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  • Writer's picturejlrome

The Fast & The Furious: Tech and Communication's Intersection & Impact on Us Today

The Value of objectivity, of the true spoken/written/generated word, is unacceptably low in the world today, considering the innumerable amount of messages that are disseminated & consumed on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, so on and so forth. The reliance and dependency on our screens, that shoot words and images by the thousands per day, through our retinas like a bullet to our visual cortexes, play a much larger role in our health than we care to admit. The physical damage of the screens in our lives pairs none to how it affects our thinking as individuals, as communities, as states, as nations. 


I am not standing in arms opposed to the eternally increasing speed at which communication and technology spread across the world, and across our lives. But, I fear it is evolving far too fast for our own good, and I feel its direction is decided by groups who do not have humanity's best interest at heart. Those who create and spread mass messages, and those who create the innovative technology that carry those messages are not the representatives we elect to fight for our best interests. And, those who do represent our interests are still trying to catch up with the whiplash of our shifting world, if they're doing anything at all.


Since my birth in 2001, technology has undoubtedly made the world a better and more understanding place. Technology has brought unprecedented improvements in healthcare (not systems) access to resources, information, experiences, sensations, and modes/speeds of communication and shared information that seemed impossible 30 years ago. 


The intersections of technology and communication have brought unprecedented good and bad changes to how we live our lives. Interacting with friends, peers, communities and even strangers is way different from 10 years ago. Hell, it's way different from four years ago. It seems, now, that a decade of change can take place in just a few years. We are living in a critical time, and the hand-in-hand evolution of tech and communication will determine how we communicate at the macro and micro levels, both online and in person.


If we do not push for greater media literacy education for all, efficient and effective moderation of harmful mis/disinformation disseminated through major broadcast and digital channels, and perpetually shifting legislature to protect mass communication consumers/punish mass communication abusers, we will forever live in a dangerous post-truth era.


Digital networks are now indubitably the primary mode for news, entertainment, advertising, campaigning, fundraising, and even arguably for education and socialization. We rely on the internet for almost all our info needs. The speed and volume at which information, be it words or images, is spread across every pixel of the world, every second, how are we to regulate what is real, and what isn’t? How do we know what we should, and shouldn't be consuming?


Why aren’t there, in 2023, immediate and severe punishments to those in powerful/influential positions who spread false information for their own gain, or for the oppression of others? 


Unfortunately, there is much more to gain from spreading negative and false information over the positive and true. There seems not to be a strong enough positive and true force in this world to stop the exhausting negativity and falsehoods that fill our daily lives.  


There's an ineffable, severe imbalance in our world today. You don’t have to understand it to feel it. 


I’m not here to speak on the many unfathomable fronts we must face as human beings now, and as we push into the future. I only wish to share my deeply passionate thoughts on the perpetually evolving and evasive intersections of tech and communication in the current day. The Internet is no longer a supplement to our lives. To an extent, it is our lives, or at least just as significant as "real life."


We, consumers, educators, media scholars, disseminators and most importantly, legislators, need to act with the UTMOST urgency in enforcing: media literacy education, immediate ramifications for the spread of harmful mis/disinformation, ramifications for falsely identified individuals or organizations with criminal intent who seek to harm or mislead others online, and the most expedient removal and/or correction of fake images, videos or information that could impact significant decisions, outcomes, events, safety or livelihood of individuals, groups, societies. The lack of enforcement in these items has, and will continue to, hurt the world.


I urge someone, anyone, everyone, to help make the internet a more positive place for us to interact, educate, inform, and even recreate, as we are all reliant upon it now. We should not have to spend the rest of our lives always questioning the truth, each other, or ourselves online.  


I do not want to believe that human nature is bad. Or, predominantly bad, for that matter. But, that’s how it kinda feels now, or it’s what we’re led to believe. We don’t really like each other, and these daily modes of communication, be it social media, discussion boards, mainstream media, don’t really want us to like each other. They want us to hate them over there, and love us over here. And whoever those two groups are to you could be totally different from your neighbor’s, your friend’s, your doctor’s, your online role model’s. No two people have the exact same feeds, suggestions, targeted ads, or general media consumption; it’s easy to live on an information island, and it’s really easy to exploit that fact (those who choose to spread and/or promote the spread of affective falsehoods). What you might think others around you believe is almost impossible to actually know, unless you really take the time to discuss in person.


Whoever makes, handles, deals and distributes “The Truth” today is failing, and it’s fucking unacceptable


I use profanity as an irreplaceable means to convey how deeply upsetting it is to see a world plagued by lies, distrust, and fear. Violence. Pain. Suffering. Hated. These are daily feelings. And much, if not most of this, comes from or is perpetuated in large part by the screens that demand our eyes everyday. 


We need virtuous leaders, and virtuous examples. Neither seem to live at the forefront of our attention, but this does not mean they do not exist. 


So, to those who do exist: Fight harder. Now. Make yourself seen and heard. Scream through the Stifle. Get realer with people. Put more face-time in person. Shine brighter. Vibrate at a higher level. You don't need to push a negative narrative, just because everyone else is. The truth must prevail if we want to thrive as a species, and survive as a planet. 


Maybe the interworking of mass communication, technology and politics are far too complex, bureaucratic and/or gatekept for me to ever understand how they influence each other, and in turn influence us. After all, I’m just some dude. Maybe I’m missing a beat, and I’m calling for the wrong things at the wrong time. 


But, I stand by the sentiment in my message. The leaders and speakers we look up to should not be admired for pointing fingers, or for assuming strength by exposing their counterparts’ weaknesses, which primarily occurs online. We’ve let too many powerful people and groups set countless negative and dishonest examples of how to act online, with little or no repercussions at times. This has seemed to seep into the real world recently, as well. Why is this okay? Why do we fixate on upsetting or emotional words online, when real, impactful, devastating actions take place in person, all over the world, everyday?


This is just an open letter. I haven’t provided any real answers, or evidence. Only my observations and opinions. I simply want to spark (healthy) conversation. I am hopeful that you can provide some insight instead. Send this to a friend, or coworker of yours to read this, and maybe they too can help make sense of things. Or, (ideally) you guys can come to a place of understanding together. I’m hopeful that you, or someone close, knows how we can make our online examples, discourse, and verbal arenas better, and more honest, for all. If you do, please email me: jakelrome@gmail.com. I'm curious.


Or, if you simply want to disagree with my words, please feel free to also email me. I’m happy to hear where/why we differ. Some learning might happen there. I also accept trash talk, if that's what you really want to provide.


In general, the truth is morally/ethically always good. To me, it’s more than that. It's a necessity in the world of communication, and without it, my journalism degree will be worth less than it somehow already is. More importantly to others, the truth, or lack thereof, can mean life or death in today's climate. We need reliable truth to protect what little objectivity lies in our largely subjective lives. 


The “truth” is not a tool that can be used, shaped and/or shifted to confirm or protect the biases of an individual or group. The truth cannot always be convenient, simple and comfortable. The truth is a challenging, confrontational thing that requires critical thinking, open mindedness and civil discussion. The more subjectivity and emotion we attach to our truths, the less true they are.


I end with this:


People must face legal consequences for creating false narratives and/or messages that are spread en masse, framed as being truthful, or as the literal truth.  


Any influential, powerful, official person with any significant shred of authority or influence must only speak the truth for what it is, and for no other purpose. Otherwise, it is not quite the truth, and should be immediately reprimanded.  


The truth needs to reliably be the truth, and accessible to all. And if not, we the people need to know how to find it, and how to avoid its many deceitful counterparts online. 


The truth MUST become the true truth again, so how do we do it? 

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7 Comments


Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson
Apr 04

one of the best articles i’ve read. very provoking and thought inspiring and action driven. i feel directed after reading this and a fresh hunger for the world to see the truth. may we all find the truth and not hide it.

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Will Stenta
Will Stenta
Jan 12

Very well thought out Jake. Always enjoy hearing what you have to say, but this topic is VERY important. Thank you for having the bravery to share your thoughts.

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erikds1232001
Dec 30, 2023

A very well thought out and written masterpiece. You should be proud of yourself. If only more people were like these words of yours. Keep being you.

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Amrut Ayyala
Amrut Ayyala
Dec 20, 2023

Your voice shines as beautifully as it did many years ago as it does now. Love your thoughts and hope to read more from you Jake

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Kevin Ebrahimy
Kevin Ebrahimy
Dec 20, 2023

I wish I could put my thoughts into words like this. I hate reading but this was worth it. Beautiful

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