Monday, March 16, 2015

Ch. 25 (discussion post for 3/3)

I found Ch. 25 to be interesting and informative. The difference between interactivity and interpassivity was a lot different than what I originally thought. The quality of interactivity is interesting to me. Depending on how much the user or consumer puts in, is how much they get out of the mass media/ social media. One can uncritically and passively read the same articles and social media posts as someone who is reading them critically and actively, allowing the information to raise questions and bring out a specific opinion, which they will later add to the argument. This is when social media and mass media is most helpful. Interpassivity seems like mindlessness to me. The loss of autonomy in interpassivity also sparked interest within me. I find it interesting, and true that as one reads passively, and does not make their own opinions, they get shuffled along with a mass group of people and is passively known to accept whatever they are passive about, until stated otherwise. Its pretty much shallow use of the tools the media gives you. This especially can be seen in political issues, where there are many ways one can assert their opinions and find out information, but many do not do this simply due to lack of interest, or simple laziness. I find Hactivists and Hackers to be some of the most active, critical users of media. Though they give power to capitalism, and "the establishment," the actively rebel against it using multiple mediums and purposely do things within the internet. It gives empowerment to the people. Though people may not be inter-passive within the media, does not mean they are active within the actual societal structures they are being active within on the web. Meaning, they may show great support and contribute to arguments and information online, but do nothing outside of this in reality. This can be a problem in the future if people stop acting out and just use social media to fight against or fight for causes.

1 comment:

  1. I too found what Taylor had to say fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed his references to the Matrix in the context of interactivity/passivity. It seemed to me that his biggest issue is the false sense of agency “interactive” technologies provide. I liked a particular line from Baudrillard, 1981 on this issue:

    “We know the results of such phenomena as mass ownership of walkie-talkies, or everyone making their own cinema: a kind of Sunday tinkering on the periphery of the system.”

    The immediate example from today’s society that came to mind was the incorporation of Twitter into various television broadcasts. These networks engage their audiences and give them the illusion of control over the discourse of a given program by making their broadcasts more “interactive.” At the end of the day however, these viewers play into “the Establishment” by padding the program’s ratings – sounds like a Matrix scenario if I’ve ever seen one.

    As far as what Taylor has to say about hacktivism goes, I think he has a point in that it is easy for the relatively “tech-unsavvy” to pass the buck on social issues to hacktivists. Some of this probably stems from the undeniable trend in the technology industry to make products and services simpler and effortless to use and thereby accessible to a wider demographic (think I don’t think it is a stretch to say that this trend has caused increased laziness in a significant population of average users.

    At the same time I agree with you in thinking that Taylor makes a reductionist statement by saying that hacktivists have no real capabilities to engender social change. If information/knowledge is power (which I firmly believe) hacktivists such as Anonymous and those involved in the endeavors of WikiLeaks hold the to keys to the armory. However, to continue this analogy, hacktivists need the help of soldiers (ie the masses) to take up arms. This is where slacktivism, as you allude to in your post, becomes a threat to social progress. Perhaps this limitation on the power of the tech-savvy is the root of Taylor’s criticism of hacktivists in his piece.


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