Power to the People: Images by the People
This text was the one that I found most difficult to parse, but it gave some important and useful background information to better understand and appreciate the other two texts. In this essay, Weibel examines the evolution from representative visual media, to a interactive and more participatory social media, that was initiated by the democratization of image creation, but was truly heralded by the rise of the information age, with the technologies that enabled the mass distribution and dissemination of ideas, media, and art. This rise in social media has significant implications and effects on how society progressed in the late 20th/early 21st centuries, with a particularly notable effect on politics and protests.
When seeing is belonging – the photography of tahir
I enjoyed this text, as it provided a fascinating look into the protests in Tahir Square, Egypt, during the Arab Spring. At the time, I was too young and disconnected to fully understand and appreciate the importance of what was going on in the Middle East, and as alluded to by the text, the media I was exposed to was often heavily biased or filtered by the mainstream media sources I was consuming at the time. This article brought up some interesting insights into how social media, and the internet as a whole, enabled the protests to be as organized and widely disseminated as they were, but also touched upon the effects of the spreading of “poor images,” and how it influenced how the unfolding of events was communicated to the world.
Occupying the Noosphere: The Evolution of Media Platforms and Webs of Community Protest
This article was centered mainly on describing and analyzing the “noosphere,” defined as the layer above the zoosphere in which information freely flowed between individuals and communities, for the purpose of knowledge dissemination and collective organization. I found McLuhan’s usage of “hot” and “cold” media to be quite interesting, and made me introspect on how I tended to be drawn towards “hot” media, preferring to consume information instead of actively participating in online communities. With the context of the noosphere in mind, it is easier to see how protests around the world, from Egypt to Wall Street, evolved from an idea into widely organized events attended by millions of people. However, the democratization of information exchange facilitated by the noosphere can be as detrimental as it is beneficial, as in my mind, it tends to result in more decentralized communities, that might have a harder time narrowing in a single, unified message. It appears that what is gained in the strength and mindshare of many, is (partially) lost to the general disorganization and incohesiveness that results.