Tuesday, April 22, 2008

networked communities and the collective Internet mind

"In the absence of states or markets to mediate social bonds, network communities are instead formed through he mutual obligations created by gifts of time and ideas." (Terranova 36) 

The specter of networked communities however above the rest of Terranova's article, with some interesting implications. In the next sections titled Collective Minds, Terranova cites Pierre Levy's theory that because of the Internet, we are moving the from Cartesian singular "I think" to the plural "we think." 

This argument goes nicely with Jenkin's idea of a convergence culture, but still I find this an interesting hypothesis to put forth in a post structuralist society, when theorists like Jameson and Appardurai are telling us how fragmented, isolated, and schizophrenic today's society is. Look at Apple's whole advertisement campaign! Every product they make is prefaced by an "I." We have iPods and iPhones, not wePods, and wePhones. 

Anyway, back to networked communities. The other thing that caught my eye was a statement Terranova made about the implications of this flourishing productivity. 

"It is undermined for various commentators by the minoritarian, gendered and race character of the internet population." (42) 

I think this is right on the mark. What are the consequences of this phenomenon? Basically what Terranova is saying is that all Internet users are not created equal. 

As Srinivasan observes in his essays about ethnic new media spaces, all of us bring out histories, biases, habitudes, and beliefs to the table. And because this is true, I think the next question that someone needs to look into is exactly who is contributing to this collective Internet mind and how their backgrounds are shaping this networked communities, which are becoming increasingly important in the world today.  

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