Class reflection: Revolutions

Posted: November 6, 2013 in Food for thought
Tags: , ,

One of the ideas that, if you think about it, flows through the entire course, is that of power shifts – and possible revolutions 🙂

Many authors argue that social media bring about a restructuring of power relationships in society, because they tend to empower the masses.

Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

I invite you to reflect upon the many factors, scattered throughout several readings this semester, that account for reasons why power relationships are changing. I also invite you to envision daring possibilities about what the world might look like.  Beware of “2.0”s thrown after big terms such as government, health, education, politics, etc. – sometimes they signal a real shift, and sometimes, a superficial adoption of Web 2.0 technologies but not philosophies.

What do you think it means to adopt a Web 2.0 philosophy? And how is that different from simply adopting some Web 2.0 technologies?

To illustrate, here is an old post of mine that applies these ideas to public relations. But I invite you to reflect on these ideas on your own.

  1. dougpruim says:

    Web 2.0 technologies facilitate user-generated content, whereupon the users become the producers. The focus of the technology is not delivering a specified product, but rather facilitating dynamic interaction on or about the product. That is not to say that Web 2.0 completely abandons structure; in fact, Web 2.0 is the structure, but it is the structure that allows the use to grow organically.
    A “2.0” philosophy would be one that designs a structure, but allows its application to develop from its constituencies. I think in many cases that this dynamic and organic interplay has existed for a long time in various ways: democracy, liberal education, parenthood, new art. New technology, however, has encouraged this greatly. It is helpful to remember, however, that constraints on form necessarily result in constraints on function. Systems that allow for growth are still systems; they have a shape and direction. This direction guides its application by default, often unintentionally … like even the best of democracies, schools, parents, and art.
    That said, when the power to shape the application (and now in some cases to also redesign the system itself) is given to the constituents, radical change is both possible and probable. And when people see the power of this genie and know it exists, it is almost impossible to “put the genie back in the bottle”. Frankly, I have to imagine this scares the pants off people who have a vested interest in certain directions or like their power.
    Life X.0 is a very intriguing and exciting proposition … as is having a ‘life in perpetual beta’. =)

    • Mihaela says:

      Doug, you are referring to (or discovering) Giddens’ adaptive structuration theory. It is something I would love to share in class if I remember or if anyone reminds me.