Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Internet Manifesto

Did you know that people now use the Internet to write messages of grief on the departed's face book? The new media are changing everything.

I know a grandmother who calls her grand kids' cell phone and she never gets a call back. As soon as she texts a message, the grand kid texts right back.

We all know how the Internet and other technologies have influenced television, the music business and publishing companies. The Internet has turned every computer user into a publisher, a songster and a movie maker.

Everyone with a cell phone with a camera becomes a journalist taking pictures of accidents; forest fires and lightening strikes.

Just as Gutenberg had no idea what he was doing to society with his printing press, the new media are certainly foggy about what they are doing to our society and our culture. An interesting book by Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy, tried to put it all into perspective as society moved from monastic calligraphy for texts to mass printing of texts. In Gutenberg's time, the process moved somewhat slower than today's speedy media, and that makes it harder to pinpoint what is exactly happening to us.

One web site which tries to help journalists through the thickets of confusion surrounding the Internet is This site lists 17 declarations which the framers have reasoned are important to all users of the Internet.

Point 1 declares that "The Internet is different." They ask media to adapt their work methods to today's technological reality.

Point 4 states that "The freedom of the Internet is inviolable." Blocking the Internet "endangers the free flow of information and corrupts our fundamental fight to a self-determined level of information."

Point 9 reminds us that "The Internet is the new venue for political discourse." And our print media are finding this out first hand.

Point 13 says "copyright becomes a civic duty on the Internet." Owner ship entail obligation, to goes on to say.

I hope you will check the Internet Manifesto. Do you agree with the points trying to clarify the new media journalism? There is a comment section, write down what you think about the manifesto. I was puzzled not to see a point on the digital divide which continues to separate those who have access to the new media and those who do not.

So take out your pocket sized media empire and let folks know what you think about all this.

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