Thursday, March 04, 2004

Abhiyan with weekly questions/comments:

1. I think gatekeeping plays an important role in fostering or impeding digital divides on the Internet, not in terms of access, but in terms of information or content that goes online. People access the web primarily for information. Institutions, organizations and offices have different policies and control on what, how much, and when to put content online. This control over content could be very detrimental, especially when people are looking for information which is time sensitive, which is public, which is for larger common good, etc. Hence, gatekeeping should be conceptualized and explicated moving away from its traditional definition to cover issues of digital divides on the Internet.

2. This issue of gatekeeping further leads to the ethos, credibility, accuracy and authenticity of content provided online. According to me, available information drives or rather empowers collective action on the web. Even if people have access to Internet but the information they need is not available easily, the access makes no sense. Research should carefully look what drives the content online, how much is commercially/socially driven, how much is institutionalized, and copyrighted?

This issue is also related to cultures and societies where English is not ‘the’ language. So how could people from different cultures and societies utilize such information for generating collective action or simply to empower themselves with information to bargain? Content, form of content, and other characteristics of content would then drive or impede certain grass root mobilization. Is there anything called as democratization of content?

3. When researches/people mention decentralization, in what context do they use it? Do they mean decentralization of content, or decentralization of access, or decentralization of content creation? As each of these would have different repercussions and impact on the ecology on the Internet and interaction of humans with Internet, manifesting unprecedented outcomes. I think we should have a discussion in class that would conceptually explicate decentralization, and perhaps lists down some of its dimensions on the web. As ‘decentralization’ is one of the primary modes/ways to combat digital divides.


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