That’s not one of the promised posts but anyway I’d like to share a few thought after reading a series of articules about the internet and discovering what some people may think about the network. I am aware that the articles I’ve read are biased sample but nonetheless I belive that they still worth to read to find out what people may think about the internet.
I am sorry for lack of the exact quotes or references but I was unable to find them. They were spread over several weeks and I found only paid archives so I am not able to pinpoint exact newspapers.
One of the articles spoke about Wikileaks and tried to compare the current situation to 1968 stating that the current internet is too one-contact-only to provide platform for revolution giving as an example a message from twitter which makes one time contact and that
the revolution needs continuity.
I belive that there are 2 problems with such analysis. First of all I’m not quite sure how many contacts are one-time-only. Arguably one of the most popular site on the internet, Facebook, is based rather on the continous contacts rather then one time. Some studies indicates that the our core groups involve around 4-5 people. Setting aside the social networks any other communications involve known people – you relativly rarely send e-mail to stranger.
Secondly the internet is not homogenious. According to wikipedia
This was the first generation to grow up with television in their homes. (…) Chain stores and franchised restaurants were bringing shared shopping and dining experiences to people in different parts of the world. These factors all combined to create a generation that was more self-aware and more united as a group than the generations before it. – in other words it was the beginning of the mass market. However the internet seems to be somehow the end of mass market in some sense as it allows the comeback of the niches.
While it may not unify the revolution it provides platforms for revolution as it connects similar-minded people. You can find communities of the conservatives, socialists, libertatian, anarchists of all kinds etc. For some ideologies it is primary platform of propagation. Recent events in Egypt and Algieria had shown that it is useful tool in this role.
I don’t want to imply that revolution will actually happen. The article was more interesting as what people think about the internet from outside then the revolution itself.
PS I have writted main part of article on 14 of January. Therefore it speak about wikileaks as “recent events”. I decided eventually to post it now – especially in context of the events in Egypt and Algerial world. I don’t want to discuss what actually happened there and what are the consequences – the important part from this post POV is that internet proved to be useful as a platform.