Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Don't Understand Who is Supposed to Find this Convincing

W. Lance Bennett & Deen G. Freelon:

Digital communication technologies increasingly enable young people to invent new forms of civic engagement such as peer-to peer knowledge sharing, participatory media production, bottom-up network creation, and direct action initiatives.

In my brain, there is a direct link from "civic engagement and young people" to the youth movements of the sixties and seventies, so I've got that loaded into RAM while I'm reading this article. Then I go through the list of "new forms of civic engagement" and check off each one as "not new." Doesn't everyone think this way?

I'm not trying to make a clever semantic argument here; I just don't get this whole rhetorical strategy. All people who are actually interested in this subject know that they're just saying bullshit for no reason. This seems to be aimed at people who are not interested in civic engagement and students. If I was trying to speak to people who knew or cared at all about the topic, I'd say "Digital communication technologies lower the bar for long-standing forms of civic engagement such as..." I don't understand the motivation to take the bullshit approach.

1 comment:

Ben Chun said...

I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt on this and say that perhaps they just have no idea what the technology is or how it works, to the point that the behaviors enacted all look completely different and new to them. Is that possible? It's hard to fathom, so maybe you're right. Damn.