This item was originally posted on CEMP's Interactive Media Portal on 16 February, 2006.
World goes to Gulag hell in an AJAX-skin handbag.
No it isn’t April 1st. CBS has a story today about The Communist Web in which the author is pretty contemptuous of ideas like self-realisation (that’s just ‘narcissism’), and argues that democratisation of media only leads to the ‘flat noise of opinion’. The destruction of elite media structures will, apparently, mean nothing of any quality ever being made again.
Posted by Andrew Newman on 17 February, 2006 at 00:16:40
Quality won’t disapear it will just be harder to find, any way who defines quality? It could be argued that without the need to generate revenue for greedy shareholders, the quality of media might improve.. the elite media structures produce some of the lowest quality (in my perception of the term)programming in the media sphere today.
The web 2.0 and the whole debate that surrounds this fictional and very clever rebranding, reminds me of a very similar debate that surrounded the invention of the printing press, although there was no instance reaction to the introduction of the printed over time it resulted in social reform as the population gradually moved away from pre-print ( late middle age social / economical)structures of thought, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau Bentram and Kant among others lead the social reform, and the idea of the social contract or agreement was formed.
At present, I can’t help but feel that we as society today (feel free to disagree) are at the same cross roads, trying to apply current ethics and social moral and ecnomical systems to the web, indeed they may act as an band aid while we work out future paths, it would seem in the long run, new systems will have to be developed,debated and adopted a process which started in the late 80’s and continues today.
I feel at present to use a cliche term i’m part of “Digital Society Beta” as I sit here in a transitional stage between the old and next level of social reform.
Posted by Andrew Newman on 17 February, 2006 at 01:07:42
Sorry went a bit of subject there..
question: is the term web 2.0 just a clever rebranding of an evolving medium can we really label the web in version numbers?
Posted by Andrew Newman on 17 February, 2006 at 01:11:01
CEMP btw scored 2 out of 44..
Yes I have to much time on my hands.
Posted by Mike on 17 February, 2006 at 09:53:37
When I ran this site it scored 4 out of 44. Do we see this as a good thing? :-P
Posted by Joe on 17 February, 2006 at 13:17:13
I think you’re right that there are parallels with the invention of the printing press, though the kind of time-scales we’re talking here are worlds apart.
Martin Luther used the printing press to directly challenge the authority of the Catholic Church, who were at the time in a position to monopolise written discourse and access to education. The revolution (poor word since it implies it happened quickly) that the printing press brought about certainly drove the increasing literacy of the general population, though even to this day, the number of people who get to be producers of written discourse (ie authors in print) is tiny, and controlled by the publishing industry.
Now, with the web, it is easy for us to say this this is once again revolutionising access to written discourse, and technologies that get described as web2.0 are certainly contributing to that in a real way, notwithstanding the general hype surrounding the term.
However, we can’t overlook the fact that many people are still ‘consumers’ of discourse in the public domain, rather than ‘producers’. So for all that we say that something like flickr is enabling the ‘ordinary people’ to be producers of discourse, the actual overwhelming demographic of people contributing to the web2.0 ‘noise of opinion’ are still a fairly elite, techno-literate, affluent section of the world’s population (and possibly they have too much time on their hands).
And also, how do most people really spend their time on the internet? Looking at jokes and amusing videos? Although the web allows me to read the viewpoint of a women living in Iraq, and therefore subvert the traditional news gatekeepers, how many internet users do the same? Or even want to?
That said, Pew Internet’s study of teenagers last December said that about half of them had ‘produced’ content for the web, whether it’s just contributing to a forum, writing a blog or sharing images.
In light of that, I’d say Andrew Keen (author of CBS’s piece above), is right to hold his bowels in anticipation of his kind being swept out of their dominant positions. But does he really think that a contemporary talent equivalent to Hitchcock wouldn’t find an audience?
In answer to Andrew’s question, I think that the term is getting a lot of hype – but it does point at something real. Over the last two or three years, there has been a real movement to cause what we would normally call websites (ie authored by one person or group) to become heteroglossic (aggregating distributed content). It’s just that that aggregated content doesn’t always represent a large variety of social voices. I mean, _I_read Global Voices, but I’m a white, middle-class, well-educated, university-lecturer, theory-specialist with a professional interest in the variety of voices on the web. My kid brother prefers to hang out in game forums and my sister chats in myspace (and all power to them) and think my internet stuff is boring :)
Posted by Mike on 17 February, 2006 at 13:56:39
Several RRS feeds reported today that DVDs now outsell music and video games. And I’ll wager that most of these DVDs are not bought for their interactive content, or to allow home editing into new media forms. The passive consumer-viewer is alive and well and keeps on spending.
It’s very easy to overstate the impact of new technology, especialy when you are one of the few being transformed. Most people are just not interested in writing a blog and have little reason to. It might be a disturbing form of elitism to suggest that they should, or that they are somehow being manipulated just because they don’t.
Posted by Andrew Newman on 17 February, 2006 at 16:35:18
I agree there seems to be a digital divide… people at the end of the day want to be entertained the desire has been around for thousands of years, stories will always be told and passed on through media.
As i refered to in my comments on iteractive tv, most of population are happy to let others choose what they watch and consume, the same influnces seem to exsist on the web.
Blogs appeal to thoose who wish to interact allowing people to author content in the public sphere devoid of the control / influnce of traditional gate keepers.
After all, we as a society will always have the urge to escape into linear story telling after all don’t all of the most successful as in popular computer games have predefined limitations, the character, the arena, the tools choosen all have been developed by the few for the many.. even with online games, the few, (digital ellite, or game geeks) acquire the knowledge to change elements (hacks) to enhance or develope new features for the many..
Guess what i’m trying to say is that we will always be need for entertainment and escapism (Passive consumer-viewer) and there will always be the few, the storytellers ( mainly middle-class, educated), who set the narative for the many..
After all how many people in UK alone don’t even have a internet connection or have no desire to do so.
Now back to the dissy.
Posted by Gareth on 20 February, 2006 at 16:48:21
However, we canâ€™t overlook the fact that many people are still â€˜consumersâ€™ of discourse in the public domain, rather than â€˜producersâ€™. ——————————————————————————-
(it is possible to quote in textile)
I think this is rapidly changing, del.icio.us is a good early example of how the average web user can create their own discourse (perhaps even without them knowing it). del.icio.us allows me to subscribe to userâ€™s RSS feeds which is generated by them simple undertaking normally browsing habits (in this case bookmarking)
While I agree that services like del.icio.us are currently and perhaps always will be the sole domain of the techno-literate, this type folksonomy has the ability to move into the mainstream.
A simple example already in practice:
Anyone who has used Amazon has contributed to a collaborative discourse. The items you buy provide recommendations for other Amazon shoppers. This type of unconscious production of discourse makes everyone who has shopped at Amazon a producer. Tivo is one of the first â€˜offlineâ€™ examples and there will be no doubt many more in the future.
The metadata we unconsciously create everyday offline and online is just waiting to be harnessed, filtered and remixed.