- [Non-]Democratization: Democratization, often vaunted as a value of networked culture and mentioned as “leveling the playing field” for everyone including the person-on-the-ground in China or Africa, just doesn’t live up to its hype. Just because everyone has access to information doesn’t mean the information that is presented represents everyone. Sophistication in controlling the means of content delivery prevails.
- Stimulation: Content which is most attention grabbing is content that gets viewed and shared, giving it disproportionate weight as compared with content that might actually have value and be important. Think about the 6:00 o’clock news and the dominance of human interest stories or the celebrity gossip magazines, columns and online sites.
- Homophily: Homophily refers to the phenomenon, described in Bill Bishop’s book, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart, of people’s tendency to be attracted to and congregate with like-minded people. Humans’ proclivity to being comfortable and fitting in means that we stick with whom we know, what we like and what makes us feel like “we’re okay."
- Power: The old adage “Information is Power” couldn’t be more true in the world of flow. However, the adage needs to be updated to say, “The ability to control the mechanisms of the delivery of information is power.” Think whistleblowers and how their information has no power until it makes it into the public eye.
Towards the end of the Guillard article, he writes about boyd’s experience while making her presentation at the Web 2.0 Expo that is worth noting, because it is scary for people like me who are frequent public speakers and presenters. As boyd made her presentation, a Twitter wall was projected behind her, which she could not see, of all the Tweets being posted live about her presentation as she was speaking. She could not help but notice this, because the body language, murmurs, snickering, and outright laughter from the audience was disruptive – an electronic form of heckling wrought large on stage.
What was being said about the speaker “behind her back” was literally projected on a screen behind her back. In a truly McLuhanesque manner, the medium had become the message, and it raises all sorts of epistemological questions of the objects becoming the subject, subject-object relationship, and the dual nature of communication.