The last few week's readings have brought me full circle in my attitudes towards new media. I started out this semester with an unquestioned admiration for new media. I believed all the hype about the freedom that the Internet and Web 2.0 would give to us all. Every one of us can share our thoughts with the world for free, we are all equal on the Web, it's an informational revolution, etc...
Throughout this course, we've been forced to investigate and tear apart every illusion that new media technologies put out. I've learned to see beyond the surface freedom of many new media objects to the control systems at work. I started picking up on the themes we discussed almost every time I turned on my computer. Although I still found new media objects to be cool, it wasn't magical anymore. I became a new media cynic.
My wide-eyed wonder at new media began returning with the unit on convergence. The example of Tribal Peace and other truly user-controlled archives brought back my old image of the Internet as a freedom-giving medium. Then came this last unit on Free and Open Source Software. The opportunities for collaboration and creativity on a completely new level reappeared. Biella Coleman writes, “This element of non-discrimination, coupled with the broad nature of FOSS's philosophical foundation, enables the easy adoption of FOSS technologies and facilitates its translatability” (Coleman 5). It seems like the FOSS model may be that device that allows for true new media freedom. Users of all backgrounds, skill sets, and motivations can come together to share their talents and ideas and create fantastic things that challenge and expand our very concept of media.
That, or they'll all just give up and stalk people on Facebook.
Thanks, Professor Chun, Erika, and Josh! It's been fun.
Peace out, MC23.