Monday, March 01, 2004

I wanted to make one final comment before I post my questions for the new topic because it overlaps and provides a transition. In anticipation of this week’s class, I have been thinking about digital justice and blogs (especially since it will be my turn on Thursday- ack!). As forms of online communication, blogs can be structured in various manners where one person carries the conversation and others comment, or it can be an open discussion between individuals, like our class. It can also be an example of technology giving voice to people in remote areas or an area outside the scope of ‘traditional’ media coverage. One of the most interesting examples I can think of is Salem Pax, whose blog gives a real human voice to the invasion/resistance in Iraq ( Here the informal, conversational tone is extremely effective in bringing to life the reality of Iraqi society- more so then the standard news coverage. It is so human and Iraq no longer seems so far away. While some blogs can be thought of as weak links between communities and the sharing of information among friends, blogs can also help generate greater interest by linking to other blogs/topics on the Internet. A comment/topic can resonate and continue on to the next level into the public sphere. This definitely occurred with Salem Pax, who was covered in CNN news and has discussed issues with American soldiers in Iraq. Blogs can become a much more public medium in scope where the media and public at large become aware. Weak ties can be extremely valuable and effective online.

My first question: Do you think this example was an exception to the rule or are blogs an effective way for those who are overlooked to speak and raise their concerns, point of view, etc.? Does it provoke a response, change, or action? Are weak ties valuable? Other examples of online advocacy- are they successful and if so, to what extent? How do issues of access become more important? Is it a partnership between those with access and those without or is it more top-down vs. bottom-up? I know these are pretty general questions, but they are good to keep in mind for Thursday. Later this week, I will post my other questions related to the readings.

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