Fannin's Place

MMC6612, Fall 2010

Internet and Democracy

with 11 comments

The Internet has once been a doorway to the minority group or some people who is not authority, there are few examples mentioned by Morozov. E, and I make a summary down here:

  1. 1. Nationalist who published nationalistic materials online.
  2. 2. Pseudoscience posted videos online which banned from the school.
  3. 3. spoke up for the customers who had dissatisfaction.

(The Internet: A room of our own? DISSENT summer 2009  p.81,82)

Because of the easy access and the equality status of the internet, everyone here is the same as others, and each one of us could express our opinion just as we wanted. Well, I mean under the democracy, which we have the right to speak freely in public, the internet will be our best platform to present ourselves. There are several examples’ I think of back in Taiwan. I have seen time to time that Taiwanese students posted stories about the senior who are poor but hardworking just to raise their grandchildren or to feed the entire family. These stories were posted as” please forward this message and give her/him some help” through email or Facebook, and there was always a large respond. Just like another news broadcaster, people receive messages from each individual and not from the authority or printed, broadcasted media. This is a rise of the civil right, a rebel who is ready to stand up for fight, the internet empowers us to be a broadcaster of our own.

But there is something more interesting, if everyone was CNN, which one should I believe? There are some companies in TW hired “the writer” to sample their product for free only if they write feedbacks on their blog or Facebook. The writer could be anybody, even I was invited to write something. In this case, should I trust the information posted online? Or maybe those justice claims are just frauds? We will never know unless we really examine every data before it is published.

On the other hand, under some different politic system, people are being watched everywhere. I’ve never been to Burma but I did have a classmate come from there. She said that they strict prohibited people talking about the politics or allowed any voice oppose to the authority. As she got out from Burma and studied in TW, she was not able to come back home, if she did go back to see her family, she would not have a second chance to be educated aboard. Therefore it’s easy to imagine the harsh censorship of the internet in Burma.

We are definitely very lucky to have our free speech and to become part of the crowdsourcing in the internet dominate era, but it’s just in some cases. We still have to train ourselves the ability of distinguishing the truth and the bogus. There is an old saying in Chinese- If you believed in every word written in the book, you should not read one, in this case, we can say that- If you believed everything posted on the internet, you shouldn’t google it.


Written by fanninchen

August 30, 2010 at 5:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

11 Responses

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  1. Fannin, please note, the title of your post does not have the correct SLUG. Please re-read the instructions. In future weeks, I will not find it if you do not use the slug as specified in the blog assignment for the week!

    Also, other students will not find it to for comments.

    Please change the title on this post ASAP.

    Mindy McAdams

    August 30, 2010 at 7:25 am

    • Dear professor Mindy, I’m really sorry about the wrong title. Thanks for your reminding.


      August 30, 2010 at 9:24 am

  2. Here I provide 2 interesting links to share with you.

    1) Everyblog has its day: Politically-interested Internet Users’ Perceptions of Blog Credibility, Thomas J. Johnson, Barbara K. Kaye , Shannon L. Bichard , W. Joann Wong , Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13 (2008), 100–122.

    “ While fewer than four in 10 (38.8%) judged blogs as fair, respondents (59.6%) judged them higher for believability, suggesting that fairness was not the major criterion users relied on when assessing credibility. Rather, they deemed blogs credible because they provided the depth, analysis, and points of view missing from traditional sources.”

    Read online url

    2) Networks and Netwars: the future of terror, crime, and militancy (2001), by John Arquilla, David F. Ronfeldt, Technological evolution and Internet Activism, p.131~134
    “This study seeks to examine the use of the internet by the Burma prodemocracy activists as a case study with that question in mind.”
    Read online url


    August 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm

  3. “If you believed everything posted on the Internet, you shouldn’t google it.”

    I like that. Someone should put it on a T-shirt.

    I think that blog study you linked to is really interesting. Perhaps it’s because I am a jaded mass communications student, but I would not have guessed that nearly 40% of the blogs they tested would be considered “fair,” particularly by those interested in politics. Even more fascinating is that these users scored blogs higher than any of the other media tested in every category, including accuracy, depth and believability. Although, to be fair, it seems they recruited heavily through online sources, which may have skewed results.

    Still, you would hope that those who use the Internet often would be more skeptical. Or is it that people are so skeptical and disillusioned by our traditional media sources that they welcome the more “street-level” approach that blogs tend to offer? I’m not sure.


    August 31, 2010 at 4:51 pm

  4. I think “the writer” thing you mentioned is really interesting. Actually, I had invited some bloggers to recommend our products when I worked in an advertising agency beofre. We chose the bloggers with high page view and invited them to use our products, and of course, to write some “comment” toward products,WITH PAY. I had seen some bloggers who wrote their recommendation without using any of products. And also saw some bloggers tried to realize everything about our product before they agree to cooperate with us. Just like you said, anybody can be “the writer.” After seeing those writers’ working procedure, it reinforced my skeptical attitude toward the “information” we can gain on the website. I think to prevent those “fake justice claims”, first thing is that government have to set some boundaries for corporations’ marketing activities. The other thing is that users have to be educated more about the truth of the internet instead believe everything they see.


    September 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm

  5. I see the major question you posted here is “What should we believe on the Internet?” It seems that I, representing many Chinese, put a lot attention in discussing the Internet and freedom of speech because of the reality in China. However, your post made me realize that there is another way to look at the Internet, especially in democratic societies. Democracy doesn’t mean total freedom, it also means more self-despline and autonomy. Without those, freedom and democracy can’t last long. The Internet definitely provides people with more freedom, or easy access to freedom. Nevertheless, since it is still a relatively new thing (I mean, compared to traditional media), it’s not surprising that many people developed little sense of self-despline. I do believe that given the time, many things would be rectified on the Internet. We just have to be more patient.


    September 2, 2010 at 7:32 pm

  6. No links in your post! Always make sure you read the current week’s Blog Post assignment carefully and follow the instructions!

    You made very good connections between ideas here: We can all speak online (hooray!), but will anyone notice what we say?

    Then the idea of the “paid commenters” (especially the people who post a positive review so that they can get a free product) — it is not honest, but how can we see who is honest and who is just doing something for a kickback? (We have those people in the U.S. too — one of my students admitted that she had a job that paid here to post comments in online forums, pretending to be someone she wasn’t!)

    Mindy McAdams

    September 2, 2010 at 9:23 pm

  7. You brought up an interesting issue about how to define whether the information on the internet is reliable or not. I remember when I was a student in junior high, I almost believe everything the internet show me. I even thought the junk mail in my e-mail box and the advertising on the blogs are very interesting. However, as I get older, I began to feel dull about the large number of information. It is kind of difficult for me to define whether the information is useful or not. Moreover, I find myself wasting time to review useless information and junk mails. I think most of the graduate student will encounter this problem when we searching information on the internet. Here I find two links that is related to the issue to share with you:


    Gmail has created a new mailbox to help users to define which mail is more important. This indicates the fact that the overflow of the information on the internet has troubled many people.


    It is a website that helps us to learn how to evaluate the information we find on the internet.


    September 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm

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