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

Monday, February 02, 2015

Imaginary Communities of the Scroll

Twitter may be reviving the collective temporality of broadcast. The imaginary communities arising out of radio broadcasts and the former Big Three television market share was eclipsed by cable and now ramifying forms of digital mediation for a generation -- including podcasts and streaming On Demand that transformed radio and Big Three into something like always-on archives. But now the necessity to gather to livetweet a show together as it airs in real time or the way, say, followers of Jeet Heer will gather to read a twitter essay as it scrolls in real time remind me of mass audiences gathering at a radio broadcast or millions gathering to watch an episode of M*A*S*H when I was in junior high. Of course, the audiences I am talking about on twitter are nothing like so large as broadcast audiences were, so this isn't a return to broadcast nation-making by any means, but the recurrence of real-time simultaneity as indispensable to the sense of media reception is interesting.

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