On the transformation of everyday culture in an era of liquid modernity

Archive for 2007|Yearly archive page

Some notes on Internet and media history

In history, media ecology, politics on December 4, 2007 at 12:53 pm

…an overview of some current issues in the online world, intended for the UG course in Media History and Politics, Goldsmiths College.

A worldwide communications network whose cables spanned continents and oceans, it revolutionised business practice, gave rise to new forms of crime, and inundated its users with a deluge of information. Romances blossomed over the wires. Secret codes were devised by some users, and cracked by others. The benefits of the network were relentlessly hyped by its advocates, and dismissed by the sceptics. Governments and regulators tried and failed to control the new medium. Attitudes to everything from newsgathering to diplomacy had to be completely rethought. Meanwhile, out on the wires, a technological subculture with its own customs and vocabulary was establishing itself. (Tom Standage, The Victorian Internet, p. 1) Read the rest of this entry »

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Faking it with MySpace

In everyday life, social networking sites on October 30, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Social networking, the place where fakery is applauded — or at least sanctioned. Not only is the myth of bands discovered entirely through MySpace perpetuated, the people behind the social networking sites trn out to be as manipulative them too. But hey, aren’t we all expected to use some “white lies” to get what we want?

The old, official story is usually that “so and so bands were discovered through MySpace and yeah it totally rocks because it’s all in the hands of the users”.
However, it soon comes to show that this is a somewhat simplified picture. Arctic Monkeys didn’t have a MySpace page until shortly before their debut single release; Lily Allen was already signed by an EMI subsidiary before she joined MySpace; and Sandi Thom had a lucrative publishing deal in place by the time she began webcasting. Read the rest of this entry »

On Facebook as “the bureaucratization of friendship”

In everyday life, social networking sites on October 3, 2007 at 10:52 am

This is very interesting in my opinion – and it begs the question if social networking doesn’t thrive on a marketization of social relations which in turn relies on 1) the ranking, valorization and management of different “friendships” and 2) the tendency to “brand” one’s own identity, to document it for posterity and to maximize its value in the face of one’s own (semi)public network of friends. Read the rest of this entry »

“Net neutrality” no simple matter

In Internet traffic, net neutrality on March 31, 2007 at 2:08 pm

The idea of a tiered Internet, with “diamond lanes” for heavy commercial services like web TV and IP telephony, is a key contemporary issue – not only technically, but democratically. The issue is not, however, entirely without irony…

New Internet services like Joost and YouTube are about to exceed the capacity of the underlying Internet backbone of cables and switches. Only the other week, Google themselves warned us that the Internet as it stands today isn’t suited for TV. Therefore they want to cooperate with the cable operators, who have earlier been frightened that companies like Google would take over the lucrative market for Internet TV. The term “net neutrality” was one of last year’s buzzwords in the US, in the debate about whether network operators would be allowed to appropriate parts of the Internet infrastructure and create “diamond lanes” dedicated to heavier traffic like, particularly, web TV. Many, including Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, were strongly critical towards the idea, and instead advocate a form of net-neutrality where telcos and cable operators would not not be able to decide whose data should flow faster or slower. They want to legislate for all Internet traffic being equally treated; this is most of all in the interest of Internet companies like the abovementioned, since these otherwise would risk to pay extra for being allowed to utilize these “diamond lanes”. Read the rest of this entry »