Internets: Serious Business! These last few months have seen an increase in the attacks on the participatory culture of the web. The mainstream establishments, both political and corporate, have been looking with a cautious eye towards this new developing place. So far we've established that blogs can get you fired, keep you from getting a job, give pedophiles a place to ruminate on snatching your children, threaten journalistic integrity *snicker*, endanger the marketing , product planning, and product life cycles for automobile manufacturers, can infect your computer with virii, and have all sorts of negative consequences. The internets (both of them) can cause your children to be charmed, seduced, and addicted by readily available porn, and can also provide access to extremist radical and fundamentalist groups, prompting Congress to discuss more restrictive legislation (NSFW), but only for the porn. It has even been claimed that the web has given "Al Qaeda wings". P2P is blamed as causing record loses by the music industry, despite their investments in
local station marketing payola. The FEC has held public hearings attended by both hemispheres of the blogosphere (amazingly in near-agreement) discussing the regulation of political speech online. The figureheads of a certain political party fear that their affiliated slice of the blogosphere may be too far-left. Newspapers and TV are leading the charge, with the internet standing in for pharmaceutical scares, yo-yo diets, and missing white women.
The question is, how will the libertarian-minded digerati respond to this very real attack on the essence of web culture?
They hate Flickr for it's Freedom. An ISP (and government controlled monopoly) in the United Arab Emirates has decided to ban access to Flickr for it's citizens, apparently due to the complaints of a couple of UAE expats in the UK and Canada. Of course, said blockage won't apply to them. Most interestingly, they blame the rest of the world's non-flesh-fearing photographers as opposed to their ISP (and by proxy their own oppressive government.) Now Flickr joins Skype, AtomFilms, Friendster, AOL, and anything from Israels top-level domain, as outlawed content and services in the UAE (related study here). Well, if they don't care, why should we? Via linkfilter.
Culture by the people, for the people. We all know that there are a gazillion blogs out there, with people talking about anything and everything, frequently to an audience of one. Those same text based blogs are incorporating video as well. People are beginning to organize their internet not through search engine algorithims, but by their own tags. There's also a dedicated cadrey of partisan and non-partisan "amateur journalism" sites. Then you have full fledged communities focused to specific subjects, holding an unbelievable depth of knowledge and opinions. With entire encyclopedias available online, and with smaller topic-centric wiki's available, can the creation and dissemination of audience authored content be far behind? Witness the growth of Flickr, the probable success of Vimeo, people programming their own radio stations and/or shows, the increasing awareness and use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by plain ol' citizens, the courting of TiVo by Google and Yahoo (to share homemovies and pictures, perhaps?), open source news sites like Take Bake the News, NowPublic (for royalty free images to accompany content), Downhill Battle, Our Media ( a place to store your content), and open-source sounds and sights. Could there eventually be enough worthwhile content to break us free of a corporate-delivered culture?