Descartes, considered rationalism’s father, was tormented trying to discover what was true and what a mere speculation. The same as we do when looking for something on the Internet anyway. He needed a good bunch of justifications and reasonings. There are 3 chapters of the “Discours de la Méthode” before getting the well known Cogito ergo sum, aka I think therefore I am. Even if it seems just a truism now. Do we need to summon him again to understand the concept of net-existence? Could we segregate the truth from the info-rubbish?
The net-existence issue
To net-exist (or exist in the network) is actually pretty easy. Does not force you to exhibit any massive intellectual behavior. The prerequisite is just ‘I am linked therefore I am’ or better ‘I can be googled therefore I am’. With the Internet being a mirror of ‘outside world’ just preparing to exceed it, it is enough to do something publicly, the most trivial registrable to exist to Google. And knowing Google’s appreciation for the social networks this means it is enough to open an account on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to be in the network.
The net-truth issue
Regarding the truth problem, Descartes used a dirty trick. A little bit later the cogito ergo sum, he used God. How to be sure his sensations were real? First, he demonstrated God existence, something no one objected. And then he said God consequently doesn’t allow your senses to cheat you. And what about now? In this atheistic era, who is going to assure me the trueness of any piece of information? Wikipedia, Bro! the incarnate intersubjectivity (I suppose Larry Sanger –one of the 2 Wikipedia’s daddies- has something planned when he flirted in his PHD thesis with Cartesian subjects)