Category Archives: Section IV

Social Networking Technology: New Public Sphere

                Danah Boyd examines the phenomenon of mediated public life, what kind of characteristics it has and how it is different from traditional public life. Today’s youth engaging in public life through social networks sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo. In his article Boyd examines “social dynamics of mediated public life” in order to understand the role of technology in shaping public life. Continue reading

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‘The L(o)ng Revolution’ and ‘Scroogled’

Introduction

In 1974 Raymond Williams wrote an essay about the impact of television on society, “Television: Technology and Cultural Form.” In it, he expressed concern that while television had the ability to offer “extreme social choices” and could potentially lead to a “more educated and participatory democracy,” it also has the ability to further limit and regionalize the way we think and interact with one another to the few choices offered to us by large corporations and institutions.

In today’s reading, “The Lo(n)g Revolution: the Blogosphere as an alternative Public Sphere?”, Anna Notaro begins with this excerpt from Williams’ article in order to put her own into context. While Williams’ assertions are seemingly out-of-date, they can be reapplied to the technology of today, which is the Internet. Her goal for this essay is to explore the political implications of the Internet and she wonders whether the Internet will remain a delimited public arena in which intellectual exchange freely flows between ordinary people, or become highly monitored and limited by potentially anti-democratic values. She concentrates on the “blogosphere” in particular (a term coined by William Quick in 2001 to refer to the “intellectual cyperspace” that bloggers inhabit), and its role in relation to “the intersection between technological change and a reformulation of the public sphere.” Continue reading

Our Digital Persons: Blogs and Google

This weeks readings were Anna Notaro’s “The Lo(n)g Revolution: the Blogosphere as an alternative Public Sphere?” and Cory Doctorow’s Google fiction “Scroogled.”

In “The Lo(n)g Revolution: the Blogosphere as an alternative Public Sphere?” Anna Notaro suggests during this period of never-ending technological advances and the expansiveness of Internet, that we are entering a time where the blogosphere is not just an alternative but, instead, is the new public sphere. Notaro reminds us, however, that we are often clouded by a naïve excitement in the hope that the internet will be an ideal agent for social change and “true” democracy, but we must wait to see if it will live up to its potential.

So how do blogs play a key role in this idea of public discourse, professionalism, and political communication? Continue reading

The Mass Amateurization of Social Communication

In Clay Shirky’s book, Here Comes Everybody, he examines the dynamics of group organization in social, cultural, and political fields, as described in the previous post “Cooperative Frameworks.” Shirky goes beyond this notion in the proceeding chapters and explores the capabilities that new media have given to the user and the ways in which individuals have appropriated new media tools and applied it to collective action.  “Cooperative Frameworks” provides a contextual platform on which Shirky builds his next points regarding self-publishing and collective action via the Web.

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The Shift to Social Communication

In Here Comes Everybody and the lecture “How Social Media Can Make History,” Clay Shirky elaborates on the impact of social technologies and the shift that occurred in the media environment.  Ever since the popularization of the Internet, media has become more social.  Shirky declares on the cover of his book, “revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies—it happens when society adopts new behaviors” (160).  In his book and lecture, Shirky reveals how new technologies—such as the Internet and its features like e-mail and websites—allow for society to adopt new behaviors.  These technologies did not cause the changes in society’s behaviors; these technologies empowered society to adopt the changes.

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Cooperative Frameworks

In the book Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky explores the profound impact that the loosely structured group has on society.  The ease at which these groups, free of managerial frameworks, can be formed today is rapidly changing the institutional landscape.

In 2006, a woman named Ivanna left her phone in the back of a New York City cab.  She asked her friend, Evan Guttman to offer a reward for its return by e-mailing a message that would show up on the phone.  Eventually, Evan set up a website about the missing phone which prompted several significant events: Continue reading

Networks; The Power of Hubs

How do some  webpages on the Internet become so ubiquitous that we are rarely ever less than two short links away from viewing that page? How have some webpages become so popular among the hundreds of billions of webpages that are on the Internet currently, not to mention the new ones that pop up almost every second? More importantly how do certain pages become the centre for web activity and lead us to other pages within their network? Albert-Lázló Barabási explored these questions about networks and the organization/disorganization of interconnectivity within his Chapter titled Hubs and Connectors .

Barabási begins the piece by explaining both the power and importance of links within the web. Quite simply the larger number of Continue reading