Wk 4: The Public Voice

So, setting aside the Internet, in what other areas of your life to you contribute to the public sphere?

The only way I engage the public sphere is via the Internet. I run a community facebook page (www.facebook.com/lovepeninsula) which is a non-profit page designed to link local residents with local businesses and to increase the amount of love and gratitude about the area we live in.

All my contact with local papers regarding local issues, or contact with my MP about concerns, or even signing petitions about saving our bridge… all of this was done online.

If I remove the Internet from my life… I have no occasion whatsoever to engage in my community (politically or otherwise).

The first question of the week takes us back to last week’s reading by Walker who suggest that the Internet is revitalising the public sphere. Do you agree, or is this all just hyperbole by those swept away in a wave of naive excitement over the rise of the Net?

I’m going to steal my response from your other question and paste it in here because the answers are the same…

The only way I engage the public sphere is via the Internet. I run a community facebook page (www.facebook.com/lovepeninsula) which is a non-profit page designed to link local residents with local businesses and to increase the amount of love and gratitude about the area we live in.

All my contact with local papers regarding local issues, or contact with my MP about concerns, or even signing petitions about saving our bridge… all of this was done online.

If I remove the Internet from my life… I have no occasion whatsoever to engage in my community (politically or otherwise).

OK, the final question this week asks what blogs you read for information and why.
Depending on how you access your information, this could make for a very long list!

I don’t read blogs… well except for one by Julia because that’s what friends do – you comment on their posts.

The discussions about authenticity in NET102 and WEB101 and even WEB207 have reinforced in my mind that anything written on a blog or wiki is merely unsubstantiated opinion and of little credence.

 

Update – an interesting discussion followed:

Stew replied to this final post with:

December,

I’m intrigued by your answer!

Does everything you read have to be factual?
Are there not occasions when you might be interested in people’s opinions?
Say, people’s impressions of a game…or personal reflections on a topic?

cheers
Stew

So my response was:

Hi Stew,

Yes i do enjoy reading ‘fun’ things, non fiction, people’s opinions… but that’s what facebook and myspace and friendster are for. They are specific social environments that encourage people to rant and rave and ramble and engage each other in exactly that type of writing. I also read books (you know those strange things with hard covers and have paper leaves inside you have to actually turn) and their digital equivalent (as well as their audio equivalent).

But blogs and wikis tend to portray themselves as informative, and ergo, to be authorative and accurate… which in most cases, is clearly not the case. In some case (like Julia’s uni blog or even my uni blog) it is made known at the outset that this is my ‘homepage’ – a space for me to put down my stuff that I ‘think’ and ‘feel’ and ‘perceive’ – which of course has nothing to do with facts. I don’t expect anyone to read my uni blog – the main reason I maintain one at all is because i’m bloody old and everything goes in one eyeball and out the other – by writing it all down as it happens, I have somewhere to come back to once I’ve forgotten it all. But if people choose to read my blog, they aren’t expecting to find something that claims to be factual, correct or true…. unlike the majority of blogs out there.

I just don’t have the time to go searching through 6 million blogs to find the ‘one’ that engages me, excites me, interests me on a personal level whilst not in any way claiming it should be given any credence.

does that make my thoughts clearer?

heaven knows i have heaps of blogs (most of which i don’t maintain) which nobody reads (and who could blame them when they aren’t even interesting enough for me to write them!) but when you search google etc for information these days (accurate, informative, true information) on a topic – inevitably it will give you a list of blog sites to visit. this automatically portrays blogs as authentic. and it’s just not true.

Wikis and blogs are just perceptions of what people believe to be true at this current moment. If the rest of the planet thought the world was flat and had loads of blogs that said so, it wouldn’t make it true.

To which, Stew replied with:

An interesting perspective December!

“Wikis and blogs are just perceptions of what people believe to be true at this current moment.”

All media is this.

cheers
Stew

Now this really got me thinking! So I wrote back:

I guess you’re right stew… i’ve never separated media from the rest of society in that way before, so i’ve never seen how one segment of society is really just a potential myth.

To me, cults and religions don’t follow the same standpoints (depending on the cult or religion obviously) in that they have a set of doctrines they follow, which are often stemmed in beliefs that are not from this current moment. When you compare Catholicism with Scientology you get two very different extremes. Catholics have a belief system stemmed in proof from Earth’s history of people, whereas Scientology has a belief system that hints at Earth’s history within the space/time continuim and firmly looks to the future for its proof.

Economics too, allows for more than one perception of how reality is. So too does Psychology.

The only other thing I can think of that mimics media’s insistence that what we know now is the only knowledge available is Physics.

Really interesting tangent you’ve created, Stew 😀

Wanna discuss string theory and blow my entire premise to pieces? 🙂

Stew then replied with this (which seemed to complete our debate quite nicely!)

:-)))

December – String theory is a a little beyond me I’m afraid. but glad you got the point!

cheers
Stew

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