Foucault’s Anonymous Authors

October 18, 2007 at 8:47 am | Posted in Assignments, ATEC 3325, Thoughts | Leave a comment

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog The Internet allows users to create artificial identities with great ease. Multiple sites with their own policies and communities frustrate tracking online identities. Attempts at creating ubiquitous identity, such as Open ID and Live ID, have little traction outside their promoters. Thus, barring intervention on the part of an identity, connecting a real person with an authorial identity is extremely frustrating at best and impossible at worst.

This creates an environment wherein common authors easily acquire anonymity. The repercussions of starting a discussion disappears as the source of ideas is no longer easily tied to a person. Discursive environments quickly create memes which quickly spread across communities, unfettered by responsibility. Consumers only have what an author discloses as points of reference. At the same time, within communities authors may build identities to gain reputation.


Cult of the Professional Buck

October 2, 2007 at 5:17 am | Posted in Assignments, Thoughts | Leave a comment

The Internet frees consumers from the strangle hold of professional culture. Andrew Keen, however, would rather have media gatekeepers anoint talent and define cultural expression. Yet the real dichotomy for Mr. Keen is bought content and free content.

In his discussion with David Weinberger, The Good, the Bad, And the ‘Web 2.0’, he presents a view that traditional media has provided safe harbor for talented, professional expression.

Meanwhile, traditional scarcity is getting scarcer. We’ve always had a scarcity of seriousness, of talent, of the artist/intellectual able to monetize their expertise… Traditional media has done a good job in discovering, polishing and distributing that talent. But once everything is flattened, when books are digitalized, when libraries become adjuncts of Google, when writers are transformed into sales and marketing reps of their own brands, then what?

For Mr. Keen, being able to assign a value to talent and its production defines its worth. Traditional media acting to “discover” talent created false scarcities by controlling avenues of expression. His problem with the lack of artistic talent isn’t so much that it is vulgar, traditional media is vulgar, but that higher culture will no longer demand a premium in the marketplace of expression.

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