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Democratic or subversive new media

2011, March 6

Twitter

Although it’s probably not so new any more, as you can probably guess from the feed opposite, I have been investing a bit of time in getting to know what all this “tweeting” is about. I have had an account for some time but have not made active use of it. On the recent holidays, a friend (thanks DW), introduced me to the more, shall we say, “subversive” uses to which this new medium can be put which sparked my interest in it a bit more than previously—especially in the context of political debate. This approach is certainly far more interesting than the non-stop commercially-oriented prattle they appear to me to have been hijacked for initially, and indeed, still often are.

There is no doubt that all the activity in the Middle East of late and often-cited role of social media in the events there (the so-called Facebook Revolution) has renewed my interest. For these outlets to have this alleged role, they have to have reached a critical mass for impact. If they are increasing democratic opportunities, especially where there is a clear deficit—then long and fast may they develop. Having said that, it has been rightly pointed out that revolutions have always sought to harness new technology, from the Reformation and the printing press to the Ayatollah distributing tapes, this won’t be the last time we’ll be citing the connection between mass communications and change.

It also occurs to me that that, particularly in the  case of the virtual avian variety in this space, they really have the ability to dice events and messages into the most simple textural format (reminds me of the attempt to “WAP” the web some years ago that really never reached any level of serious usage). Again, no bad thing—far too much waffle being distributed—present page most assuredly excluded, I’m sure you will agree!

So, democratic or subversive, that is the question? Well, we can be both—one man’s democratic expression is subversion to another.

From → Technology

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