Monday, 24 December 2007

ICTs and Society: The Slazburg Approach

Today I have been inform to pay attention to the research paper ICTs and Society: The Salzburg Approach. I have not read it yet, but the abstract was interesting enough to share this with you. I would be grateful for some comments ...

There is an international debate revolving around the question whether or not the field of overlapping studies and research in Internet, Information Society, ICTs and Society, Social Informatics, Informatik und Gesellschaft, New Media, and the like, is or shall become a discipline. The answer the authors of this paper intend to give is that the best option for research in ICTs and society is to become a “transdiscipline”. The paper will explain how the term “transdiscipline” can be used to characterise a field shaped to meet what the authors think contemporary society is in need of. Aims, scope, and tools of ICTs and society research will be elaborated on. This paper is a revised version of a paper three of us presented at the IR 7.0: Internet Convergences, a conference held by the Association of Internet Researchers in Brisbane, Australia, in September 2006.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

The Year of Them

It has been a year since Time named You Person of the Year. In last issue James Poniewozik published an essay titled The Year of Them. He stresses that They run the show. "But who made the big noise in Web 2.0 world this year? It was Them. The professionals, the old-media people, the moneymen - all of them, conscious that there was profit in Your little labor-of-love socialist paradise. Story of Your life, right?"

Friday, 21 December 2007

Pew Internet

Check out Pew Internet & American Life Project. It produces reports that explore the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the internet through collection of data and analysis of real-world developments as they affect the virtual world.

Internet Famous

I was checking out and came accross the article titled Googling for Your Grade. At Parsons The New School for Design in New York City 15 students have an assignment to become famous in the virtual world, therefore, a piece of scouring software, and not their teacher, will be giving them grades. Check out there blog: Internet Famous. What do you think about the assignment?

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Mac vs. PC

Who is jealous here?

Monday, 10 December 2007

Debating Information Society and the Context

When debating “information society”, “information revolution”, “information explosion”, “information overload” and other related notions the question what is information is basic. What is the relationship between information and meaning? What is the relationship between meaning and sign? What is the relationship between sign and word? These questions are neglected by Manchlup’s and Porat’s a decades old narrow “economic” understanding of information: “Both view information as a commodity made up of goods and services that have costs as they are created and that can be bought and sold.” (Crawford, 1983: 382) The goal of their economic analysis was not just to measure the trends of “information society”, but to use national income accounts to explain the causes of these trends. In recent cultural and historical context these analysis are not suitable due to the inability to differ “information sector” and “other economic sectors”.
Their often criticized and at the same time praised work was the groundwork for Ithiel de Sola Pool 1983 article Tracking the Flow of Information in which he approached “informational society” on micro-level through the prism of “all flows of information” simply translated in the unit of words (Pool, 1983/1998: 251–253). By using words transmitted and words attended to as common denominators, novel indexes were constructed of growth trends in seventeen major communications media from 1960 to 1977. In that period there have been extraordinary rates of growth in the transmission of electronic communications, but much lower rates of growth in the material that people actually consume, representing the phenomenon often labeled information overload (Pool, 1983/1998: 249). In methodologically dubious and historical context reflecting Pool’s article does not include changes in flow of information, which were anticipated by Pool as well (1983/1998: 261).
Crawford (1983: 384) and Pool (1983/1998: 261) concluded in similar fashion that “the new information technologies” and “new styles of use of information media, including interactive retrieval, long-distance communication, and intelligent processing of records” will be taken into consideration in future discussions of information society, media consumption/production, media literacy, transformations of the information flow and power relations in author-text-audience relationship in the years to come – especially in the context of the historical evolution of the internet (cf. Leiner et al, 2003).

Igor Vobič, 2007

- Crawford, S. (1983). The origin and development of a concept: the information society. Bull Med Libr Assoc. October; 71(4): 380–385. Available at:, December 10, 2007.
- Leiner, B. M. et al. (2003). A Brief History of the Internet. Version 3.32Last revised 10 Dec 2003. Available at:, December 10, 2007.
- Pool, Ithiel de Sola (1983/1998). Tracking the Flow of Information. Politics in Wired Nations, 249–262. New Burnswick, London: Transaction Publishers.

Friday, 7 December 2007

The Internet and the Right to Communicate

The development of the Internet challenges traditional conceptions of information rights. The discourse surrounding these rights and the Internet typically deals with each right in isolation and attempt to adapt long established understandings of each right to the new technological environment. We contend there is a need to address information rights within a comprehensive human rights framework, specifically, a right to communicate. This article published in First Monday in 2003 examines the development of a right to communicate and how it can be defined and implemented. Maybe you will find it useful.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Did Somebody Say Interactivity?

The title of this post is a paraphrase of Slavoj Žižek’s book Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? in which he argues that totalitarianism “is a kind of stopgap: instead of enabling us to think, forcing us to acquire a new insight into historical reality it describes, it revelas us of the duty to think, or even actively prevents us from thinking.” (Žižek, 2001: 3) In Rob Crover’s (2006) article, in which he demystifies interactivity as an exclusive and natural characteristic of “new media”, interactivity can be regarded as a kind of a stopgap. This can especially be attributed when Crover (2006: 145) debates the author-text-audience relationship in the context of “mainstream” online media ( and “alternative” online media ( Crover (ibid.) characterizes this “dichotomy” as a struggle between corporate media industries and consumer-users, between author and audience.
Crover (ibid.) universalizes connotative message of’s advertisment “We say, you need only three keys – CNN” on all “mass news media”: “The implication of CNN’s reduction to needing only three keys is that news and information creation is, and should be, in the hands of a media industry and its authors, journalists or content-creators” (ibid.) However, contemporary research indicates that journalism is in the process of rethinking and reinventing itself online. Journalists are drawn into new “permitted” forms of interactive practices (i. e. “normalization” of blogging in “mainstream” journalism) that are gaining legitimacy and thereby altering some traditional notions how journalism should be done (i. e. reshaping their gatekeeping role) (Singer, 2006; Robinson, 2006; Deuze, Bruns and Neuberger, 2007).
On the other hand, Crover (2006: 145) stresses that independent internet media or Indymedia “in both structural terms and intent allows content-creation, right for reply and redefinition, debate and discussion to be held by general user – indeed, its moto is “Everyone’s a journalist”. However, contemporary research proves that production process in Indymedia outlines the corporate editorship. “Indymedia editorial teams often face the same problems as the ones faced by corporate news media, the ways of solving such problems by Indymedia activists are based on a radically different interpretation of journalistic ideology.” (Deuze, 2003: 336)
When debating over re-transformations of author-text-audience relationship in journalism the complexity of theoretical underpinnings of interactivity, presented by Cover (2006), should be taken into consideration. The last sentence of Barthes’ (1972/1977: 148) essay The Death of the Author is in this “new” context at least interesting: “[W]e know that to give writing its future, it is necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the Reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.”

Igor Vobič, 2007

- Barthes, R. (1972/1977). The Death of the Author. Image-Music-Text, 142–148 New York: Hill & Wang.
- Cover, R. (2004). Audience inter/active: Interactive media, narrative control and reconceiving audience history. New Media & Society, 8(1): 139–158.
- Deuze, M. (2003). Indymedia Journalism. Journalism, 4 (3): 336–355.
- Deuze, M., Burns, A., Neuberger, C. (2007). Preparing for an Age of Participatory News. Journalism Practice 1 (3): 322–338.
- Robinson, S. (2006). The Mission of the j-blog: Recapturing Journalistic Authority Online. Journalism, 7 (1): 65–83.
- Žižek, S. (2001). Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? London: Verso.

What Is Not Internet Studies?

David Silver (2006) and David Gauntlett (2004) have different understandings of the status of “internet studies” and “web studies” as a part of social sciences. When discussing rapid approach of “internet studies” toward disciplinary status Silver (2006: 2) epistemologically leans on cultural studies. He acknowledges that this “young field of studies” is “under construction – with boundaries not yet set, with borders not yet fully erected, and with a canon not yet established” (Silver, 2006: 5). On the other, Guantlett (2004) argues that “new media offered much-needed kick to the world of media and communication studies, therefore, he positions “web studies” only “inside” media and communication studies. Both understandings are questionable and rather exclusive. Silver’s mapping of a special academic field implicitly contains the distinction between “life on line” and “real life”, however, the internet has become institutionally so integrated with processes and relations in political, economic and cultural system that the sense of its separatness, in regard we “normally” get things done, has in some way dissipated. Regarding this conception, Guantlett exclusive interlinking “web studies” with media and communication studies is rather surprising, because the research concerning internet is pouring in from a broad array of disciplines – the field of media and communication on its own cannot find all important questions that need to be addressed and the various ways to approach them. The cyberspace is a fluid phenomena which is being imbued with political, economic and cultural system and, therefore, has to be studied from different standpoints and with different approaches. The internet has lost its “newness” and “innocence”. Resnick (1998) in this regard acknowledges “the normalization of cyberspace” and imposes re-consideration of Foucault’s (1979: 184) notion of the Normal: “[T]he power of normalization imposes homogeneity; but it individualizes by making it possible to measure gaps, to determine levels, to fix specialities and to render the differences useful by fitting them one to another.”

Igor Vobič, 2007

- Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Alan Sheridan, trans. New York: Vintage.
- Gauntlett, D. (2004). Introduction. D. Gauntlett, R. Horsley: Web.Studies, 2nd Edition. London: Hodder Arnold.
- Resnick, D. (1998). Politics on the Internet: the Normalization and the Public Sphere. C. Touluse, W. T. Luke (Ed.): The Politics of Cyberspace, 48–68. London: Routledge.
- Silver, D. (2006). Introduction: Where is Internet Studies? Critical Cyberculture Studies, 1-14. New York: New York University Press.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Mark Deuze: Interview

Mark Deuze holds a joint appointment at Indiana University's Department of Telecommunications in Bloomington, United States, and as Professor of Journalism and New Media at Leiden University, The Netherlands. In this interview he talks about themes from his sold-out book Media Work (2007).

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Internet World Stats

I would like to attract attention to website Internet World Stats. It is an international website featuring up to date world internet usage, population statistics and internet market research data, for over 233 individual countries and world regions. I hope you will find it useful ...

Saturday, 1 December 2007

The State of News Media

As a part of the Project for Excellence in Journalism the annual report on American journalism The State of News Media gathers in one place as much data as possible about all the major sectors of journalism, identifies trends, marks key indicators, note areas for further inquiry and provides a resource for citizens, journalists, and researchers. Maybe some of you will find some interesting data concernig your seminar paper ...

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Why New Media & Society?

I have chosen the seminar New Media & Society because my basic research interest is online journalism - its theoretical and methodological issues.

I am interested in locating online journalism in the context of contemporary developments in communications and to set online journalism in the broader frame of historical evolution of journalism.

Some of the theoretical issues to be considered through the prism of cyberspace include:
- questioning a definition of journalism and a journalist,
- reflecting the crisis of journalism and revisiting its normative framework,
- reconsidering contemporary concepts in journalism studies (i. e. public journalism),
- re-establishing journalistic communication process,
- reasoning the transformation of the public sphere in the online environments,
- questioning the relationship between technology and cultural transformations of journalism.

Another dimension to be considered involves methodological issues and developments related to conducting empirical study. Practices and circumstances of online journalism need to be studied both on the institutional level as well as on the level of daily practices.

My personal objective with regard to this seminar is strengthening my methodological and theoretical knowledge regarding new media, cyberspace, online environments and online journalism, my idea of the seminar paper is (at this point) focused on conducting a qualitative research project of Slovenian leading online newspapers through the prism of online media logic.

See you on Friday ...