Virtual Revolution Essay | Essay Sample on Internet

Virtual Revolution- BBC 2
Episode 1- The Great Levelling?

An empowering tool that has more potential than any other in the history of mankind”- Al Gore

5 Million use a dating site every month
up to 40% of British Men view web porn

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18 million Britons read blogs. There are 130 Million blogs worldwide.

65 million ppl use Wikipedia each month
It has 14 million articles
instead of truth and knowledge being handed down by experts, it will slowly emerge from the masses”

The webs greatest miracle is convenience, but the price we pay is in accuracy” Lee Siegel

The webs roots are in a the culture of freedom and self-expression that can be traced back to the 60’s counter culture in San Francisico” _
-Aleks Kratotski.

Previously, computers had been the preserve of governments and the military, but new, cheaper models in the 70’s began to put the technology into the hands of the masses. The Altair 8800 was the first.

John Perry Barlow from the Grateful Dead, joined The Well, He believed that the internet was a challenge to traditional structures of authority.

Used in the right way, the web can fundamentally harness the power of the crowd and change political landscapes. Ory Okolloh- used the internet to challenge the results of the election in Kenya and cover the ensuing crisis. Site called Ushahidi. Allowed ordinary ppl to record attacks and document the crisis. This put pressure on the authorities to address the problem.

A paradigm shift on a par with the invention of the printing press.”
Aleks Krototski

6th of August 1991. The first website went online at Cern, just outside Geneva- Tim Berners-Lee had written HTML and invented the world-wide web.

The web is deliberately structured in a way that resists authority. Equal access, you don’t need permission to visit or create, there is no centre and no controlling authority, and it was given away for free.” --Aleks Krotoski

Conflict between those who saw the web as a place to share and those who saw it as a place to buy and sell. Berners Lee vs Bill Gates.

The web challenges trad notions of ownership, creativity and power”
-Aleks Krototski

Napster- founded in 1999 by Shaun Fanning-
Loss to the british music industry so far = approx £531 Million.

You Tube posted its first video in 2005. Now it has more than a billion
view a day. Each minute, 24 hours of video are uploaded.

Episode 2- Enemy of the State?

Twitter and Iran- Twitter was developed in SF in 2006.
2 million tweets sent out of Iran in the first 18 days of the protests by over 500,000 ppl

At its height, 2 million tweets were posted about Iran
Every hour

The web is a tool-box for protest, It’s unmediated , its interactive, and its mobile. Unlike Television” A Krotoski.

Imagine how quickly the Berlin Wall would have fallen if Twitter had existed” Stephen Fry

We change our tools and then our tools change us” CEO, Amazon

People are talking amongst themselves and that leads to power”- Biz Stone, Creative Director, Twitter

Now 2 billion people are online world-wide

The Internet is the most democratic platform in history” Vince Cerf
co-inventor of the Internet and designer of packet-switching.

Wikileaks- Allows the audience to anonymously blow the whistle on governments and corporations. Has 1.2 million documents on its database.
  • has named a list of BNP members
  • publicised the contents of Sarah Palin’s email account
  • published classified documents about Guantanemo Bay

The net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it”
John Gilmour- This is known as The Streisand Effect

Haystack- designed by Austin Heap- a way of allowing Iranians to bypass state censorship of facebook and twitter- without fear of detection

Climate change Campaign- The webs’ ability to bypass traditional electoral politics- “The web has changed the nature of community. You no longer have to physically proximate to other people”

People can bypass party politcs and rapidly mobilize behind a single issue” Aleks Krotoski

If you have a communication system that has no central control, that is unbreakable, that can amplify a message, then information becomes super-charge. In the right or wrong hands it take son massive significance in battles against authority. Anonymous users can take on the role of investigative journalists, by publishing information and protecting primary sources”. –Aleks Krotoski

China- has 253 million online, more than any country in the world.
Ruled by the Communist party for the last 60 years

The Great Firewall of China- 300,000 Chinese are secretly
involved with censoring the web inside China. They are called
internet commentators” and they plant state-approved
commentary on blogs and social networks. They are paid 50
cents per post. The 50 cent army is up to 300,000 strong.

May 2008 – Sceczhuan earthquake. The incident was reported
by Chinese citizens. Amateur sources replaced state media
coverage of the disaster and relief efforts.

One of the biggest innovations in surveillance in recent years has come about through the growth of social networking sites. Once ppl make visible who their finds are its possible to search for covert communities” – Ross Anderson, Cambridge University.

The web can empower a government to repress and insurrection, it can empower the insurrection itself”- Lee Siegel

We are beginning to see a rising political consciousness in nations that have been suppressed by dictatorships”. Al Gore Iran, Burma…

Paypal- handles 60 billion dollars in transactions every year.

Facebook- 350 million users. If it was a country, it would have the third biggest population in the world

The web and extremism- The web has linked extremeists. Al Qaeda and the Taliban were early adopters and regularly disseminate material through the internet.

Portable Homeland- the web replaces physical borders for these disparate extremists. The web collapses distances and allows for accelerated radicalization. Or cyber-balkanisation. Or Homophily.

Estonia- 2007 cyber-attack. ‘denial of service’ where a site is attacked by thousands of requests from hackers, eventually paralyzing it. Estonia’s entire web infrastructure was effected. It had to completely isolate itself from the global web. Rumoured to have been initiated by teenage Russian students.

Episode 3- The Price of Free

20 years after its creation, the internet offers us unprecedented access to free information. But we pay with a commodity perhaps more precious than gold, with intimate information about ourselves” – Aleks Krotoski

The product online is not the content. The product online is you” – Douglas Rushkoff

Users around the world make 76 billion searches a month on Google. In a day, we post 3 million images on flickr. All for free. In a month 350 million of us browse through the webs blogs. For Free. But……

Every month Google gathers billions of search terms that helps them to refine their user profile of you and sell increasingly more precisely targeted advertising. Cookies on your machine send information to third parties about your web habits.

The reality is, online life is a trade. You pay for a free web with the currency of information of who you are as a user and what your clicks across the web say you are interested in. Trading information on web users is the guiding principle of a free web”
-Aleks Krotoski

The dot com Boom. Between 1995 and 2000, over 20 million .com names were registered. But…… the dot com crash came in early 2000. The NASDAQ lost a quarter of its value. Half of these new .coms were bankrupted.

Google. One of the biggest money-making machines in history. Did this by turning its consumers into commodities. It has turned our curiosity into its goldmine. Every day 2 billion searches are made in 40 languages. YouTube has 1 billion views per day. Google has become one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world by giving away their products to consumers for free…

But its net profits for 2009 were more than 6.5 billion dollars…….. How does it do this?

Every time we use google, we help them make money because google search and google mail and google docs deliver users so precisely to relevant advertisers.

How does Google search work?
It uses a link-counting algorithm to find the sites that are most relevant and interesting to the searcher.

What if you knew precisely what your customers want at any time and could instantly provide them with it?”

-Google can do this because when we type in google search we are stating what we want.

Adwords- specific ads appear in two sections of the google search. If you click on any of those ads, money will flow to google as the advertisers are paying per click. This is perfect for advertisers. A selling process initiated by the consumer, who is looking for something in particular.

Price= Bid x Quality.
So Joe’s Cars will be top of the ‘new car’ search if they bid a high amount and also if google approves the quality of their website.

The first rule of the internet is that you can speak to each individual as though they are a different person. It’s not a broadcast mechanism, it’s a narrowcasting mechanism. Adwords is a single message to single person every time”
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

It’s catching people in motion. Already goal orientated. Already half-way there. The products online are the eyeballs that are looking at content.” -Douglas Rushkoff

Behavioral targeting
When advertisers pay to receive information about our surfing habits. Our movements are tracked by Cookies. Every click as we browse leaves a digital fingerprint.

Recommendation Engines
Allow online businesses to constantly update their sites to match our interests and our behaviour

We are sort of re-decorating the store for each customer who walks in” –Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

But faced with overwhelming choice, consumers tend to stick with what they know. – Homophily!

Recommendation engines are very good at figuring out what ppl like me would do and telling me what that is so I can then find out what ppl like me do. I can become much more like a person like me. Recommendation engines, by telling me what ppl like do and encouraging me to be like a person like me, they help me to become more proto-typically one of my kind of person and the more like my kind of person I become, the less me I am me and the more I am a demographic type.”
-Douglas Rushkoff- Author of Life Inc

16 years of web commerce has utterly transformed what privacy means in the 21st century. A whole generation is growing up in public.” – Aleks Krotoski

What we have done is limit the range of human expression on the internet to those things that are market friendly. Look at facebook. Utterly conformist and rigid profiles. You must define yourself by what books you buy, by what movies you like, by what actresses you aspire to, by whether you are single, married or looking, by things that the market understands.” -Douglas Rushkoff

Episode 4- Homo Interneticus?

Whether we realize it or not, through the web, we are all participating in an extraordinary experiment, the outcome of which is far form certain- Aleks Krotoski

South Korea- 10 times uk broadband speed. The most wired country in the world Thousands of cases of internet addiction.

Susan Greenfield- Neuroscientist. Concerned that because the web is virtual and that there are less real consequences to our actions online, that children are growing up without a real understanding of cause and effect.

Generation Web- By the time Generation Web reach adulthood, they will have spent 10.000 hours online.

Social Networks.
In 2004 facebook was a simple college website at Harvard

2009- 350 million facebook accounts.
23 million in the uk. More than half log in daily for more than an hour.

The key criticism of facebook is that it makes friendship meaningless and that undermines society.” Aleks Krotoski

Status updates- pioneered by facebook. Users didn’t have to search for information. Information came to the. Facebook became an information loop.

It is this culture of real-time updating and not the number of friends that is the big shift that facebook has contributed to our relationships” Aleks Krotoski

hyperlinking- does darting from link to link make us lazy and easily distracted?

When you grow up expecting to be able to find information at a moments notice, what does it do to your ability to internalize information? “–Clay Shirky

The really big surprise was that ppl seemed to be skipping over the virtual landscape. They were popping in from sites, looking at one or two pages and then going on. No-one seemed to be staying anywhere for very long”
Professor David Nicholas- University College London

This research suggests that the web is converting us from thinking linearly to thinking associatively. From Hedgehogs to Foxes

Marshall Mcluhan realized that people always judge new media by the standards of old media. So the internet is all about networked relationships, but people still judge it as if it was static content. And so you look at you tube and you say this is a silly cat video and judge it as content instead of saying this was something that one person created in their garage and that three other people collaborated on and added toand that is part of a culture of creating and sharing that is more important than the content itself. Look at audiences for sit-coms or Hollywood movies. They are just passively consuming these linear mediums.”
-Jonah Perreti- Co –Founder of The Huffington Post

Barack Obama-
Chris Hughes co-founder of facebook took a years’ leave from facebook and went to work for the Obama campaign
During the election year, Obama had three million facebook friends and studies showed a third of all under 30 year olds used social networking to communicate their politics

The technology of the web, with its feedback loops, viral collaborations and associative connections appears to have attracted young ppl to politics on a scale that hasn’t been seen for generations.”- Aleks Krotoski

“Perhaps the most amazing the most amazing thing about this revolution is that we’ve seen all of this profound change in just twenty years. This isn’t the end, it’s merely the beginning.” –Aleks Krotoski


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