Tag: digital-rhetoric

The Internet is More than Social Media

I wanted to take a moment to talk about Brian Chen’s article, “The Internet Trolls Have Won. Sorry, There’s Not Much You Can Do.” in the New York Times. It’s an interesting piece for a lot of reasons, and I like a lot of what Brian and Dr. Papacharissi have to say. That said, I have trouble with an approach that accepts the status quo as inevitable; especially, when that acceptance helps to normalizes a reliance on corporate governance as the only possible way to fix the internet and networked communications.

Chen isn’t wrong. His article just appears assumes there is only one option, to continue using and relying on the problematic platforms developed by those corporations and hope they “fix” it for us. They won’t. The Internet trolls have “won” because the corporations that drive modern social media platforms make a ton of money off those trolls (see my Valve discussion) for more on that). Until they stop making money (this is something that Facebook may actually be grappling with) the trolls will win. Of course, they only win on those platforms.

If you rely on those platforms, you’re sunk. So you have …

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Digital Mythology: The Internet That Never Was.

Can we stop pretending that there ever was a golden age of the Internet? Even better, can we stop pretending that “something went wrong” with the Internet? Maybe, just maybe, it was always a little messed up.

I was one of those people who really believed that the explosive growth of the Internet and computer technology in the late 80s and early 90s was going to usher in a new form of public engagement and discourse. I saw technology as a way to connect us to one another. I envisioned it as part of an effort to breakdown the cultural barriers that had developed and, in many cases, ossified into our society.

I was wrong.

I was young, stupid, and far too full of my own perspective to look beyond my own nose and glasses 1. It was easy to see a utopia when I went online. After all, the people I was talking to were a lot like me. They all had a level of know-how and access provided to them by the very same barriers they imagined they were breaking down. My “utopia” was nothing more than a form of narcissism 2. Whenever I hear people pine for …

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