It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
Does Beyond Social = blogs-as-commodities?
Categories: More stuff to read

So I came across this article the other day from ReadWriteWeb about going beyond the social to an era of the internet of things. In this new era, the internet is not valuable because it is a great space to share information/ideas/stories and connect with others; it is valuable because it provides us with opportunities (through new technologies, like sensor chips–scary!) to manage, shape, regulate, filter data in ways that make what we want to read more accessible to us (and make what we don’t want to read become almost inaccessible). While I appreciate the need for managing ideas/data/stories in ways that don’t overwhelm us, I am disturbed by the implications of this trend. Just consider how  managing data and personalizing the web gets used by companies to not only sell us products but shape us into consumer-citizens (who not only want but need to buy their products). Or how filtering stories (according to what criteria?) prevents us from having access to stories that we may not always want to read, but that could transform our understanding of the world in ways that are more just.

Now I don’t think that this data explosion and the need to manage the information we can have access to is something we can be for or against; it is the internet-era in which we currently live. However, I don’t think that the push to filter and manage data so as to personalize and individualize our experience on the web should be uncritically embraced. We need to remain curious about how and why the data gets shaped in the ways that it does–whose stories don’t get heard? what type of information is deemed important (and interesting or useful) and what type isn’t? who gets to control how these filters are created and what they are used for? All of these questions suggest that we need to be critical thinkers who don’t easily embrace technologies that are heralded as personalizing or optimizing or making easier our web experiences; we need to make trouble by asking questions and by taking control of how we shape and organize our own stories (and the stories of those who haven’t been read, but should). In other words, we need to be diablogical!

A note: When I began this entry, I wasn’t sure where it would end up. It looks like my assessment of this article (and the era of an internet of things) is shaped heavily by our recent discussion of easy/hard and the “all-access” pass.

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