[iDC] How does social media educate? :: a playlist in response to danah

Ulises arsalaan1-idc at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 14 10:13:54 EST 2007

danah poses a challenging question:

What values are embedded deeply into the web 2.0/social media ethos that we are
perpetuating by 1) building these systems into the infrastructure of social
life; 2) idealizing them as the great equalizer?

I can by no means attempt a full response, but maybe I can 'mashup' one from
various contributions to the discussion as well as from my own. Think of the
following as the Playlist for a Critique of Social Media (i.e., it's the list of
the songs to be included, but not the full melodies):

01. How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? :: sociable web media (even when
operating within 'open' models) exists in a capitalist economy; it cannot exist
prior to its commercialization

02. Can't Buy Me Love :: the architectures of participation in sociable web
media are determined primarily by the dynamics of a market economy, which raises
ethical questions because capitalism is inherently anti-social

03. If I Knew You Were Coming (I'd've Baked A Cake) :: yes, social media objects
operate in both a market and a gift economy, but the 'gift' is always
subordinate to the opportunities to derive profit from it; the best we can hope
for is hybrid capitalism

04. This Unavoidable Thing Between Us :: sociable web media *can* be potential
resources of anticapitalist struggle; however, the actualization of these
resources cannot be framed in terms of bridging the 'digital divide' in order to
grant everyone access to the 'marketplace' of the public

05. It Smells Like Teen Spirit :: sociable web media controlled by corporations
produces plural monocultures, which should not be confused for diverse or
authentic social spaces

06. Where The Hood At :: the network is a limited model for organizing social
realities; nodocentrism can be particularly corrosive to local connections, as
it makes anything not plugged-in to the network virtually invisible (despite the
hype, the hyperlocal does not enhance but subordinate the local and the social
to a market economy)

07. Alone Together :: the social scripts of networked individualism leave people
more alienated and prone to control by state and corporate interests,
monopolizing social and personal desire

08. We Don't Need No Education :: we need to not just teach/learn 'with'
sociable web media, but 'against' it; we can struggle to design for more
autonomy and diversity, but we need to simultaneously develop the 'literacy' to
question the assumptions behind it

If I have missed some important 'tracks,' please feel free to add them or re-mix
them to your heart's content.



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