Mass Self Communication

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= It is self-communication because it is self-directed in the elaboration and sending of the message, self-selected in the reception of the message, and self-defined in terms of the formation of the communication space.

- Manuel Castells


Description

Manuel Castells:

" with the diffusion of the Internet, and the explosion of wireless communication around the world the technology of communication has dramatically changed, and with this change comes a new form of communication. While Internet is an old technology, since it was first deployed in the U.S. in 1969, it was only in the 1990s, with the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee and the privatization of the Internet by the U.S. Defense Department, that it became a mass medium. From 9 million users in 1995 it went to over 1 billion users in 2007. As for wireless communication, it jumped from 16 million subscribers in 1991 to 2.6 billion subscribers in 2007. But it is not simply a matter of numbers. It is the quality of communication that changes. The new form of communication is based on interactive horizontal networks that convey messages from many to many, from local to global to local, in real time or chosen time. Because of the deliberate design of the Internet byt its creators, the flow of communication is difficult to control, albeit surveillance is widespread. So, messengers may be repressed, but messages go on. Internet is a global public space. And through the convergence between Internet and wireless communication, communication power is diffused through society and becomes a personal tool for everybody with access to the Internet.

Furthermore, with the development of social software tools, the so-called Web 2.0 has constituted a new form of civil society. With young innovators able to create social communication spaces that are subsequently transformed into companies, and some times become part of large corporations, people around the world have now the tools to produce their own audiovisual broadcasts, and their own newspapers. In April 2007, Technorati tracked 70 million blogs from around the world, with 120,000 new blogs posted every day. The blogosphere has been doubling every 7 months, and now is projected to double every 10 months. Every day some 100 million videos are watched in You Tube, and there are about 20 million regulars users of You Tube per month. MySpace has over 100 million users, building their own spaces and selecting their networks. While major corporations, such as News Corp and Google, are acquiring these social spaces, they try not to interfere in the self-management of the communities because they would lose their attractiveness for users. Besides, there are many alternative sites, and new ones could be easily formed and developed by simply moving the flow of interest to freer sites.

Thus, a new world of communication has been constituted. I call it mass self-communication because it reaches tens of millions, as much or more than television and radio, and certainly more than specific outfits of the print press. It is self-communication because it is self-directed in the elaboration and sending of the message, self-selected in the reception of the message, and self-defined in terms of the formation of the communication space. To a large extent this communication system escapes the control of both governments and corporations, even if there are regulations and even if corporations own much of these communities. Because of the connection to wireless communication and its ubiquituous power of communication, under the new system of communication, images, sounds, news and ideas diffuse as fire in the prairie before any deliberate control can stop it.

Of course, we are not in Utopia, and both governments and corporations are now trying to enclose the Internet by tinkering with net neutrality, and by issuing an arsenal of legislation increasingly repressive and punitive. So, the struggle for free communication continues, as it has been going on throughout the history of humankind. But the chances of personal autonomy vis a vis the apparatuses of power have extraordinarily increased with the rise of mass self-communication." (http://www.mediacoolhunting.com/archives/the-rise-of-mass-self-communication)