18 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2011
Date Written: November 11, 2011
In this paper three features of the Internet/new media that have developed over the last decade are discussed: the relational Internet, the enclosed Internet, and the "mean world" Internet. These features correspond to the three interrelated elements of new media infrastructure proposed by Lievrouw & Livingstone (2006): the practices in which people engage to interact and share information and meaning; the tools, devices or artifacts that people create and use in order to do so; and the social arrangements or institutional forms that develop out of and around those practices and tools. Together, the three features have had an important influence on the ways that new media are understood and used, and have helped shift popular discourses and the study of new media from an emphasis on possibility, novelty, adaptability and openness, toward greater preoccupations with risk, conflict, vulnerability, routinization, stability and control. Given these conditions, the author proposes that three problem areas - again corresponding to practices, tools, and social arrangements - may be important directions for new media studies over the "next decade in Internet time". Network literacies and pedagogies must be developed and implemented that prepare individuals to be full and effective participants in society, politics, and culture. Dead media may pose increasing challenges to sustainable cultural heritage, as well as to ever more intrusive regimes of total surveillance and capture of personal information, enabling a "right to be forgotten." Commons knowledge projects may challenge and even reconfigure the foundations of institutional authority, expertise, legitimacy, and power.
Keywords: new media, Internet, network literacy, dead media, commons knowledge, surveillance, infrastructure
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