Astra Taylor: The People’s Platform.

Taking Back Power & Culture in The Digital Age

In her introductory chapter of The People’s Platform, Taylor addresses the many fallacies of the internet. I gathered the following key ideas from her text:

  1. the internet is not free and open to its consumers. Large corporations benefit greatly from the information people consume and provide the internet with.
  2. the band with of visibility is not equal for all content availible on the internet. Think first page of google results – the more you pay, the more visible your content becomes.
  3. the internet is aiding in a loss of the middle class.  Many jobs are no longer needed, as companies have learned to use the internet and its consumers to promote and advertise their ideas and products – the internet now does the dirty work for them.

Taylor’s article was both disheartening and encouraging for me.   Disheartening in a way, as it did in fact reveal many truths about the misconceptions I had about the internet, forcing me to realize that I am and have been participating in the puppetry of these large corporations via the internet.  However, it has also forced me to be a more informed consumer who thinks about the ways in which I use the internet and the information I share or re-share through it.

selections from the text:

“While it is true that anyone with an Internet connection can speak online, that doesn’t mean our megaphones blast our messages at the same volume” (Taylor pp. 7).
“The argument about the impact of the Internet is relentlessly binary, techno-optimists facing off agains techno-skeptics” (Taylor pp. 8).
“This focus ignores the business imperatives that accelerate media consumption and the market forces that encourage compulsive online engagement.”(Taylor pp. 9).
“The key to media in the twenty-first century may be who has the most knowledge of audience behavior, not who produces the most popular content” Tom Rosenstiel, the director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, explained” (Taylor pp. 13).
“The original dot-com bubble’s promise was first and foremost about money… The secret of Web 2.0 economics, as Lacy emphasizes, is getting people to create content without demanding compensation, whether by contributing code, testing services, or sharing everything from personal photos to restaurant reviews”. (Taylor pp. 13).
“Others use the term “social factory” yo describe the Web 2.0, envisioning it as a machine that subsumes our lesire, transforming lazy clicks into cash.  “Participation s the oil of the digital economy”, as Sholz is fond of saying.” (Taylor pp. 14).
“This contradiction is captured in a single word: “open,” a concept capacious enough to contain both the communal and capitalistic impulses central to Web 2.0 while being thankfully free of any socialist connotations…. However imprecisely the terms are applied, the dichotomy, of open versus closed (sometimes presented as freedom versus control) provides the conceptual framework that increasingly underpins much of the current thinking about technology , media, and culture.” (Taylor pp. 15).
“But art and culture, the critical line of thought maintains, should be exempt or at least shielded from the revenue-maximizing mandates of Wall Street, lest vital forms of creativity shrivel up or become distorted by the stipulations of merchandizing – an outlook that leads to advocating for regulations to break up conglomerates or for greater investments in public media.” (Taylor pp. 19).
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