Layne Steele Paddon
Scholz’s “Infrastructure: Its Transformation and Effect on Digital Activism” succinctly summarizes the evolution of the internet from a military tool to a method of communication allowing millions of individuals to share any and all information simultaneously and constantly. Early computers were not meant to function as a communication device. However, the 1990’s marked the decentralization of the internet. Shortly there after computers became a personal soap box. Although the internet was commercialized and dominated by major corporations, it is a personal, information-sharing platform for all.
Turner’s “From Counter Culture to Cyber Culture” Chapter 4 essentially credits the counterculture of the 1960’s and 1970’s for the rise of the internet. He argues that individuals want to share all information (even remedial nonsense), all information is highly valuable, and the government should not dictate what information individuals decide to share via the internet (counterculture rebellion).
In comparison, the readings are essentially coming from opposite ends of the spectrum. Scholz primarily argues that the internet is a commercialized power house (and discusses the positives). On the other hand, Turner consistently names counterculture and the desire for personalization as the driving force behind the internet.
With that being said, one outstanding similarity crosses both articles, the evolution of personal information sharing with the rise of the internet. Both authors suggest that the internet is in part largely successful because there are no restrictions, essentially all possess the same opportunity to broadcast their strongest, uncensored opinion to millions of others. All clamor for the addicting empowerment. However, at what point does the empowerment of broadcasting information and opinions over the internet dissipate and lose meaning as the communication of such emotion is via a computer rather than literal action?