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3 Responses to About

  1. Drew Daniel says:

    Week 2
    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?

    Drew Daniel

  2. ControverCi says:

    Week 5 Post (I have no idea how to post on the main interface)

    As we have discussed, Facebook, Twitter and blogging have become central to obtaining and sharing political knowledge. What does the use of these mediums mean for political campaigns and social activism? Karpf tackles a question I have had about what I like to call “twitter revolutionaries.” Exactly how effective are these campaigns in mobilizing the people toward getting what they want? Karpf introduces two metrics, the tactical (traffic, readership, following, etc.) and the strategic. In the past, I have thought that the strategic portion has a great potential in getting lost in the misleading tactical measures (hits, followers, friends, etc.). The tactical metric can be misleading and shallow support based on reading and following do not gain the campaign any strategic support. As Karpf argues, tactical measures alone do not measure the success of a campaign as they must be put into context for each situation. Karpf states,

    Measures of success are not as
    simple as “How many people signed our online petition?” Rather,
    they require an understanding of the existing power structure and
    a theory of change that explains how a given activist campaign is
    intended to a”ect that structure. Only once those conditions have
    been satisfied can the key metrics of success be identified.

    Pasek et al. (2009) correctly hypothesized that “young people using the Internet for information will exhibit higher levels of civic engagement, political knowledge, and interpersonal trust than non-users.” The researchers in this study suggest that Internet use can build “social capital.” Although the study was inconclusive of this point, it is important to note that more specific sit-based research with the inclusion of Twitter must be done to further engage this notion of gaining social capital. With Karpf’s ideas in mind, we must question what that means on a strategic level.

    I can not conclude that either study made me feel that the Internet alone can be the cause of a “revolution,” but both studies solidly show that online engagement is influential and has the power to create change– the question that remains is how/what the change will translate and what it will look like (within the given context of each movement/campaign) in terms of effectiveness/success.

  3. emdobrow says:

    Week 5 Post
    Pasek’s Realizing the Social Internet? Online Social Networking Meets Offline Social Capital (2009) is primarily interested in the association between social capital (civic engagement, political knowledge, and interpersonal trust) and social networking sites (SNS), specifically Facebook and MySpace. According to Pask et al’s (2009) findings, “Facebook use is strongly related to greater civic engagement and political knowledge (14).”
    When reading this article and specifically the mentioned relationship between Facebook and political knowledge, I immediately thought about Chapter 2 from Praiser‘s (2011) The Filter Bubble, “The User is the Content,” and Bashty’s presentation about social media and the effects of personalization. The Filter Bubble discusses the progression towards websites’ and more specifically, social media’s pervasive use of tailoring content to each user based on algorithms. Both Praiser and Bashty (2013) agree that these algorithms “naturally constrain the diversity of content,” especially because our friends online most likely have more similar views as we do.
    Although the algorithm on Facebook is consistently evolving, it is unarguable that it has affected what we are exposed to and what we are not exposed to on the site. Despite Pasek et al’s (2006) finding of a strong positive relationship between Facebook and political knowledge, it seems that now the use of the algorithm would actually inhibit greater political knowledge.

    Do you believe that the advancement of Facebook’s personalization algorithm could facilitates or inhibits greater political knowledge? Why/Why not?

    Additionally, because Pasek (2009) proposes that “the nature of the users, functionality, and history of a given website have the potential to emphasize certain traits among individuals who engage with the site,” and Praiser (2011) posits that Facebook is more likely to expose you to posts that are more similar to your own views, do you believe that social capital or its outcomes could be discerned by political party affiliation? Why/Why not?

    Pasek, J., More, E., & Romer, D. (2009) Realizing the Social Internet? Online Social Networking Meets Offline Civic Engagement. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 6(3/4), pp. 197-215. [T]
    Pariser, E. (2011) The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You. Penguin Press: New York. [T]
    [Introduction, Chapters 2, 4, & 5]

    September 23rd – Filtering Out the Important?
    [Special Guest: Eytan Bakshy from Facebook]

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