Wrapup: “T” is for Technology, “t” is for thesis

On gnovis…

thesis typewritter

In her debut post on gnovis, Venessa Miemis wrote about the potential impacts of social media and geospatial technology on social change: “Local level real-time mapping is making the world a seemingly smaller, more transparent and manageable place. The information it provides, like any map of value, helps us understand the patterns and relationships within our surroundings and gives clues about what action to take to achieve desired results.”

For the rest of the week, busy thesis writers began to introspect on how their projects related to CCT, and each other.

Ashley, who is writing about civil war re-enactors, is quite aware of how temporally sensitive a term like “technology” is: “I think re-enactors deeply value the now obsolete skills needed to function in a world pre-electricity and the Internet. I met a man who makes his own rifles (whatever your thoughts on guns/gun control, that is awesome right) and many, many men who have learned to hand sew or knit as a result of the hobby.”

Trish surveyed as many thesis writers as she could get her hands on to see what shared words and themes were most common. “I think it is significant to note that thesis titles that directly mention Traditional media (newspapers, film, magazines, TV) vs. New Media (basically anything online. I know this distinction has problems) is even. Traditional Media 7: New Media 8. By comparison, the words community and cultural appear the most, with the related word social coming in second as frequently.”

Around CCT…

around CCT, people are considering Internet content and consequences for it’s readers.

Jeff Borenstein compares the ways in which news aggregators such as Digg and newspaper websites like the New York Times decide on what stories deserve to be above the fold: “I know it sounds like the ultimate mashup, but I can envision a future where I make micro payments to read a 5,000 word feature by a Pulitzer winning journalist, listen to an ad supported podcast by a local citizen journalist, and read the major headlines in overseas newspapers all on the same news portal. But for now I must sift through the superfluous Digg stories, wade through regional news on Google and spend too much time reading blog posts that do not truly interest me.”

Ming Zhao argued that once the users take control, they never give it back: “Politician felt the pressure of being watched by people and nothing is ever really “off the record” with the emergence of blogs; businesses also realized the importance of online engagement with their consumers. Inevitably, there are new issues arose due to such changes, such as the issues with information ownership; problems with the evenness of information/power/participation of distribution; and various regulatory issues.”

Finally, friend-of-gnovis, Gaurav Mishra, takes issue with recent talks about re-inventing the internet in favor of something more secure, and more easily regulated: “The West needs to realize that moves to control the internet will not only kill the innovation and creativity it fosters, but also undermine the democratic values it symbolizes.” Couldn’t of said it better myself.

Jed Brubaker

Jed Brubaker's background involves professional and academic work in the social sciences, marketing, technology, and the arts. He received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Utah, and is a former master's candidate in the interdisciplinary Communication, Culture and Technology (CCT) program at Georgetown University. His current research interests included digital identity and anonymity, Internet culture, and computer mediated communication. Read more on his blog at www.whatknows.com.