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Re: <nettime> The Society of the Unspectacular
Felix Stalder on Tue, 12 Jun 2007 07:38:06 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> The Society of the Unspectacular


On Sunday, 10. June 2007 19:42, Morlock Elloi wrote:

> If "empowerment" of the public by cheap self-publishing has demonstrated
> anything, it is that a vast majority has nothing to say, lacks any
> detectable talent and mimicks TV in publishing the void of own life (but
> unlike TV they derive no income from commercials.)

If media are made by, and for, one's own community (which might be very 
small) then talent and excitement are measured very differently. The 
material on youtube etc is "boring", mainly, I guess, because it was not 
made for you. Most of us produce lots of stuff that is boring to all but a 
hand full of people. But to them, it's great. It's the stuff that used to 
be called private, but is now online because it's the easiest way to get 
to the intended audience of 5 (or 500, or 5000).

> So I wouldn't say that the classical notion of "public" has changed in
> the sense that it got fragmented around "new media". It's "new media"
> giving content-free personal smalltalk the ability to be globally
> visible (not that anyone looks at it in practice, but they could, in
> theory.)

The technical possibility that "everyone" can watch it is pointing into the 
totally wrong direction. It's doesn't mean that everyone should watch it, 
it only means that the size of the audience is not determined on the level 
of the technical protocol but can scale freely up or down.

This does, in some from, lead to a fragmentation of the public, not the 
least because the "public" in modern democracies was constituted through 
the narrow bandwidth of mass media. Though I'm not sure if this is the 
reason, as Eric suspects, for the very manifest trend of governments 
withdrawing from public discourse. Yet, for whatever reason, there seems 
to be a inverse relationship between the degree of privacy of ordinary 
people and the secrecy of governments. 

Felix

--- http://felix.openflows.com ----------------------------- out now:
*|Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society. Polity, 2006 
*|Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Ed. Futura/Revolver, 2005 


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