Political aspects of cmc
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Political Aspects of CMC. May 7 th. In-Class Activity Political Aspects of the Internet. Based on what we’ve discussed in class to date, what are some potential Utopian predictions about the Internet’s impact on politics?

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Political Aspects of CMC

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Political aspects of cmc

Political Aspects of CMC

May 7th

In class activity political aspects of the internet

In-Class ActivityPolitical Aspects of the Internet

  • Based on what we’ve discussed in class to date, what are some potential Utopian predictions about the Internet’s impact on politics?

    • Broad definition of politics to include both organized politics (elections) and unorganized acts by individuals concerning how society is governed and structured

  • …What are some potential Dystopian predictions about the Internet’s impact on politics?

  • How has the Internet affected political behavior in your experience

  • Is the Internet inherently democratizing?

Utopian visions of the internet s impact on politics

Utopian visions of the Internet’s impact on politics

  • Internet as “Third Place” which facilitates public discussions

  • Access to information shared peer to peer, as opposed to traditional mass media filters

    • Better monitoring of government

    • Easier to share information (ie about the environment)

  • More opportunities for citizens to speak out & organize

Dystopian visions of the internet s impact on politics

Dystopian visions of the Internet’s impact on politics

  • Digital Divide: Those with access to technology will gain more political power than they already have, and those without will lose what little political power they have

  • Technology will be used to monitor behavior and stifle free exchange of ideas

  • Constant input from citizens perhaps not the best way to govern a society

Benkler on critiques of the claims that the internet has democratizing effects

Benkler on “Critiques of the Claims that the Internet has Democratizing Effects”

1. Information Overload

  • When everyone can speak, there is too much information and it become difficult to sift through them, leading to an “unmanageable din” not genuinely changing anything structural.”

  • But: Users solve problem by congregating in a small number of sites.

    • “We are seeing a newly shaped information environment, where indeed few are read by many, but clusters of moderately read sites provide platforms for vastly greater numbers of speakers than were heard in the mass-media environment” (p. 242)

  • Political communication and tools online some examples

    Political communication and tools online: Some examples

    • MoveOn.org

      • Calls for Change

      • Censored Superbowl commercial

    • Gop.com (interactive maps, other tools)

    • Factcheck: http://www.factcheck.org



    • Importance of the “body” for activism: what are the possible negative implications of email petitions?

    • Culture-jamming: Using corporate power against itself through ironic humor, recontextualized meanings, marketing tools and techniques

      • the case of the Nike Sweatshop sneakers email

      • Adbusters spoof ads

    • When Do-Gooders Do Wrong: Unintended Consequences

      • Taking a political issue out of its local context via email/WWW (i.e. case of email about Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning)

    Jonathon peretti and nike

    Jonathon Peretti and Nike

    • “Micromedia” (vs. mass media)

      • Audience can be pre-selected

      • Word of mouth more powerful (“Bzzz agents”)

        • Authentic messages vs PR buzz

      • Viral messages - distributed user to user (as opposed to from centralized PR machine)

        • For instance: Sportka commercial

    • Why was the Nike email so successful?

    Internet and 2004 election

    Internet and 2004 Election

    Political aspects of cmc

    2. Centralization of the Internet

    • “ a high degree of attention is concentrated on a few top sites - a tiny number of sites are read by the vast majority of readers, while many sites are never visited by anyone. In this context, the Internet is replicating the mass-media model, perhaps adding a few channels, but not genuinely changing anything structural.”

    Benkler critiques cont

    Benkler, Critiques, cont.

    3. Centrality of commercial mass media to the Fourth Estate function.

    4. Authoritarian countries can use filtering and monitoring to squelch Internet use

    5. Digital Divide

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