Beyond the Blogosphere: Information and Its Children

Beyond the Blogosphere: Information and Its Children

Beyond the Blogosphere: Information and Its Children

Beyond the Blogosphere: Information and Its Children

Synopsis

In the competing traditions of Marshall McLuhan and Langdon Winner, authors Aaron Barlow and Robert Leston take readers on a revealing tour of the Internet "after" the explosion of the blogosphere and social media. In the world "Beyond the Blogosphere," information has surpassed its limits, the distinction between public and private selves has collapsed, information is more untrustworthy than it ever was before, and technology has exhibited a growth and a "desire" that may soon exceed human control.

As Langdon Winner pointed out long ago, "tools have politics." In an eye-opening journey that navigates the nuances of the cultural impact the internet is having on daily life, Barlow and Leston examine the culture of participation in order to urge others to reconsider the view that the Internet is merely a platform or a set of tools that humans use to suit their own desires. Provocative and engaging, "Beyond the Blogosphere" stands as a challenge on how to rethink the Internet so that it doesn't "out-think" us.

Excerpt

People began to take notice of Web 2.0 in 2004, the year of the blog. As a result, American Individualism began to take a major hit. The pressure of the crowd started to be felt even in our most private places.

There have always been periods of collective strength resulting in movements for social change in American history, so we should not have been surprised to see the power of grassroots organization rise up once again. But this time something was different.

The opening lines of the U.S. Constitution continue to be a rallying cry for Americans, guaranteeing certain “inalienable rights” for each individual. Today, we understand these to apply to every person regardless of race, sex, or creed. What carries the “spirit” in this document is that each human, because of his or her humanity, is equal at a level of nature. Consistent with Rousseauian “rights of man,” each individual American has the right to better his or her own life; the rules and laws are made not to favor any one group or individual over another. Throughout the course of U.S. history, movements for social change, such as abolishment of slavery, equal rights for women, and civil rights were all movements where the collective organized so that each member of the group could share in the American ideal. Collective organization had always occurred in order to empower the individual.

How much easier would it have been for past freedom fighters to organize if they had the communication tools that we have today? How many more people would have gotten involved? At the same time, how much . . .

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