Tag Archives: Information and Communication Technology

User Creativity, Governance, and the New Media

Ted and I have a publication out in First Monday. I have enjoyed the broad scope of the journal, and the editing process for an on-line journal is interesting.  The article is part of a special issue called “User Creatviity, Governance and the NEw Media.”  The editors are Bonnie Nardi and Yong Ming  Kow.

Please surf over to the First Monday site to read the paper, “Developing Virtual Worlds: The Interplay of Design, Communities, and Rationality.”

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Filed under digital culture, higher education, organization studies, organization theory, Second Life, virtual worlds

Resources on Internet and Politics

Participating in orgtheory.net thread I whipped up these resources which I thought ought to be useful here also.

Question:

How has the Internet changed political organizations? Is it just one tool in the service of traditional politics? Or is there a new politics associated with online life?

I agree that this is going to be a really important area of study in the future. In talking about how protests get organized with activists, it’s pretty clear that Facebook has turned into the medium of choice given its flexibility and relational scope. If nothing else Facebook helps cut down the coordination costs of collective action, but I suspect there’s an identity element to the story as well.

So why don’t we have very many studies about the impact of the internet on other sorts of organizational decision-making and/or organizing? Most of the studies that look at organizational life and the internet that I’ve seen tend to look at the counterproductive aspects of the internet (e.g., lost hours of productivity due to blog reading). What about the efficiency-enhancing aspects of online coordination? Anyone?

I feel like there is a lot that is at least descriptive or celebratory of lowering the coordination costs for civil society or political organizations.  You mean more rigorous, empirical research?  And do you mean campaign organizations (as oppose to governing or politically engaged?)

A few things I pulled off my shelf-
Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope: Lessons for Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics Techout, Zephyr and Streeter,Thomas. Has stories from campaign and some framing/theory chapters.

Society Online Edited by Howard, Philip and Jones, Steve. Has a chapter on voting and Internet in politics 1996-2000 (wow! Pre-history!).

Globalization from Below: Transnational Activists and Protest Networks della POrta, Donatella et al. Has a Chapter on Networks and Organizing.

Causewired By Watson, Tom. Whole book is rah-rah on wired activism. HAs chapter on politics (6, I think).

The Media in the Network Society: Browsing, NEws, Filters, and Citizenship Several chapters on politics, political systems, case studies of other countries (East Timor, Portugal e.g)

Is any of this on the mark?

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Filed under Books, Information and Communication Technology, Networks, organization theory, Politics, Power, Activism, Protest, Research, sociology

On-line reputation(another media inquiry)

I got _another_ media inquiry.

Summary: How does on-line reputation matter?  What can you do if your reputation is being trashed?

Hmmm. It is interesting how many of these queries seem to be “how-to.”  There is the famous case of the Facebook suicide, but such stories do more to illustrate our fears than capture the reality of most people most of the time.  My first thought to protect your reputation is to have a reputation worth protecting.

You might ask Greta Polites and Eric Santanen also.  (In my department.)

I have this book and have not read it but it seems relevant.

http://www.wordofmouthbook.com/

It must be possible to spend a lot of time surveilling   one’s on-line profile.  “Google myself” is a verb and a state of mind.  How is the “me” I know being seen in cyberspace?  But I think if you obsess about it, it says more about you than the world.  Judging by the generally low level of negative feedback on eBay transactions, or in Amazon ratings, or in other open reputation systems (by open, I mean where any user can comment on an identifiable user).  As opposed to the Hobbesian dog eat dog world we often imagine, when we look at most interactions, even on-line, it is kind of boring in the sense that most people are OK and not trying to cheat others for gain or trash them for a sick kind of fun.  There are of course a few exceptions.

For those times when you are worried about how you are being presented, I would think about the audience before reacting.  If an employer or consulting prospect is concerned or I think they can see negative comments, offer up your own list of recommenders for them to contact directly.  Offer several.  This would mean more than written letters.  If the negativity comes from anonymous systems, you can delicately point out that such attacks are not very reputable and cowardly.  On systems like LinkedIn, have people who will speak on your behalf noted so that a prospective contact can link to them easily.  Include contacts form multiple jobs over your career.  If those people are not on, take this moment to be a technology maven and encourage them to sign up.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Network Society, participatory technology, Social Networks, technology, writing

My first Guardian column

I suppose for my first column (anywhere) some sort of inaugural words are called for.  Let’s start.

With the arrival of the Internet as a major form of interactive communication, we have seen an avalanche of new types of communication.  From websites, blogs (an online journal- web+ log=blog), video sharing (YouTube), social networks (Facebook.com), to the newest virtual worlds (Second Life), the breadth and depth of these forms of communication is, for me, exciting, over whelming, disturbing, and, ultimately, unavoidable.  As much as you can not imagine going without a telephone, or the postal service, or written language, these newer forms of digital communication are here to say and will have all kinds of impacts on how we collect, share, and distribute information.  Information is the backbone of all relationships, and, so, also of communities, societies, and culture.

One of the benefits of all these digital goodies is that you, the consumer, have a wide degree of what you choose to see, to watch, to ingest.  Sweeping generalizations aside, lets zoom in on the details.  Let me be a tour guide for you through this teeming landscape of media and information.  That is a mouthful.  Is there a better term?  President Bush offers up “the Internets.”  Or his sidekick, Senator Stevens (AK) famously lectured his colleagues about how the Internet is a “series of tubes.”[JC2] The internet doesn’t really do the job o describing what is out there.  Its like describing the auto industry as roads or the economy as money.   The internet, roads, and money are all simply ways to get from A to B.  The exciting stuff, the pulse of culture, politics, discovery, and life are all the As and Bs.  So, the world of information is the digital jungle, the metaverse, the infoscape, or where-we-are-headed (albeit at different speeds).  Cyberspace has emerged as an alternate term ad I’ll stick with it for now because it implies a destination, not a mode of transport.

We have a good sense of how people move around in cyberpsace.  For the record, that is about 73% of us.  The US still has the greatest degree of Internet use, even if the foreigners are kicking our butts in everything from manufacturing to mathematics.  No one out gadgets the average American.  Yet.

Anyway, the Pew Internet and American Life Project (http://www.pewinternet.org) has been doing some insightful research into what we are up to with all of our on-line hours (32/month, according to Nielsen Online; that’s nothing compared to world-leading Israel, at 58 hours per month according to comScore.)  The good Pew folks look at how assets (your computer, your connection), attitudes (do you want to take a sledge hammer to your machine?), and actions (what do you do?) jointly can define the various types, species, of denizens of the infoscape.  They have this nifty quiz (online, of course) you can take to identify yourself (http://www.pewinternet.org/quiz/quiz.asp).  It takes about 10 minutes. Continue reading

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Filed under digital culture, participatory technology, sociology, technology, writing

Lessig talk on ‘hybrid economy’ March 27 || Bucknell University

I am encouraging all of my former Capstone (“Rise of the Network Society”) students to attend this one.   Lessig is an important voice discussing the pratcical and poitical implications of the overalps between technology, culture, law, and also politics.

As the press release states, Professor Eric Faden, who is bringing Lessig, is a client due to his creation of A Fair(y) Use Tale which explore issues of copyright protection.

Looks good!  Hope you can make it!

News: Lessig talk on ‘hybrid economy’ March 27 || Bucknell University
Lawrence Lessig, the renowned copyright and intellectual property rights author and Stanford Law School professor, will present a talk titled, “Remix — Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy,” on Thursday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in Bucknell University’s Trout Auditorium.

The talk is free and open to the public.

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Filed under Creativity, digital culture, economic sociology, Government, policy, Political Economy, Scholars, technology

Superbowl and Internet Advertising

A writer from the local paper, The Daily Item, emailed my department asking for background on something about superbowl advertisers doing more with the internet.

Here is what I gave her back. It will be fun to see what gets used (if anything.)

“The mingling of the new kid on the block- Internet advertising- with the old (and big) kid- Superbowl advertising, crystallizes important shifts in media use and consumption in America. First, the Internet is no fenced off. Second, the Internet is more and more the Everyone-Net.

The Internet is less and less a privileged or partitioned media for commerce and advertising. The fence is down. Some researchers estimate that 10% of all ad dollars will go to Internet advertising by 2010. Meanwhile, live TV viewership declined 10% in 2007. What is more striking is how much citizens trust the Internet given how wary of mass media and generally information-saturated they are. Recent research from the Annenberg School for Communication found that by 2007 80% of Internet users rated the Internet as an important source of information, much higher than TV (68%), radio (63%) or newspapers (63%). Consumers seeking information appreciate authenticity, and they find it more and more in cyberspace.

These effects are magnified by the increasing adoption of the Internet and especially broadband which has surged from 5% to 42% of households since 2000. We are watching the extension of the Internet to the Everyone-Net. Internet penetration is up to 75% of American households (the most of any country, however many other countries have more intense Internet use per wired household. Israel is first at 57 hours per month. The US is about 32). Ten years ago there were clear race and class divides in in Internet use. Those have narrowed considerably (but persist for broadband connectivity). Among college graduates, the difference in White, Black, and Hispanic internet use is almost zero. The digital divides are now along education and age lines and narrowing progressively.

But those are only the tip of a big iceberg. Consumers are far more savvy about information sources and products. Cyberspace is becoming a destination for entertainment, community, and commerce. The logic of the Internet is not one-to-many, like print or broadcast media, but many-to-many. This is a fundamental difference whose significance can not be overlooked. As advertisers shift, they will have to learn how to navigate the mixture of entertainment, community, and commerce online. They don’t own the stage like they have with big production Superbowl ads. They will have to learn that the audience mingling amongst themselves is the only show in town.” anything).

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Filed under Business, Information and Communication Technology, innovation, Media