It is funny to me how culture can become so engrossed in something. Google has been in the news lately as they get banned from China, for refusing to censor their Hong Kong homebase (The Daily Mail, 03/30/3010, Mail Foreign Service). And through the use of their Google Earth program, wherein a deputy was able to faintly recognize a stolen good from Google's satellite image stream and arrest a Florida criminal (NBC Miami, 03/30/2010, T. Wright). These are just examples of Google in the news yesterday alone.
By no stretch of the mind is it conceivable to see that Google has infiltrated our modern society. I am tentative to say that I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing. Just noteworthy.
What really interests me about the internet's societal infiltration are the words which stem from it's use. How google, tweat, facebook, youtube, etc... have become verbs. You do not "use Google to search for photos of fish" you simply "google for photos of fish" - and people understand what you mean. If you were a space creature, or lived under a rock "googling for photos of fish" would sound to you like "flofphing for photos of fish".. some indiscernible baby talk. I understand that Google reached verb status because of its household nature but this is solely reserved for internet idioms. One does not say, "I'm walmarting groceries, today" because that would be a ludicrous statement that would surely invoke criticism BUT the same does not hold true for internet jargon. What is it that makes the web a separate world - truly a 'cyber' space unto itself which bypasses even the nationally accepted language rules? I don't have an answer for this.
I can speculate that, perhaps, people desire to buck the system and since the internet is unchecked in it's rules for use, it has become a perfect place for otherwise socially normal people to control previously uncontrollable cultural facets, like the aforementioned language. Or maybe because the internet started as an 'underground' culture it's rules for use are more lax and slang, therefore converting a business name to a verb is not unusual. Or maybe it just started as a joke to "google" something.. and eventually it just caught on and is no longer a strange phrase. The evolutionist that I am would tend to agree with the latter. I suppose the same train of social rule that goes along with terming all tissues as 'Kleenix' or all painkillers as 'Aspirin' is used for Google, as well. I would still like to Hair Cuttery my hair, however.
Either way, the internet with its ability to change the face of language in mere decades is an amazing social feat. It shows that our social rules are quick to change in the modern world. That almost anything can be rationalized to acceptance.
I will leave you with this to ponder: The root word of Twitter is twit. Dictionary.com defines twit as an "an insignificant or bothersome person" and in one slang case, "a stupid person". We all know Twitter is a way to instantaneously update others on their thoughts and actions. And, to me, this perfectly encapsulates the allure of the internet for our modern culture: a way for stupid people to fake fame by instantaneously updating meager readers with one-line stories about their insignificant lives. Anyone can be "famous" on the internet, so long as fame is defined as "being read" or "being updated on" or having the most views, comments, or likes. Fame is no longer based on abilities, whether in entertainment, athletic, scientific, or political achievements. Society has come to consider fame as synonymous with being watched (Kate Gosselin, anyone?) Culture is more than ever ruled by voyeurism.
Now, webcam, I am ready for my close up.