The Real-Time Web and the Future of Democracy
Recent events – Iran and Michael Jackson’s passing, for example – have reiterated both the power and the limitations of the real-time web for disseminating information. But for my column in the upcoming July/August issue of THIS Magazine, I’ve tried to think about Twitter and the real-time web as a text of social discourse, a kind of living document of ‘what people are talking about’. Though it may be optimistic, I’ve suggested that, despite all the inanity, Twitter, Facebook and services like them facilitate and record social debate and discussion in a manner that wasn’t possible before. You can read the full piece here.
I should note that I wrote the article before the current situation in Iran began, so that didn’t factor into my thoughts then. Were I to write it now, it seems it’d be worth thinking about whether Twitter works against or with structures of authority – and whether there would be a profoundly different answer to that question depending on which country one were talking about.
Also, this may be a little crass, but right now Canadians can subscribe to both THIS Magazine and Geist for a year for the low, low price of $24.99. (Act now, offer not in stores!) While THIS is a more politically-oriented current affairs mag, Geist is more literary in nature (read this charming snippet), so I’m sure some of you will like it. Alright, I’ll stop whoring now.