has a rather wonderful interactive-thingy reviewing some of the greatest technopanics in history
(including the panic about writing, printed books and fluoridation of water.)