The revolution will not be Twittervised.

Okay, I’m a little late crafting my blog post for the week, apologies.  Each night that I sit down to it I get completely sucked in to the Occupy Wall Street movement that is happening right now in New York and all over the world.  It is a very interesting time for new media journalism!  I will now attempt discuss our readings and the protest, hopefully without coming off as too ranty.

First off I have changed my mind about Manovich’s distinctions between cyber culture and new media.  I’m sure you’re all relieved.  Cyberculture is made possible by the infrastructure our ability to organize socially due to our connectivity, New Media is made possible by the web and the technology itself.  Check.  However, I would like to pick apart social media under this classification.  Would we qualify Twitter or Facebook as cyber culture or new media?  On the one hand they are new media tools on the other they are “social outcomes made possible by the internet” and thus a part of cyberculture.  The third hand would be that while they are tools in the sense that people use them to spread information those same people become the “tools” as their information is datamined with very little understanding of who is using it for what.  Can social media be called New Media by Manovich’s definition?

(warning: I’m gonna rant for a hot second)
All week long people have been reporting live via Twitter about the occupation of Liberty Plaza and the marches in New York while traditional media was mainly silent for the first 8 days of the occupation.  I have been following the #occupywallst #occupywallstreet #takewallstreet hashtags throughout the week.  On the first day #takewallstreet trended briefly in the top three and then suddenly it stopped trending all together.  So I’ve been monitoring the popularity of these tags globbally via trendmaps and while #occupywallstreet (the leading tag of the three) is trending everywhere else in the world, it is nowhere to be found in North or South America.  Is Twitter actively suppressing this trend? If so why just America and not the rest of world? Who benefits from Americans not knowing how popular this movement has become? JPMorgan perhaps?  Because they own quite a bit of Twitter these days.  Despite the fact these tags are not trending they remain a powerful tool and with scant coverage from mainstream media, one of the only ways to find out was is actually going on.

Manovich suggest that “new technology will allow for better democracy: it will give us a better access to the “real” (by offering “more immediacy” and /or the possibility  “to represent what before could not be represented”); it will contribute to “the erosion of moral values”; it will destroy the “natural relationship between humans and the world” by eliminating the distance” between the observer and the observed.”  and certainly it has.  But we must always consider what is “under the hood” of these new media tools and be ever mindful of who’s shed the tools are in to begin with.

As Paul Saffo declared in “Farewell Information, it’s a Media Age” despite who owns it “media is the organizing principle.”  Mass Media used to come into our living rooms and now it can be accessed everywhere.  And the same tools that are being used to watch media are also being used to capture, create and share media. Again, I spent hours this week watching a global live feed, watching videos of the protest that were made by people in the protest (which showed every other person with phones out taking pictures and shooting videos) being shared on youtube, getting regular updates on twitter and facebook all of which I shared and then watched as my friends shared them.  This real-time accessibility to on the ground events that I watched and then actively began to spread while I sat sick in my house miles away couldn’t have happened quite like this even 5 years ago.  Kelly was right about Moore’s Law “The world of the made gets better faster.”


About rmhooper

I am a student in Champlain College's MFA in Emergent Media Program.
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