I think we’re getting somewhere

In response to last week’s post about whether social software designers are thinking politically about their work and about whether social software can serve the public interest, fostering civic participation. Chris Messina, a developer of the Flock web browser, responded:

In fact, we’re designing Flock to serve that very purpose, considering the citizen journalism angles and working to build a suite of tools that can be used to re-democratize media.

That’s encouraging. I often fear that some web services like MySpace or Flickr are used as 21st century vanity plates, places for people to admire themselves and their collections of friends. I tried Friendster back in the day but it seemed pointless; I wasn’t really friends with many of my Friendster friends, yet I felt the bizarre need to collect more of them every time I came across someone with like 750 Friendsters.

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0 thoughts on “I think we’re getting somewhere

  1. i cant stand those people with 1000 friends. i mean they dont really KNOW those people, it so obviously doesnt count. oh, did i miss the point again?

    but isnt “citizen journalism” just another term for “blog” which, while you and some others are noble in your efforts to reach out and disseminate information, most people (myself probably included) just use as a platform to either brag about how cool they are (id like to think i dont do that) or rant about how pissed off they are or chronicle personal events? which is itself a bit of a vanity plate. maybe it’s just me. wait a sec, am i being the cynical one this time?

  2. Citizen journalism, I think, is a term for one way to use a blog — to report locally and subjectively the experiences and thoughts of people. Blogs aren’t one thing; they’re tools. They can be used to talked about oneself endlessly or root for the end of all evil. That’s what’s great about them.

    Did you read the article in the Times last week about Chinese bloggers? The featured blogger was a woman who likes to take her clothes off and put pictures on the blog. They can’t stand the heat but they can’t ignore blogging so they do their best to write the phenomenon off as a trendy fad.

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