The Scholz reading started with a bit of history about the net and how it started with just 4 university nodes as a Department of Defense project called ARPANET. Originally its intended purpose was to do complex calculations and such, but the unintended use of ARPANET was the ability to communicate with each other. In the early 90’s ARPANET was taken over by the national science foundation and soon web 2.0 was born out of this. First though a new agreed upon computer language was needed, as well as a new protocol and that became TCP/IP. The internet slowly moved toward commercialism and what used to be the internet full of individually designed websites transformed into corporate service platforms. This led to the subsequent dot com boom and crash. Though activists did recognize the participatory potential of the commercial services and this fact proved to be useful for activists. A good example of this is Salam Pax who was writing about living in Iraq in 2003 or the Facebook group “support the Monk’s protest in Burma.” Towards the end of the article Scholz brings up a good counter point to digital activism saying that it is nothing more than ‘slacktivism’ and that people participating by doing nothing but clicking a button online actually has little or no offline effect at times.
The Turner reading focused its attention on the emergence of the personal computer and that the generation of people who lived in the 60’s were largely involved in the computer revolution. He also says that ideas of counter culture were applied to these personalized computers. Turner talks about the contributions by Stewart Brand in making the first personal computer, as well as the program EIES. This program would allow people to have a discussion on any topic through using their computers. The guys like Stuart Brand and Steve Jobs along with the companies like Micrsoft and Apple were considered to be the return of the counter culture. He also touches on the rise of hackers and how their goals were not menacing, but rather was to share computer programs and codes.
There are similarties between the two readings, but Scholz is arguing more that the internet is this commercialized monster while Turner is arguing that the Internet was driven by ideas from the counter culture. I personally think Scholz’s reading is more on base, while Turner’s ideas about counter culture are not as accurate though he makes some very good points.
My question to the class has to do with internet activism. Has anyone been apart of an activist Facebook group and than further participated in offline activism because you were apart of the online group?