Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Effect of the Internet and other Technologies on the UFO movement

In the article "Internet Killed the Alien Star", Douglas Kern contends that the reason the UFO movement, which was so big in the 90s, has been largely killed off these days, is because of the internet and other recent technological developments, such as camera phones.

He cites the following reasons. I don't think the article provides solid evidence that these are the sole or magor reasons, but it seems credible to me that they are important factors.

With webcams and camera phones everywhere, why is there still zero tangible evidence? With improved communications technologies -- including cell phones and instant messaging systems -- it ought to be possible to summon throngs of people to witness a paranormal event, and yet such paranormal events don't seem to happen very often these day.

The instant publishing capability of the internet removes a lot of credibility from the idea that there are conspiracies to suppress UFO information. With the internet it would be pretty difficult to stop its dissemination -- such as something snapped on a camera phone and instantly published -- so if it exists, where is it?

The speed and ease of information dissemination means that hoaxes get uncovered much faster -- though he doesn't explain exacly why this is -- and so does news of this. The notion that UFO material may be falsified/hoaxed is much easier for people to swallow these days. He notes that on the internet "wild rumors and dubious pieces of evidence are quick to circulate, but quickly debunked".

He doesn't mention this, but I also wonder whether the prevalence of email scams has made people more critical (as I've considered previously)?

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