Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Are we any different online?

According to the optimists, the internet is here to radically change ourselves and our world. Take Negroponte's claim that online it is no longer about your age, your race or your hair color. Since the internet is global, so we will become.

But things might be a bit more nuanced than this. For instance, this survey of why we participate online shows that most of our online presence is to send messages to each other (read friends you already have, unless you are in the online dating game) and to download and upload music and videos. It is true, some of us blog. But as I can attest, this is a fashion and not all the bloggers out there are actually saying anything meaningful (me included).

The interesting part for me was to see how we make sense of our own participation. Unfortunately, the survey author does engage with this here (but you may check this link he sent me for more info), but it seems to me that we merely replicate a globalist/ optimist discourse about the internet. With the risk of being paternalistic, I'm wondering to what extent this discourse about how the internet is connecting us and turning us into a global society, empowering our everyday lives is not merely a discourse we've borrowed without truly examining what our everyday lives look like...

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites