This is a blog created to reflect on the critical analysis of the the digital world, how it has been hijacked by "the 1%" and how we the people are taking back our power by occupying the social network systems to bring about social justice. Occupy Web 2.0!
The author of the popular novel, “Fahrenheit 451,” Ray Bradbury would also be happy to hear about the distribution of the printed version of the Occupy Wall Street Journal in the democratic movement. Bradbury expresses his favor towards conventional books, printed media, explicitly in his novel. The printed media have traditionally been used to help spread democratic movements, and now the role is replaced by digital technology – the Occupy Movement is a revolution made possible by new technology.
In November 2011, Bradbury finally agreed to publish the e-book version of “Fahrenheit 451” after his repetitive refusals. Maybe he thought that conventional books would be still popular and giving readers choices to read through e-books would spread his democratic ideas to larger audience.
Dr. Mario R. Garciacomments that it’s a nice surprise on the distribution of the printed version of the Occupy (Wall Street) Journal during a protest. Protesters who make good use of social media have turned to traditional media. He quotes William Powers who is also happy about the news.
“Fascinating development for the 2000-year-old medium. I bet more than a few of those protesters are carrying Moleskines like mine (Powers)”
Powers writes about his preference of Moleskines in Chapter 8 of “Hamlet’s Blackberry” (P136-155) and analyzes why he likes the old fashioned item. He finds the answer in Shakespeare, in the Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, that speaks of our technological dilemma and helps explains the curious persistence of notebooks in a digital world (Powers 143). Hamlet compares his memory to a ‘table’ he’s going to wipe off. Powers analyzes that Hamlet refers to a ‘table’ as an innovative gadget that appeared in Europe in the late fifteenth century. A table became a popular tool that people could carry everywhere and take notes on. What is written on the table is erasable with a sponge. Powers analyzes that Hamlet means to clear up his own mind by saying, “wiping off a table”. What Powers’ Moleskine and Hamlet’s table have in common is; each tool gives them an inner focused time and a balance to keep their sanity by clearing their minds.
In addition to the mental effects, Powers explains the tangibility contributes to the persisted popularity of the three dimensional medium. Powers describes his affection to his Moleskine for its tangible presence. “But the draw isn’t only sensuous; it’s also about physical presence….I wanted to feel it (his Moleskine) in my hands and flip its creamy appeal. I wanted to interact with it in ways in which I never get to interact with my screens (152). Reading and writing on a screen, we expand a great deal of mental energy just navigating. Paper’s tangibility allows the hands and fingers to take over much of the navigational burden, freeing the brain to think. Because a notebook has a body, it works more naturally with our bodies (153)
For Powers, reading a newspaper and jotting down on his Moleskine provides a balance between the outward and inward focus of time in addition to the physical interaction with the tangible medium. The printed newspapers might have provided the Occupy Movement participants with the time for inwardness away from the outward focused crowd brought by digital technology. Further, Powers argues that “older technologies often survive the introduction of newer ones, when they perform useful tasks in ways that the new devices can’t match” (147). The printed newspaper allows numerous people to read simultaneously without having to turn on and log in and use a mouse and keyboard. While the Occupy Movement continuously makes good use of digital technology, the traditional media such as newspapers can also contribute to the movement.
Powers, William, Hamlet’s Blackberry. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. Print.
I started wondering what Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not A Gadget, would say about the Occupy movement. He would say that the lack of focus can be a weakness of both the Web2.0 and the movement.
“There is no evidence that quantity becomes quality in matters of human expression or achievement. What matters instead, I believe, is a sense of focus, a mind in effective concentration, and an adventurous individual imagination that is distinct from the crowd” (Lanier 50).
Under the collective “Occupy movement” each protester can have a different opinion. I also noticed small protest groups join and use the name “Occupy” otherwise it’d be a strike with no name. Even in a general strike, if I look at it closely, I find a variety of individual messages, which I can see on their signs. Likewise, a popular Web 2.0 site Wikipedia, each article has a variety of length and quality. Further, on Facebook, each user can customize his/her page customized within limitations. Thus, I think that both the “occupy movement” and web 2.0 technology are the collaboration of individualism, not a collectivistic crowd as Lanier might argue.
Lanier, Jaron, You Are Not A Gadget. Vintage Books. New York. 2010. Print.