sights & sounds

April 22, 2010

Generational tensions & internet action.

From Jezebel; emphases mine.:

“The biggest thing that had changed since [Baumgardner & Richards authored Manifesta] was in fact the explosion of Internet media and communication, which had made accessing feminist-oriented material and discussions available to anyone with Internet access. What did they make of that? (Not incidentally, how did I end up at Ms. at sixteen? The Internet. I cold-emailed them and every magazine’s email address I could find.)

They were not particularly enthusiastic about it, all this Internet and social media stuff. Jennifer said she worried it was a weak substitute for real-life activism. Amy pointed out that it was often yet another form of unpaid work for women, and that many foundations and organizations were launching blogs because they thought they were supposed to, without really knowing what they were for. Debbie didn’t really want to talk about her magazine vis a vis the Internet, but she did offer that Facebook was a girly form — “Like passing notes in class,” she ad-libbed.”

I don’t share Baumgardner’s concerns that online discussions lull people into quiet contentment with internet chit-chat without inspiring any action in realspace. Unlike, say, TV or radio, where information is filtered down to passive, lone viewers, the internet is a more ‘bottom-up’ medium that spurs and thrives upon interaction1 – people don’t just passively sit and watch/listen/read. They post videos, they leave comments, they troll, they lol, and (most importantly) they form communities. However, there are a couple of closely-related problems that repeatedly crop up with any online community. (more…)


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