Political Effects of (New) Media

Having considered some historical examples of loss and gain implicit in information technologies, let's note Geert Lovink's two points about the contemporary relations of political power and new media.

  • Despite what many cyber-utopians believed, discussion lists and other electronic forums require some form of central control — editors, webmasters, moderators, gatekeepers. ("Introduction: Twilight of the Digerati," 4) Rule: One can liberate only so much. BUT as Slashdot.com has shown, one can create order with a minimum of centralizing power.

  • More important, the Internet may never be able to realize any potential for promoting democracy, since "the Internet, bit by bit, is being closed down, sealed off by filters, firewalls, and security laws, in a joint operation by corporations and government in order to create a 'secure' and 'safe' information environment, free of dissents and irritants to capital flows" (11-12)
  • Return to lectures by George P. Landow