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Tag Archives: Information Revolution

First!

It’s time for “that” article.  I guess I avoided the subject because I wanted some more time to think about it, but the time is at hand.  I guess I wanted to avoid the subject, because this is just going to be an opinion in the sea of many opinions.  There are no facts I can offer, only my experience that isn’t going to sway anyone’s opinion.  Whatever you feel about the subject you are probably going to feel the same way.

The ”it” subject, as you might be asking, is commenting.

So why even write about it?  Because as I have seen already, and thinking ahead, I am seeing a movement to discredit comment sections.  My opinion falls into the camp of whether you like them or not, comments are fundamental to the internet.  Removing opinion from the Internet, is like removing text from the page of a book.  This is what information exchange is all about.  I find that even when I don’t feel like commenting, having the comment section adds something to the article and lets me see people’s opinions to a situation.  This is especially true when it comes to news, as I have found out information that had been left out of the article is often filled in by commenter s.  That is the point of the Internet, freedom of information and not one-sidedness.

I find for those, particularly older, find this concept foreign.  I get that, those that grew up in the generation of morning newspapers and six o’clock nightly newscasts are going to find many voices scary.  Now I know this isn’t all, but for most having to think is a scary concept.  It is also a choice, and for those that do not like choice find many voices hard to grasp.  Again, I understand, I had a Father who likes the comfort of a schedule.  Coming home from work, the extra thought power is not welcome; there are those that want to read the works of others.  It sounds condescending, but that is not my point, I understand the thought process that says I want to read a book and not write one.

However, because of the nature of commenting, the thought and work that goes into even the simplest of comments, it tends to lead toward response and thought.  Especially being that most comments are written as opinions, which lead the mind to respond back in some manner.  Going back to the generational differences one has to understand the cultural changes to understand the push back on commenting, and open forms of opinion and debate.  Many of the older generations were raised and lived in a society where news was not questioned, because it was brought from a “trusted” source.  Because of presentation, someone could be trusted.   As I said before everyone has a bias and agenda.  In addition, this is true of any generation at any time in history.  No matter how trusted the source their bias and agendas will slip into the conversation, whether intentional or not.

Because of the change from small communities to the global community, we find that information is more transparent than ever.  And this fact scares people.  For any given news story there are multitudes of voices, and each view shows a different vantage that was not present in the other.  This is what scares some, the fact that it takes work to find truth.  Being able to put trust, and the revelation that trust was misspent in the past creates distrust.  Some embrace, others ignore, and some run screaming from this fact.  In addition, this fact is also true for commenting, now once was only thought in someone’s head can be read by all.  All of a sudden, what was a thought inside the head is now bared for all to see.

And then what of the negatives, that of the troll and such.  Let’s face a reality that few want to admit, the negatives you find online also live in real life.  I sometimes wonder if people have ever heard of pranks.

Then there is the argument of anonymity, and this one is the most contentious point to commenting.  Again looking at real life, we see that the same things that happen online, happen in real life.  One point that gets lost is that while some will hide behind anonymity to post hate or prank, some do because they need the protection.  And they both have an equal point to the debate.  If we didn’t have the protection of anonymity some of the information that has been important to revolution and change, would not be happen like they have.  Think what would happen if we had no whistleblower protection laws.  And then there is the question of freedom of speech, because we don’t like some speech, does this mean we must cover up some of it because we don’t like what we hear?  If the Internet is about information and openness of information, is not censoring and shielding opinion against the principle of the Internet?

However, even beyond that, when outed for crudeness and wrongness, people tend to show they do not care.

Something that has always perplexed me is the fact, that when you have the technology to take care of a perceived problem, few times do we take advantage of it.  One of the reasons many online sites do not like comments is because the money and time it takes to police the community.  Many CMS (Content Management Software) software packages have built in features that allow filtering, or holding of comments that match criteria set up by the software.  Some will be quick to say this is a cost in itself, but I never understood that when many free, open source solutions exist.  This blog which is running on WordPress, includes many filtering solutions that keeps comments in line, WordPress is free.  I do understand that commercial outfits will not want to use for open source software for control reasons.  Then the question comes down to whether you want to encourage community participation or discourage it.

I admit this is not an easy subject to tackle, and I know one that makes the issue harder is the fact that we are a more connected world.  More people who never had their voice heard before are now finding the power of being heard now.  This is also the growing pains of a world in change, some will welcome and embrace, while others wish for their world of sameness.  It’s going to be an interesting ride regardless.

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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Technology

 

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Young Farts and where the wind blows…

We never like it but change happens.  Change is something we really can’t control and when change comes from revolution things get really interesting.  I know I throw that word around on my blog and some may not understand what I’m talking about.  Well if you are reading this, then partly you do understand.  Fifteen years ago what I am doing right now would not have the possibility for the audience it does now.  I am not talking about simple web logging (get it, weblogging,) it’s also freedom of expression, through means of this interconnected superhighway we call the Internet and how it is changing everything.  While some may think we have already seen this with things like television and radio, we have not.  The missing component was control and the wrestling away control and giving it to people.

Fair Warning: Curmudgeons and Luddites might want to stop reading now.

Think about it, when have we have ever seen a time in our lives when you can see and read multiple viewpoints of the same story.  Take any given story of the past week, do a simple search on your favorite search engine, and just start reading.  Now someone might be quick to point out that search results are controlled, and to those I simply ask: How many search engines exist?  Moreover, that is the point, in the past who could have opened up a TV station or Radio station, even at the outset who could have just made a commercial and foisted it upon the world?  This is now a world without control of the few over the many.  I’m not even going down the 1984 route, I’m coming from the given, that people act with good moral and ethical values.  The Internet has changed all of that.  Now anyone at any given time can speak their mind, with relative little or no cost but that of time.

Isn’t that what a revolution is?  Let’s take it even further, this past week something I was told a long time was to come to be has come to be.  The throwaway computer is now a reality with the release of the Raspberry Pi.  This is a $25/35 (two flavor) computer that is no more the size of a credit card.

Add to that the video capabilities.

Beyond the entertainment capabilities, these are real world impacts this credit card size computer brings to the world.

Because of their low-cost and small size they can then be shipped to activists and NGO’s in areas where free-speech is difficult.

“This is especially useful for activist organizations, human rights organizations, any group composed of a few dozen people who need to have an internal secure communication service,” said Mr Kobeissi.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17231698

We are talking about people for the first time having freedom of speech in countries that outlaw it.  I hope now you can see how revolution isn’t a word I throw around loosely.  This Information Revolution is changing life on earth beyond our comprehension, even mine, in ways that will shape the next century of life and beyond.  We are looking at the way we present information and conduct business being rendered obsolete to this change.  Raspberry Pi is just one, there are many more like One Laptop Per Child.

Add to this that the revolution is not yet settled.  In the same way very, few could have envisioned the effects of Web 2.0 (Social media) and a site like Facebook existing, so very few realize that Facebook is a thing of the present time and not the future.  What is true now, will not be true a year or more down the line from now.  Eventually the shaking throw the sieve will produce new realities but that time is not yet upon us.

I understand why for some this period is the scariest, even scarier then before.  Before with changes like the Space Program the end results tended towards optimism.  This kind of change takes a longer time to work itself out, for example, the Industrial Revolution took 100+ years.  With the hyper-accelerated pace of the present state of changes, I don’t foresee this revolution taking that long.  And who knows if constant, quick change itself, will be the new reality of this revolution.

So I have to ask how many people will be yelling at the kids on their “lawn” and how young the yellers will be…

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Technology

 

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