Sunday, March 07, 2004

Bonjour mes collègues de camarade:

*First, I would like to point out how horrible the Internet can be... I misspelled the address to our class blog and was sent to a pornography website... one letter was all it took. I wish we could pass a law that would ban pornography sites having imagery and verbage available on the front page without a warning of some sort. What if I was eleven trying to get to my class blog? Completely disgusting. Anyhow, here are my three questions (and this pornography problem I think should also be a question at some point, dealing with content possibly):

*Question 1: I find articles that give the Internet credit for movements fascinating because of the overall dynamics the word "Internet" actually encompasses in that meaning. For instance, I would find it most difficult to find any website with a similar interest or topic as me unless I could search for it. I could guess several addresses (URLs), but without the search engine, finding people who have the same beliefs and interests as me resorts to old methods of oral or written communications via face to face interaction. I am not saying this is bad, but the Internet as we think of it now is very much different than when it was first conceived, and actually, it is only about a decade old with Google going on it's fifth year. Is it possible to create these online communities without such a search interface as Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista, etc? I think that is the true phenomenon of online communities, in that you are able to find them in the first place. Any thoughts on this?

*Question 2: I do not know about anyone else, but in today's world, I do not like to trust a company that does not have its own website. And on top of having a website, that website must also be exemplary in professional design and layout. I think of it almost as if a 24 hour (almost) 7 days a week business card, and the more professional that business card looks, the more I can trust the company behind it. But just because it has an online "business card" doesn't mean I'm going to use it. I think this is the similar problem with online activism, or "McActivism." Having the online presence is necessary, but that isn't all that has to be. It is only the flyer to get people interested. Groups that want results will have to use both mediums to get their message across. Does this seem to hold true? Does anyone have any comments or experiences with activism in the past year or two that seemed to point to this? (Sorry, I know I mentioned this last week, but I still think it is relevant to this week.)

*Question 3: This may seem a bit over-arching and rhetorical, but is there a way to slow down the feel for technology needs and try to refocus our funds back to necessities? As far as I am concerned, the Internet is more of a research tool (to a degree) or for economics (job-related), so our other information mediums (newspaper, television, etc) are, for practical purposes, just as useful. Graham talks about countries trying to technologically enhance their society when they still struggle with access to pay phones, sewerage, and even electricity. Although the US isn't as bad as other countries, we are moving funds from other (I think necessary) programs for technologies that we aren't even trained to use. An example is the loss of arts programs in schools. The arts are important, but technology that faculty are on average unaware how to use and incorporate get the funds. How can we slow this process, and get those funds back to where they should be?

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