Lisa Lynch at if:book links to this LA Times article about how 2005 was the year of the “techno-cultural revolution” because things like iPods, Palm Pilots, and other individual goods took cultural capital away from the traditional mass media. I’m tired of new consumer trends being described as revolutionary, and so, I suspect, is Lynch:
before we celebrate too much, we need to remember the difference between consumers and citizens. We are technoconsumers, not technocitizens, and as we celebrate our possibilites, we forget that “much of the supposedly independent and free-spirited techno-culture is being engineered (or rapidly acquired) by a handful of media and technology leviathans: News Corp., Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google, the budding General Motors of the Information Age.”
This type of talk defines “revolutionary” in a consumerist way, a meaning far beyond my idea of revolutionary. I’ve talked about my irritation with Apple and its use of revolutionary rhetoric; this is the same to me. When these technologies — which are cool and useful, just not revolutionary — get used to turned people into cyber-citizens, enabling more democratic participation and representation, I’ll wave the flag of revolution.
p.s. Check out my wiki on this subject and add to it if you want.