Way Down In The Hole

It used to be our word against yours. It used to be said—correctly—that the patrolman on the beat on any American police force was the last perfect tyranny. Absent a herd of reliable witnesses, there were things he could do to deny you your freedom or kick your ass that were between him, you, and the street. The smartphone with its small, digital camera, is a revolution in civil liberties.

— David Simon, creator/producer/writer of The Wire, in an interview with Vice

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Harder, not Easier

If anything, the Internet makes it harder, not easier, to get people to care, if only because the alternatives to political action are so much more pleasant and risk-free. This doesn’t mean that we in the West should stop promoting unfettered (read: uncensored) access to the Internet; rather, we need to find ways to supplant our promotion of a freer Internet with strategies that can engage people in political and social life.

— Evgeny Morozov, The Net Delusion (2011): 75

Morozov

Facebook and Voting

For the study, news articles that Facebook users’ friends had posted appeared higher in their feeds — the stream of status updates, photos and articles that show up when you first sign on to the site. The researchers wanted to see whether increasing your exposure to news stories shared by friends before an election would convince you to vote.

“Facebook conducted another secret experiment on users”

Radical Democratization

The people who developed the personal computer considered it a device of radical democratization from its inception. It was a way to open levels of symbolic transformation, and the work and information that went with them, to people hitherto shut out from this world.

— Richard A. Lanham, The Electronic Word (1993): 108.

Lanham