[iDC] Re: [iDC Digest] MySpace as hotbed of media activism (TreborScholz)

rherbst at journalofaestheticsandprotest.org rherbst at journalofaestheticsandprotest.org
Thu May 31 18:48:46 EDT 2007

First thanks for posting that article.

Second: I can't make the case for "media activism" for the social website,
but the use of myspace is well documented 
as an  organizing tool between youth during the Chavez Day and May day
walkouts in the US. One only has to search 
for this stuff in myspace to see how they were used to sign up students and
schools for action. 

While I am completely in support of Lovink and Rossiter's skepticism with
the instances of "tyranny of 
structurelessness" of these new media, these walkouts are surely an
exception probably because of the hybrid  
relationship to structure/structurlessness. With student organizations in
more active schools creating meatspace 
structures and affirming/confirming certain kinds of leaderships and
principles along with outside student centered 
groups (possibly the group BAMN) the peer sites were/are used to facilitate
the virus. 

That myspace was/is used so effectively by minority youth in schools (a
population whose circumstances frequently 
demand active political involvement in discourses around material
conditions) in this manner is pretty natural. That 
the population has both cultural and material investments in the issues
(youth justice/MYspace) seems to cut agains  
the grain of more abstract/alienated politacal/social endeavors.

robby herbst

Original Message:
From: Charles Turner vze26m98 at optonline.net
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 19:32:14 -0400
To: idc at mailman.thing.net
Subject: [iDC] Re: [iDC Digest] MySpace as hotbed of media activism

idc-request at mailman.thing.net wrote on 5/29/07 at 7:13 AM

>They claim that "YouTube and MySpace are fueled with no shortage of
>desire. Rightly or not, they are considered the apogee of participatory
>media. But they are hardly hotbeds of media activism."
>What's your take on that? There are, of course, thousands of activist
>groups on MySpace. Perhaps we can dig up some examples and consider how
>they differ from activism 1.0.

The theses are a provocative read. I wonder, however, if their notion of
scale and scalar transformation are really epiphenomena of network
lifecycles, which they vividly capture in their first thesis. Geoffrey
Moore demonstrates this with regard to new technology in his book
_Crossing the Chasm_:


The transformation from "early-adopters" to "general consumers" is one
of market size, but centrally one of differing expectations from the

A more detailed portrait of how the culture of groups (in this case
small design firms) are linked to product lifecycles, can be found in
Peter Piven's book _Success Strategies for Design Professionals_, now
sadly out of print:


Piven develops a classification of "innovative," "service-oriented" and
"delivery-oriented" firms whose culture supports the design of products
at those stages of their respective lifecycles. Taking on projects
outside the culture of the firm is either impossible, or doomed to
failure, without corresponding (difficult) transformations in the
culture of the firm.

Sorry for the citation of business titles, but if we can be all
concerned about Richard Florida, I don't see why these are less

I also find their idea of "borders" interesting, but wonder if a
concept, drawn from Bailbar perhaps here:


that takes its intellectual force from an analysis of the "blowback" of
the colonial legacy of Europe, adequately describes some formal property
of networks. Maybe they've discussed this in more detail somewhere, I
certainly haven't read Rossiter's book.

So why couldn't the current media activism on YouTube and MySpace be
seen as early stage "Activism 2.0" (to pick up on your tag) and
following Lovink and Rossiter's thesis 2, be in need of our "upholding
the synthesis"?

Best, Charles Turner

<vze26m98 at optonline.net>

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