Week 10–Allyson Woodard

A message from Spreadable Media that I remember finding particularly compelling was the authors’ assertion that phenomena like music piracy are not new, but simply made more visible due to digital media. I think this is true of many things, and contributes to the discomfort many people feel over social media–human interactions which once were ephemeral and private are now permanent and public. That is: we were swearing and drinking before the Internet, but we also didn’t hand our boss evidence of it the next morning. I wonder if this isn’t offering us a novel choice between conformity of the actual, lived kind, and public nonconformity. Such a choice is obviously uncomfortable individually, but might it society-wide prime us to better accept each others’ eccentricities? Just a thought.

Something I’m also curious to watch develop is how capitalist interests continue to engage with the Internet. I appreciated Spreadable Media‘s insight that hysteria over music piracy may in part reflect a break-down of corporations’ previous sense of control over how music is spread. Interactions which used to function quietly below the market and the law are now public, so, we have the choice: do we change the way we judge such situations publicly, or do we try to try to force them to conform? I kind of doubt the second option is possible.

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