Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, January 29, 2011

You Are Not There

No matter how many times you hiccup into the silly twitterverse.


Martin said...

@dalec I may not be there, but they are on my proxy. #jan25 #sidibouzid

Martin said...

BTW, Twitter is what you make of it. You can choose to follow people who talk about their breakfast cereal or you can follow CNN and Al Jazeera. I share your disdain for Facebook, but Twitter has a lot more potential. For me, it's a constant source of up-to-the-minute links to news articles and blog posts. While limited in original content, it's a *discovery source* for new and relevant information.

Give it a chance by following, for example, ioerror. Otherwise known as Jacob Applebaum. You may have heard of him as one of the associates of Wikileaks that a judge in VA tried to investigate (at which point Twitter did something unprecedented and "beta-tested a spine"). He's also involved in the Tor Project, which I'm involved in (hence my proxies). He spends a lot of time re-tweeting posts from various human rights workers and people inside Egypt. Yes, they exist, and yes, they're on social media. Mubarak would not have shut down the internet if the internet didn't matter.

From Twitter alone, my world news is better than anything offered by American media. Not that that's saying much.

Dale Carrico said...

Pointing out the prevalent usage of a medium and charting the effects of that prevalence doesn't preclude other available uses. It is true but it isn't close to enough to point out that technologies have indefinitely many applications when particular applications are having particular discernible effects. That kind of agnosticism is evading the dilemmas at hand in pretending to offer an answer to them.

The point is generalizable: No technology is politically neutral, but no technology has a politics, and all technology is politicized and political through and through -- all of these things are important and true about the relations of what we call "technology" (itself a political determination) to politics.

Many people grasp one of these aspects, few grasp all of them, fewer still are very good are holding them all in their heads at once. I'm not claiming to be one who manages this feat reliably, by the way.

Dale Carrico said...

I posted this about twitter ages ago and can't say that my feelings on the matter are much changed since. Already I conceded a role for twitter in the context of certain circumscribed real-time news-gathering contexts, and I have since gotten a twitter account to follow a handful of pundits and stand-up comedians in a superficial way -- but I certainly don't tweet myself, nor do I think twitter enriches public deliberation anything like as much as the way it debases it overall. Qualifications where appropriate, but there it is as far as I'm concerned.

Facebook, another phony darling of techno-tourists-qua-Egypt-"activists" which seduces us into surveillance and marketing harassment through crowdsourced self-promotional content provision that debases us before you take the surveillance and marketing into account, is even worse than twitter.