September 18, 2011

Birds of a Feather for Academics (aka how to study digital media)

Category: Academic — Biella @ 8:17 am


There is nothing more dispiriting for a scholar of digital media to see the astounding plurality of forms, formats, and politics reduced to one of a handful of tepid categories such as 1) network society 2) peer to peer production 3) digital activism and 4) the absolute most vacuous terms ever, Web 2.0.

The problem is summed up rather nicely by a bunch of folks who published an article by the name of Birds of the Internet that every scholar interested in digital media should read:

“Observing participation without any guide to its diversity is like watching birds with no sense of what distinguishes them other than that they fly and squawk (when of course, many do neither). Rather than
lumping every instance of Internet-mediated participation into boxes labeled ‘digital
culture’, ‘virtual reality’, ‘online community’ or ‘network society’, a field guide could aid in observing differences and testing, rather than proliferating classifications.”

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