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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Babbling aboutBlogging

We often take new media (a term that covers all social networking sites and computer-mediated user generated content) for granted. For some of us, including moi, when we were young, the floppy disk was an amazing tool to exchange games or other software and used to envy the person who had a 80486 model computer. I think that those had the memory of mobile phones now. In short, we've become hooked on technology and we have progressed in our communication repertoire from snail mail to twitter, facebook and blogger. I sometimes try to imagine what all this new technology and experience of new media is like for a 9 year old today.

I guess it would be only part of his or her daily life. At least if s/he lives in a country with proper infrastructure. Added to that, his/her family must afford such technology. In this sense, we can speak of a global digital divide that separates nations with access to the net and those who lack widespread access or who have state-imposed restrictions (like Iran and China). In spite of all that, can we say that the new media is making us better individuals and building a more equal and just society?

Yes, people form communities and virtual friendships through social networking. At the same time, groups propagating prejudice or encouraging separatism are also gaining strength through the use of the internet - thus closing themselves within their virtual social circles and to alternative views. I'm not implying that social networking is a bad tool or, as some fundamentalists put it, "the instrument of evil"... But, like other technology, it is being used to promote dialogue and justice as well as immobilising hate groups and radical extremism. On a more personal level, we often take our status updates on facebook or twitter lightly or may write a careless blog post. Or else, divulge information to all the virtual world that you might regret later...

It may sound paranoid, and it is to a point, but when you communicate in cyberspace, you are really talking to 'everyone' (assuming you are posting on publicly accessible sites). So, you who are reading my blog right now might be ... oh ... a serial killer ... or even president Obama ... Steven Spielberg ... Bill Gates ... or even ... the Pope or the Dalai Lama? Better calm down and take a deep breath, Gordon ... It's probably the occasional visitor who has found your blog by accident and has left before reaching this point.