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Internet structure #midtermmakeup

Since its creation, the internet has evolved a lot and has suffered multiple improvements. Starting as a decentralized network, the internet helped people to get in touch with each other, as groups that were not able to talk to each other started coming online. However, the internet kept evolving, and it reached a centralized system.

In his article The present and future of a centralized internet, Juan Ortiz Freuler defines centralization as “the process through which intermediaries reshape the architecture of the web, increasing their gatekeeping power over the information that circulates through it”. What this means is that all the power of the internet comes from one source. As a result, in case of failure of that source, there can be terrible consequences. This problem did not exist with decentralized network, since problems only had local impact and could be easily solved. Freuler already argued this problem in his article Who’s to blame? The internet on the defendant’s bench, as he recognized this “single-point of failure” in the centralized network.

Both of these articles invite the reader to reconsider their opinions. As the network evolves, it is capable of gathering more information about users, leading to not “facing random or unanticipated encounters with information […] that might allow people to connect and empathize with others in ways that are relevant for social movements”. To conclude, this means that those people in control of communications gain power over regular internet users, which will put them in a higher position. Also, if the internet was compromised, all our data would also be, as everything is stored in the same place now.

Works cited

Freuler, Juan Ortiz. “Who’s to blame? The internet on the defendant’s bench”. OpenDemocracy, 6 December 2017, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/digitaliberties/who-s-to-blame-internet-on-defendants-bench/

Freuler, Juan Ortiz. “The Present and Future of a Centralized Internet”. OpenDemocracy, 13 March 2018, www.opendemocracy.net/en/digitaliberties/present-and-future-of-centralized-internet/.

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COVID-19. Now what?

The world has faced a large amount of setbacks, from two World Wars to different political and economical problems. The most recent, and the one that has the world shocked, is the COVID-19 pandemic. This world-spread disease has affected every person around the globe, as their daily routine has changed drastically.

Many countries have opted for their lockdown, not allowing non-essential people to go out of their homes. This means schools and universities are canceling their classes and transitioning to remote education. Therefore, use of media also needed to adapt, in order to fulfill all the requirements of the education faculty. As a result, students are using their devices in a different way to what they are used to. Instead of using computers or phones to chat with friends or meet new people, students are using them for their online classes and homework. Since this is not their purpose for most of us (myself included), we are feeling that our understanding of media is shifting from a social place to a work place. For example, danah boyd said in her article that “Teens often turn to sites like MySpace for entertainment; social voyeurism passes time while providing insight into society at large”.

This coronavirus outbreak not only has changed our perception about media, but also how we perceive the world related to media. What I mean with this is that, with schools and colleges closing, not everyone will have high-speed internet connection, or even a device to work on. Also, people can be misinformed about the virus and how to protect themselves from it, since they are not able to receive valid information. We are able to see now that not everyone can afford the necessary technology to be updated, or to work from home, which should be a basic right.

Image from https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/click-for-cash-how-to-make-money-on-the-web-1.3990835

Works cited

boyd, danah. (2007) “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.” MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning – Youth, Identity, and Digital Media Volume (ed. David Buckingham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press