Marshall McLuhan: McLuhan is known for coining the expressions "the medium is the message" and "the global village" and predicted the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented.
In the early 1960s, McLuhan wrote that the visual, individualistic print culture would soon be brought to an end by what he called "electronic interdependence": when electronic media replace visual culture with aural/oral culture. In this new age, humankind will move from individualism and fragmentation to a collective identity, with a "tribal base." McLuhan's coinage for this new social organization is the global village.
Whereas print media tend to fragment society, the new electronics technology, particularly the television with its mass availability, will effect a web of interdependence that can unite humanity in a "global village."
See also: Marshall McLuhan Foresees The Global Village
Charles Leadbetter: We-Think / Creativity - His most recent book, We-Think, explores the new phenomenon of mass creativity exemplified by web sites such as YouTube, Wikipedia and MySpace. The book, which in a preliminary version is open to public criticism and revision, argues that participation, rather than consumption or production, will be the key organizing idea of future society.
In Contrast, Andrew Keen's The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture
His 2007 book is a critique of the enthusiasm surrounding user generated content, peer production, and other Web 2.0-related phenomena.
Also in contrast, Morozov: How democracy slipped through the net (Guardian article)
The author of The Net Delusion has serious doubts about the web's ability to bring change to oppressive regimes – and he's inspiring a new generation of cyber-sceptics
EXtractfrom the article:
As we sit and talk in a cafe near Capitol Hill in Washington, Morozov admits rather sheepishly that in the beginning he was himself a passionate believer in the democratising potential of the web. After school, he moved to Bulgaria with the benefit of a grant from George Soros's Open Society Institute and then worked for an NGO in Berlin. He even become one of the first to use the term "Twitter revolution" at the time of the protests in Moldova in April 2009.
"It was hard not to be infected by a sense of optimism and excitement about the freedom agenda that was around at that time. I genuinely thought it was making a difference. Democracy appeared to be advancing and marching, and the web 2.0 seemed to be part of it, bringing people on to the streets."
Then when Tehran erupted, Morozov had a deepening sense that the claims being made for the internet as a pro-democracy force were being wildly exaggerated. In his book, he points his finger at those he accuses of hype, or as he puts it "cyber-utopianism" such as New York University's Clay Shirky – "this is it, the big one, the first revolution transformed by social media [...]
That failure has allowed authoritarian governments to develop their own presence on the web, to powerful effect. Initially, the techniques used were blunt and unsophisticated, such as the Chinese government's decision simply to turn off the internet for 10 months in 2009 amid the growing unrest in Xinjiang. But over time dictators and oligarchs have become adept at fine-tuning their methods..."
Jeff Jarvis's extract: A Hippocratic oath for the internet
There have been many attempts to craft bills of rights for the net, from the Association for Progressive Communications, to a group of Chinese intellectuals, to the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition, to the Brazillian Internet Steering Committee, to the Facebook users who wrote a set of social rights. There is much good thinking there. I offer mine to add to the discussion, broadening it, I hope, to embrace not only the openness of the internet but also the principles of publicness (I go into these in greater depth in my book):I. We have the right to connect.
II. We have the right to speak.
III. We have the right to assemble and to act.
IV. Privacy is an ethic of knowing.
V. Publicness is an ethic of sharing.
VI. Our institutions’ information should be public by default, secret by necessity.
VII. What is public is a public good.
VIII. All bits are created equal.
IX. The internet must stay open and distributed.
Marxist Media Theory: Gramsci, Althusser and hegemony (+ Fiske)
Gramsci used the term hegemony to denote the predominance of one social class over others (e.g. bourgeois hegemony). This represents not only political and economic control, but also the ability of the dominant class to project its own way of seeing the world so that those who are subordinated by it accept it as 'common sense' and 'natural'. Commentators stress that this involves willing and active consent. Common sense, suggests Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, is 'the way a subordinate class lives its subordination'.
As Fiske puts it, 'Consent must be constantly won and rewon, for people's material social experience constantly reminds them of the disadvantages of subordination and thus poses a threat to the dominant class... Hegemony... posits a constant contradiction between ideology and the social experience of the subordinate that makes this interface into an inevitable site of ideological struggle'
And to finish on a slightly different note...
Twitter power: how social networking is revolutionising the music business
A&R men and other traditional insiders bypassed as new sites connect artists directly to fans (Guardian article)
"But with the number of independent record stores in terminal decline and the boundaries of the internet limitless, online music social networks have sprung up to meet the demands of gregarious music lovers who want to share ideas and loves. Tuesday sees the launch of The Pic-Nic Village, a new social networking site created by Pete Lawrence, founder of the Big Chill festival, which will be funded and run entirely by its users – the most recent of a wave of music social networking sites that is revolutionising the way people discover music. The new social network Meanwhile Ping, launched last week and based on iTunes, has already attracted more than 1 million users, according to Apple..."