Wilheim asks a productive question in his essay on democratization of new media. For this post, share your thoughts on what does “democratization of new media” mean? What is the new frontier of civil rights? what is the key thesis underlying Wilheim’s argument on inequality (pg. 59–62)? In what sense is education central to the issue (p. 62–62)? What are the challenges and what role can internet voting and e-government play?
In his chapter “Who will we be in cyberspace,” Winner raises some interesting questions. He encourages us to think about how our identity as American’s has shaped our unquestioning embrace of technology and cautions us about being vigilant about how technological artifacts shape our material practices.
In about a 100 words for each question, address the questions below paying attention to (a) Winner’s key argument, and (b) your informed stance based on the principles of self-expression, consent of the governed, the need for virtual communities, and what these should look like, and how do we achieve the principles of a democratic society in a virtual community.
1. What key factors shaped the American identity? How are these relevant today?
2. What are some key questions Winner encourages use to consider? Would you add any to the list? Why? Would any of those questions be redundant today in your opinion? How so?
3. What are the implications of the digital transformation of our society for different groups of people/ occupations/ ways of living? Can you add any groups or aspects that have been omitted or have become salient since Winner’s writing of the book?
4. What are some issues that we as informed consumers/critical producers of technology should be aware of? Why is it important for us to be aware of these issues?
5. What is Winner’s key thesis? To what extent do you agree? How would your argument on this issue look like?
Reflect on the “Archiving our Facebook Selves” article on our syllabus (E-Reserves per Feb 26 reading) as you examine your own FB identity online through the content posted/shared over the last 8–12 weeks or so. Share your thoughts here as a comment in a couple of sentences responding to the following questions:
- How does Boyd and Ellison’s definition of a social network (SNS) (p. 26) apply to you FB experience?
- Explain Toffler’s idea of the “modular man” (p. 26, last para). To what extent do you think it reflects your relationships? Do you think you have met more people today than you would have if you were not on SNS’s?
- How do SNS’s modify our idea of a friendship? (p. 29). Giving examples from your FB usage, do you agree (or not) with Barry Wellman’s idea that “Computer-supported social networks sustain strong, intermediate, and weak ties that provide information and social support in both specialized and broad-based relationships…Computer mediated communication accelerates the ways in which people operate at the center of partial, personal communities, switching rapidly and frequently between groups of ties.” How so?
- The article finds FB (and perhaps, like our class example today, Tinder and Match.com) may be “changing the way that people create new relationships” (p. 32). Give an example supporting or refuting this from your SNS experience.
- Reflect on the article’s assertion that “FB allows an alternative contact medium which facilitates maintaining contacts with seemingly more people than before, such as old school and university friends who would have previously been lost as they move to different parts of the country, abroad, or take on new jobs.” (p. 35). What are your thoughts on the nature of such links and relationships and how these are different from old-times face-to-face village square relationships.
- (P. 35, last para) The authors say, “A ‘diary’ has two meanings–the first reflects the capability to store one’s contacts…The other provides a reflection of the individual’s life, e.g., a record of what they have been doing today, who with and why.” Comment on the dormant nature of our FB contacts and how it influences FB as a relational technology as “these contacts can be monitored and potentially reactivated” (p. 36). How is FB an archive of our lives?