In a year where I have started writing this blog, made several YouTube videos and released an iPhone app, the ease of access to a large audience that is afforded by computers and the internet has become apparent to me.
It has become cheaper for anyone to produce professional-quality video and internet propaganda to match government propaganda than ever before. This is our Gutenberg moment.
This article from the Guardian from October about the propaganda produced by ISIS was a very interesting read that I have just found this week:
Just as Islamic State (Isis) has used captured American artillery against its enemies in Iraq, so it is using the west’s media tools and techniques against it. Isis has proved fluent in YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, internet memes (see: #catsofjihad) and other social media.
I haven't been surprised by the rise of ISIS but I have been surprised that they have endured. They seem to endure because of a hatred and misunderstanding of the West. I believe that this is happening because we can narrow our media consumption to only include ideas we agree with.
In many national newspapers, I might see viewpoints that differ from my own and challenge my preconceived ideas. On the internet, however, I can shut those ideas out completely.
Tools like the internet should be giving people access to more varied viewpoints and helping to bring people together. Instead, people avoid seeing dissenting views, amplifying the effect of propaganda.