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Zuckerman on the democratic limits and possibilities of the internet

September 5, 2012

via Heather Horst and DML Central

The media scholar and internet activist Ethan Zuckerman recently gave a lecture at Flinders University (Australia) titled “The Emergence of Digital Civics”. Here’s a quote to mull over:

There’s good evidence that the internet helps us:

– Change the media agenda by channeling attention towards an issue or cause

– Brainstorm a wide range of possible tactics and theories of change

– Synchronize people around one or more campaigns, contributing attention, money and other forms of engagement

Thus far, there’s less evidence that the internet helps with:

– Creating spaces for reasoned deliberation, particularly across ideological lines

– Channeling attention to move levers of power

– Sustaining projects beyond their inception

– Choosing between competing demands for our attention – i.e., is capturing Kony more worthy of our attention that fighting for freedom of speech in Ethiopia, or was it simply better marketed.

– Ensuring that resources are allocated fairly

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