Tag Archives: anonymous

Blog #6: Socialised Evolution (Week 9)

Get this. Apparently the government can “turn off” the internet. I mean, not like a light, but if they really, really wanted to they could do it.

This idea seems unfathomable. We often picture the internet as being this ethereal, invincible ecosystem which seems to float around us like air, when really it’s just copper wires (or optic fibre for the lucky few) and servers. These are very much physical objects which need to be maintained by people, and without which the internet would cease to exist. But because modern society relies so heavily on the internet functioning, if it were to fail catastrophically the entire modern world would fall into chaos. If someone hacking a Twitter account and falsely stating that the White House had been blown up can cause billions of dollars to disappear from the stock market, imagine what the internet disappearing would do.

We are, then, beholden to our governments. If they control the internet, they control us. As Rushkoff states, “The Internet as built will always be subject to top-down government control and domination by the biggest corporations,” so he suggests creating a “fork” in the web-sphere which would give control of the internet back to the people. This would, however, require a brand new infrastructure (which would of course be prohibitively expensive), but could theoretically facilitate the restoration of true peer-to-peer commerce through a newly networked social media landscape.

Anonymous likes to think they have control over the internet. But if their governments didn’t dig those trenches and plant those wires, and if those corporations didn’t shoot those satellites into orbit, then there would be no internet. Activism would have to be done the old fashioned way with rallies, protests, posters and signs… Good ol’ fashioned elbow grease.

We are now conditioned to fight our fights behind the anonymity of a computer screen.

Rushkoff, D 2011, ‘The Evolution Will Be Socialised’, viewed 8th May 2013, http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-evolution-will-be-socialized

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Blog #5: Don’t Underestimate Us (Week 8)

Viva la Revolución!” … Yeah, I hate that phrase too. Do I hate it because I lack passion? Maybe. However if I was forced to pinpoint a singular reason, I would attribute this animosity to the simple yet important fact that because I live so comfortably in Australia, with my standard of living being so high, I simply do not care about politics. No matter who comes into power, my sense of well-being will most likely stay exactly the same. Because of this, I can’t ever see myself picking up a weapon and taking part in a bloody revolution, for instance. Does social media provide the answer for disinterested and cynical people like me? Is it helping us to become more politically engaged?

Yes. When the Labor government changed the rules for receiving Youth Allowance I created a Facebook page to bitch and complain like the over-privileged white person I am. But for more important, widespread issues, we see the power of the internet work wonders for social change.  In regards to the uprising in Egypt in 2011, Usher states that “social media was to some extent a way for people to organize in Egypt, and it was a way to get the word about the unrest out to a wider audience.” In this instance, social media was not only able to get everyone together, but it also informed the rest of the world as to what was happening.

The ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous has also used the power of the internet to instigate social change, including several attacks launched against the Israeli government in 2012. Leaderless organisations, Brafman and Beckstrom write, have the ability to challenge and defeat established institutions. “The rules of the game have changed,” they say. Let’s hope they never change back.

Brafman, O & Beckstrom, R 2010, ‘The Power of Leaderless Organisations’, viewed 1st May 2013, http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/the-power-of-leaderless-organizations-20100911

Usher, N 2011, ‘How Egypt’s Uprising is Helping Redefine the Idea of a Media Event,” viewed 1st May 2013, http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/02/how-egypts-uprising-is-helping-redefine-the-idea-of-a-media-event/

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