Read & Respond – Week 3

January 19, 2012

This week is all about past AND present. In addition to continuing to refine your blog’s concept, you’ll be learning about where the Internet came from, and where it is (or is not) going with regard to the current SOPA debate. Let’s dive in…

Briggs this week calls his chapter “advanced blogging,” which is right in line with where you should be by now. You’ve got a few posts under your belts, but you’re wondering where to go from here. In keeping with this week’s history theme, he’s got a good section on where blogs came from, including a shout-out to Dan Gillmor, who’s a strong evangelist for rethinking media-audience communication (have a look through his Twitter feed for evidence of the man’s passion for this subject). Briggs offers up some good tips for getting started, as well as providing some useful terminology and audience-building tactics.

You might consider reading this week’s links before Briggs because many of them address the world before social media (these are fairly in-depth, so SKIM). First, there’s this piece from the Internet Society, “A Brief History of the Internet” – it’s a little tech-y, but note the players involved. Likewise, take a glance at these two timelines: How the Internet came to be, and Hobbes’ Internet Timeline (now up-to-date!), which is an EXHAUSTIVE listing of events – don’t try to read the whole thing, but DO use it as a reference.

Now, let your reading muscles relax and watch this video on just where the Internet came from:

With all that context in mind, I want you to turn your mental gaze to the SOPA/PIPA debate we’ve discussed in class. After yesterday’s blackouts, the bills seem to be taking serious hits from what’s been presented as a ground-up, new economy vs. old economy throwdown. Online iconoclast Jaron Lanier, on the other hand, suspects there’s a lot of hooey to these “grassroots” claims (as you’ll see this semester, Lanier thinks there’s a lot of hooey to most things). Based on what you now know about the Internet’s origins, what do you think of how the SOPA debate has progressed?

Is the Internet something invented by an individual? Just where did it come from, and in what forms has it existed? How do its origins inform the things we use it for today (like protesting)?

Remember, your response is due as a comment to this post no later than noon on Monday, Jan. 23.