Posts Tagged ‘network theory’
Bill Dutton of the Oxford Internet Institute here highlights moral panics over the Internet and an absence of research into the real implications of the ‘fifth estate,’ which is:
“enabling people to network with other individuals and with information, services and technical resources in ways that support social accountability in business, industry, government, politics and media.”
Such research may take the form, for example, as suggested at the bottom of my thesis (PDF), of empirical research into issue networks online, including consideration of the commercial structures of sites at each node.
This video features Yochai Benkler discussing his incredibly important work on ‘the memetic economy.’ Key points:
The ‘memetic economy’ is an emerging technological-economic condition – a new stage of ‘the information economy’ whose two defining characteristics are:
- An increased role for non-market production
- Radically decentralised production of information
A meme in this sense is a unit of cultural transmission: covering all information, knowledge, culture. The memetic economy indicates the production of cultural units shifting to individuals - replicating more closely the diverse mechanisms in society more generally - reversing the control focus of the industrial information economy.
In the industrial information economy people have been constrained to consuming products from managerially determined, heavily advertised finished goods – but it is highly valuble to democracy, autonomy and social justice for individuals acting outside markets to determine information relevance and drive cultural content and wider production.
The emerging techno-economic situation where substantial components of information production is owned by end-users means productivity can be sustained with non-proprietary and non-market production – leading to radical decentralised information production, and intelligence at the edges of a network whose core is relatively quite stupid.
Efficiency of non-market production does vary from industry to industry, but in addition to non-market production, market-based indirect appropriation of revenue not reliant on information as property is also possible (e.g. the Spotify Freemium model).
It is of great social value for individuals to participate in direct discourse instead of relying on proxies for political conversation, and centralised and commercialised control structures determining what information they see. The ‘memetic economy’ means the opportunity for a radical shift in the extent to which people can participate in forming the cultural meaning of their society through talking to eachother.
There is / will be a battle over the institutional ecology of information (the giants of the industrial age will not go quietly) but it would be disastorous to allow the winners of yesterday’s economy to dictate the terms of tomorrow’s.
Posted January 16, 2011on:
GreenPeace UK is now one of several non-profits using JustCoz to enable online activists to donate a tweet a day for them to use in their campaigns. The app, launched in mid 2010, enables charities to speak through their supporters on Twitter.
It was recently reported that 50 cent had added $millions to the value of a company in which he has a stake with just a few tweets. In that example one highly followed individual convinced several others to take an action that was financially lucrative to him.
This might be thought of as the converse of this – a not-for-profit distributed equivalent: JustCoz’s model is for many supporters to agree a ‘just cause’ can send one tweet a day on their behalf - effectively turning twitter into a ‘relay network‘ for their messages, which over time will raise awareness and potentially lead to financial donations as well.
Interestingly, the service quickly felt the need to adapt tweets sent out via their service to include the #DT hashtag - making it clearer which tweets are donated i.e. have been hence sent out by an organisation through one of its supporters, rather than the individual themselves.