Introductory Blog – Mediated lives for all or just the good guys?

Posted: September 28, 2014 in Mediated Lives
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Mediated lives for all or just the good guys?

Communication makes us human. Interaction allows us to survive and thrive. But does technological interaction also allow us to thrive? Is social media (as one example) a bird of freedom or a beast of burden? John Dakes (2006) states “technologies such as information and communications technologies, the development of which helped to extend democracy for the good of humanity, have also enabled global networks of terrorists to engage in new and terrifying forms of warfare.”  (p.2)

Should social media be open to all or just some societies where peace and harmony reign? Yesterday The Guardian newspaper carried the headline – ‘ Isis in duel with Twitter and YouTube to spread extremist propaganda.’  I understand that this is alarming as extremist groups use the free and democratic social media process to spread extremist views and it is also clear that most people would agree that this is a worrying trend. My concerns lie in the more subtle regulations that exist. When the majority of people believe something should be stopped, banned or regulated then there is probably just cause. But the question that stayed with me after the lecture and discussions this week was who regulates the regulators? Who decides what should be regulated if social pressure does not exist or does not exist to the same extent? Who decides who the bad guys are and what is their agenda?

If the bad guys are the people/communities/countries which are ‘different’ in some way to us then we are surely heading for an Orwellian situation played out in 1984! Will the American people breathe a sigh of relief when they read headlines in The Wall Street Journal such as “New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access” or question the motives of the government who have recently been caught phone tapping other world leaders? Regulating the bad guys assumes we all agree who the bad guys are.

Bibliography

Dakers J (2006) Defining Technological Literacy:

Towards an Epistemological Framework Hardcover  Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (April 13, 2006)

The Guardian Newspaper:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/24/isis-twitter-youtube-message-social-media-jihadi

The Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703961104575226583645448758

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