Thursday, June 5, 2008

Communication and Cyberspace

Seeing as how that was a massive reading (at least to me), I'm going to parse it down and focus on what I thought was the best excerpts, Specifically Jacobson's work in 9 and Dance in 10.

When Herb Schiller, as cited by Jacobson says on 163,

"Things that fundamentally are changing for the worse. Limiting access to information and the commercialization of public space are being presented as wonderful benefits in the offing. It's a sickening con game."

Schiller was years ahead of his time, but he was really speaking about 'Net Neutrality'

Save The Internet does a better job than me of explaining it, and I know we saw this in class a few days ago, but it is an issue that is worth repeating.

Yogizilla has some good posts on this, and you can find that blog here: Link

Jacobson concludes by speaking about McLuhan's Global Village and the need for people to realize the scale of this problem. Sure most Americans have heard of the Chinese Government's censorship of the Internet, but how many people remember this past fall right before the Pakistani elections when the Government declared Martial law and Turned off the web instantly leading to a blogger frenzy, spawning websites like this every where.

Another side effect during the Pakistan coup, was it crashed Youtube. thats right, Youtube, as a result of the Pakistani government messing with the interwebs, crashed the site for the the rest of the globe.

Dance in chapter 10 talks about Access on the Digital Divide- though his data is dated (he estimates only 300 million users online, where as now 1.4 BILLION people out of the 6.7 billion on the planet are estimated to have Internet Access, His point remains valid. The Internet is a commodity for the affluent, industrialized, educated, world- and though recently the trend is changing, Ageism prevents equal access to all potential users.

The breakdown in the system is the computer and the infrastructure necessary to use it with the Web. First you need a computing device or web ready cell phone, and secondly you need access to a network. Finally- you need the knowledge to put all those things together. My Father's use of Punch cards in 1970 at U of Western Michigan hardly qualifies him to be 'net saavy'.

The most relevant part of Dance's piece is this, on p177.

The Digital Divide will be closed as soon as people find an all important and irresistible reason to be on the web Q. What do most people find important and Irresistable? A. Other People.

Dance was darn right. People have created a viral desire to be interconnected with each other digitally. The more people who were online, the stronger the desire to join the community and get with the 'in crowd'. Message boards, chat, games, blogs, email, facebooking, myspaceing, Friendster, and Twitter- all serve ONE purpose. Allowing people to communicate as easily and efficiently as possible.

Lay aside all the risks, sales pitches, porn, political satire, and ads. The thing you are left with is people seeking people on common ground and sharing information. People desiring the opportunity to share themselves in some fashion- thats what the Internet really does.

That is what makes Net Neutrality so important- to impede a free Internet is to impede people from connecting to each other.

less of this:
More of This

and this:


Brian said...

I don't know where you find this stuff or where you find the time to put these blogs together, but way to go. They are pretty amazing multimedia displays.

As far as your content, I totally agree with your hypothesis about the purpose of the Internet, connecting people. It wasn't explicit in the videos but if the Internet was governed by corporations then it would widen the gap between the rich and poor. For all the good the Internet does it would be more accessible to the rich. An obvious point, I know, but should be mentioned. Also, I believe that corporations will not be so easily persuaded by the fact that just because it connects people should it not be payed for. If a market exists for better connections then their will be companies willing to offer that at a price. As a ridiculous analogy, it is like asking the airlines to wave their costs for the sake of bringing people together. In a capitalistic economy a buck will be made eventually on the services of connect-ability, sadly. I'm convinced. Thanks for another insightful and entertaining blog. The Ninja was good for a laugh.

mike's spot said...


thanks for the comment! I try to be interactive because I often have trouble expressing myself with only words, so I like to use graphics and such to help illustrate my points.

Your points are correct. I feel like we are on the door step of the printing press being taken away. . .if that makes sense.

what once made cheap, readily available information for everyone could very well be stripped away and given only to those on top of the power triangle.

Lance Strate said...

what strikes me about all this is how the bias of electronic communication is very much towards freedom and openness. This does not prevent folks from trying to go against the grain, of course, but it seems unnatural, while it does seem quite natural to have differences in pricing and distribution for print media--no one protests that a news stand doesn't carry every periodical and zine that's put out, or that a book store doesn't offer every book that's in print.