Corey Doctorow rebuts Evgeny Morozov

We’ve all heard about (though I’ve ot yet read) The Net Delusion.

Now, a leading thinker/practitioner in the field of new media reviews Morozov’s book, rebutting his thesis:

At its core, there is some very smart stuff indeed in The Net Delusion. Morozov is absolutely correct when he forcefully points out that technology isn’t necessarily good for freedom – that it can be used as readily to enslave, surveil, and punish as it can to evade, liberate and share.

Unfortunately, this message is buried amid a scattered, loosely argued series of attacks on a nebulous “cyber-utopian” movement, whose views are stated in the most general of terms, often in the form of quotes from CNN and other news agencies who are putatively summing up some notional cyber-utopian consensus. In his zeal to discredit this ideology (whatever it is), Morozov throws whatever he’s got handy at anyone he can find who supports the idea of technology as a liberator, no matter how weak or silly his ammunition.

Read the rest in The Guardian

Also worth a look is Clay Shirky’s Foreign Affairs piece on the political power of social media (firewalled)

Will Dawson maps #twitdef

Axel Bruns lab at QUT is really starting to turn out some quality research – as evidenced by the summer vacation project (!) of Will Dawson.

Dawson has mapped the posts, retweets and network connections of the #twitdef conversation. And some very pretty data he presents. Here, for instance, is a bar graph on the 15 most re-tweeted Twitter identities using the #twitdef hashtag:

The fifteen most retweeted users during the #twitdef controversy. Source: Will Dawson / Mapping Online Publics

Interstingly, the top tweeters and the most re-tweeted are quite different data sets. Dawson concludes that:

The types of users being retweeted also differ significantly from the most prolific tweeters in terms of plain numbers. Of the top 15 retweeted users, eight are journalists, four are  academics (including Posetti), two are regular citizens, and only one is the account of an official media outlet (@crikey_news, in yellow). Of the seven journalists, only one works for The Australian – Caroline Overington (@overingtonc).  The lack of prolific tweeters (in terms of numbers) in this list supports one of the more long-standing theories of twitter – that just because someone is tweeting a lot, doesn’t mean people are actually listening to them.