Links of the Day #5

Today's round-up includes mobile phones, the invention of the term "polymedia", rethinking the perhaps inadequately named "Internet of Things", dystopian digital futures, and technology as a perpetually frightening prospect.

Posted: 03 Sep 2010 11:47 AM PDT
Here's a newly invented word within media studies/media anthropology - polymedia: "photo and video sharing and social networking sites all readily available. New forms such as video messaging are on the horizon. We suggest that in such a situation the primary concern shifts from an emphasis on the constraints and affordances vis a vis a particular medium to an emphasis upon the social and emotional consequences of choosing between a plurality of media. The mere situation of polymedia changes the relationship between communication technology and society."

Catchy word, but does it help? My concern is that it presumes that 'polymediated' contact is a new state of being, when I'd say that it's our standard method of communicating (albeit somewhat dressed up in favor of power-users). I get it, our media worlds are multiplying exponentially. But polymedia today, hypermedia tomorrow? Media anthros, what do you think?
Posted: 03 Sep 2010 11:39 AM PDT
A collection of research papers on mobile phone studies in Latin America. View and contribute.
Posted: 03 Sep 2010 11:37 AM PDT
Anthropologists presenting their research on mobile phones (or that addressed the subject in a wider context) were concentrated in two workshops: Media Anthropology and Digital Anthropology. The first one was coordinated by John Postill (Sheffield Hallam University) and Philipp Budka (University of Vienna). The second by Daniel Miller (University College, London) and Heather Horst (University of California, Irvine). Here you can see a list of those papers, authors and abstract. They will most likely translate into journals articles in the future.
Posted: 06 Sep 2010 08:14 AM PDT
"Worries about information overload are as old as information itself, with each generation re-imagining the dangerous impacts of technology on mind and brain. From a historical perspective, what strikes home is not the evolution of these social concerns, but their similarity from one century to the next, to the point where they arrive anew with little having changed except the label." What are we so perpetually and repetitively afraid of? This is a good read, and not just because I'm tackling technology fears in my PhD thesis. More on that later.
Posted: 06 Sep 2010 06:19 AM PDT
This issue of Digital Icons explores the practice of e-participation and e-governance in post-Soviet, post-communist countries, focusing on three main geographical areas, Central Europe (Slovakia), Russia, and Central Asia. The use of information and communications technology to overcome traditional difficulties associated with the interaction of the state and its citizens represents a double-edged sword in post-totalitarian space. For many, the coming of digitized governance heralds an end to needless bureaucracy, countless hours wasted in queues, and access to hitherto unavailable government services. For others, however, the expansion of the state into the virtual realm is a harbinger of a dystopian future where the panopticon is always watching, and even the most private thoughts of citizens are monitored and recorded by the state. This issue of Digital Icons aims to examine the inherent tension between these two extremes.
Posted: 05 Sep 2010 11:43 AM PDT
Anne Galloway shares an interesting conversation regarding the awkwardly named Internet of Things. What should it be called?

"tomcoates: @tigoe My problem with The Internet of Things is that it feels separate and analogous to the Internet, when there's no distinction.
tomcoates: @tigoe What we need is a term that points towards the extrusion of the data-rich network into objects, while acknowledging the wider whole.
tomcoates: @tigoe For me, the interesting thing is not the 'things' but the way the network pushes its way into / through them.
tomcoates: @tigoe I think that's why I like the Real World Web pitch - because it points to that extension of the web. A new phase of The Internet."

I think Real World Web misses the point entirely (that the Internet is no more or less real than everything else we busy ourselves with, hence wanting/needing to link it all up), but I'm not sure I have a better solution. Anyone?


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