Annewil Neervens

New Media Blog

Book Review: Republic.com 2.0 September 14, 2008

Filed under: Blog,New Media,Opinion — Annewil Neervens @ 20:53 p09

After the book Republic.com (2001), law professor Cass Sunstein now provides us with an updated version by the name of Republic.com 2.0.

As we look at the table of contents, not much seems to be changed except for the inclusion of two new chapters: Blogs (chapter 8 ) and Republic.com (chapter 10).

The back flap of Republic.com 2.0 states that with this book ‘Sunstein thoroughly rethinks the critical relationship between democracy and the Internet in a world where partisan Web logs have emerged as significant forces in politics and where cyber-jihadists have embraced the Internet to thwart democracy and spread violence’.

Sunstein does this primarily by focusing on fragmentation and (group) polarization on the Internet. He gives the example of ‘The Daily Me’, a futuristic vision where people are able to create and customize their own newspapers and magazines – and more importantly, where they can choose their own content. As Sunstein vividly illustrates:

‘You need not come across topics and views that you have not sought out. Without any difficulty, you are able to see exactly what you want to see, no more and no less. You can easily find out what “people like you” tend to like and dislike. You avoid what they dislike. You take a close look at what they like.’

He talks about ‘filtering’ the intake of content. And stresses that this utopian vision in fact poses a real threat to democracy, where people show no interest in other topics or opinions and shield themselves off from opposing views.

Group polarization can even lead to extremism and violence for it is easier for like-minded people to only communicate with one another – and thereby likely to shift to more extreme points of view.

Republic.com 2.0 also discusses government regulation on the Internet and says that we need it, because without it the Internet is likely to fall prey to invaders and cyberterrorists. As he writes: ‘The owners of websites, no less than the owners of everything else, benefit by government regulation; and without it, they would not really be owners at all’.

Sunstein has written Republic.com 2.0 in a clear way, that is easy to read. He has a tendency of repeating a lot of his views and illustrations, which really isn’t necessary and makes for a tiresome and aggravating read every now and again. That said, this book raises interesting and illuminating ideas and questions on how we behave on the Internet and what possible consequences this may have.

Sunstein, Cass R. Republic.com 2.0. Princeton, PA: Princeton University Press, 2007.

This book review is also posted on the Masters of Media blog.

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The Greenness of Blackle September 12, 2008

Filed under: Blog,New Media,Opinion,Personal — Annewil Neervens @ 20:53 p09

I was introduced to Blackle today. I had never heard of it before (which made me feel a little bit clueless), but it’s a search engine that apparently saves energy because the screen is almost entirely black. And black pixel screens need less energy to load than white pixel screens. EcoIron even posted a blog last year on how this ‘Black Google’ would save 750 megawatt-hours a year.

Although it is powered by Google Custom Search, it is not owned by Google. So it doesn’t have a lot of Google’s features – like the ‘in cache’ or ‘similar pages’ options. Also, a random Blackle search doesn’t find as much links as a Google search normally would. Still, I think it’s a good effort to making the world a little more environmentally conscious and wasting a little less. So I guess that Blackle is actually really Green. 🙂

For those interested, there’s also a Wikipedia entry on Blackle and a Dutch Blackle version.

 

Microsoft vs. Shoes? September 5, 2008

Filed under: Blog,Broadcasting,Commercial,Personal — Annewil Neervens @ 20:53 p09

So the Microsoft commercial starring Jerry Seinfeld was added on YouTube yesterday. I just saw it, and don’t really know what to make of it. Could someone please explain the hidden metaphores?

 

The end of newspapers? Old news… September 4, 2008

Filed under: Blog,Journalism,New Media,Newspaper,Old Media,Opinion — Annewil Neervens @ 20:53 p09

Dutch media blog Frankwatching posted a blog yesterday written (in Dutch) by graphic designer Floor Drees, with an intriguing headline, I translated as ‘The newspaper will never be gone. That is…’. In this post she states that there is a future for hard copy newspapers, if Birgit Donker (editor in chief at NRC Handelsblad) does something about the (current) relationship between on line and offline media.

A couple of things struck me while reading this post; one is that this ‘conclusion’ sounds a bit like old news to me. Hasn’t this been brought up again and again over the past few years? Second, is that she basically suggests a crossmedial way of working with on line and offline media; which of course is also old news.

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Crash Course in Blogging September 3, 2008

Filed under: Blog,Personal — Annewil Neervens @ 20:53 p09

Since I’ve never had a blog of my own and only blogged on occassion at collaborative blogs like this one and this one, I feel like I could use some type of crash course in blogging. Luckily, The Almighty Internets has the answer for blogger newbies like myself: How To Blog: A Beginner’s Blog Publishing Guide. It contains all kinds of useful information on how to blog, what to blog about and how to make your content stand out.

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Welcome! September 2, 2008

Filed under: Blog,Journalism,New Media,Personal — Annewil Neervens @ 20:53 p09

Hi there! And welcome to my blog. I will be writing about new media, media theory and journalism, preferably a combination of the three. So if you’re interested, please come by every now and again. Also, feel free to leave comments and compliments. 😉