More feedback on your 1st iteration
Another piece of general but important feedback applies to all of your papers. Rarely did I see you look to the technical architecture of our technologies to understand what is going on in society. A premise of this course is the theory that technology has a profound role in shaping communication and organization, and therefore all of society. We started off the course by asking the rhetorical question 'Do tools matter?' and we used turning points in history to highlight the fact that many periods of great change were preceded by great technological advances. Moreover, in reading Weaving the Web, we struck on the notion that not only do tools matter, they profoundly reconfigure social processes in a manner that reflects their structure. It is ominous to think that the broadcasting and industrial age, which gave rise to the production line and centralized institutions through hyper-extended technologies would create a bias toward a mass mono-culture. The structure or architecture of those dominant modes of communication and organization seemed to reshape social processes in their very image.
If there exists this intimate connection between our dominant modes of communication and our social processes, and if the structure of those modes gives us hints as to the ways in which they reshape us, how can we use this insight to make sense of this current period of transition we find ourselves in - between mass culture and internetworking? How can we use it to predict how our social institutions and our basic means of communicating will lead to change? Look to the basic technical architecture of the technology and you will find many answers.
Posted by Mark Hemphill on October 19, 2005 | Permalink
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