I recently contributed a chapter to the book, Face the Future: Tools for the Modern Media Age. The Internet and Journalism Today. My chapter is called Wikileaks and the limits of protocol and can be downloaded from our research repository. Here’s the abstract.
In this chapter, I reflect on Wikileaks and its use of technology to achieve freedom in capitalist society. Wikileaks represents an avant-garde form of media (i.e. networked, cryptographic), with traditional democratic values: opposing power and seeking the truth. At times, http://wikileaks.org appears broken and half abandoned and at other times, it is clearly operating beyond the level of government efficiency and military intelligence. It has received both high acclaim and severe criticism from human rights organisations, the mainstream media and governments. It is a really existing threat to traditional forms of power and control yet, I suggest, it is fundamentally restrained by liberal ideology of freedom and democracy and the protocological limits of cybernetic capitalism.
I was just asked by our Press Office to provide them with a short comment on blogs and blogging. Here’s what I sent them. How did I do? What would you have said in 150 words?
Blogging takes various forms but broadly speaking it is a form of web-based self-publishing. Prior to the web, it was difficult and costly for people to publish and distribute their thoughts and their work widely. With the advent of the web, it became easier, but still required some technical knowledge to author and publish a web site.
Blogging represents a maturing form of web authoring, where the software makes it easier for anyone capable of using a word processor to author, publish and distribute their thoughts and work to others.
But it’s not simply about web publishing. Blogging is a powerful network – the ‘blogosphere’ – where a multitude of blogs (and therefore people) are connected through a web of mutual references, discussions, links and ideas. The web liberated the global exchange of knowledge. Blogging is liberating the conversation around that knowledge and providing a space for the creation of new forms of knowledge, too.
Just a couple of videos which I came across by accident. Both demonstrate how well information can be communicated through animated graphics and images. The first, History of the Internet, “is an animated documentary explaining the inventions from time-sharing to filesharing, from Arpanet to Internet.” I read Where Wizards Stay Up Late this year, which is a compelling read about the same subject. I can imagine the video being used as an effective teaching resource in class with the book included on a reading list.
The video looks fantastic in HD on my 24″ iMac display 🙂 One of the reasons for this is the use of the PICOL icons, which are an impressive attempt to “find a standard and reduced sign system for electronic communication.” PICOL stands for Pictorial Communication Language and the icons are CC licensed. While reading about the PICOL project, I came across a decent video introducing Creative Commons, which I hadn’t seen before. I think I’ll use it for my Thinking Aloud seminar later this month.