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Web 2.0: A Giant Leap Toward Cultural Homogenization

March 16, 2009

My thesis, among other things, is focusing on the incessant commodification of the American public space and different artistic efforts to reverse this trend.  For this reasons, I am more aware than ever of the effects of commercialization in society.  I have long been a fan of the site Adbusters and the article “Beware of Wikipedia” very much drives home the point that the giants of the web–Wikipedia and Google, to name a few–are rapidly homogenizing the content of the internet.  Rather than having a vast array of information at our fingertips, like the Web 2.0 was to usher in, more and more we are guided to a single source.

Wikipedia, while a fantastic resource for dabbling in nearly any topic imaginable, is not a substitute for actual research.  Nor is it a fix-all for societal ignorance.  More than any other source, Wikipedia is coaxing society to accept a universally-uniform epistemology while affording its users a sense of individuality.

Google has grown to be the king among internet giants, effectively mediating most users’ entire experience while using the internet’s tools.  More frighteningly, Google is an advertisement driven business that unceasingly inundates public space with advertisements.  Like the ‘commander’ in the game Battleship, Google is able to maneuver  its pieces (yes, in this metaphor internet users are battleships on a board) to strategically defeat its opponents and the battleships are none the wiser.

In the end, I don’t have a better solution.  In order to continue bringing great products, Google must make money. At the same time, it is important that some space be preserved from the advertisers.

Thanks goodness for artists like Poster Boy.  Without them, who would subvert the adverts?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. nicky88 permalink
    March 16, 2009 7:06 pm

    I think this relates to more or less a sociological/anthropological perspective than anything else. It is our (audience and now the interactive community) drive for albiet, pruirient media information, which also encourages the Americanization and commercial feeds. I’ve just started reading about indigenous minority media. Film Festivals such as Latin American Film Festival is not advertised as much as say the french film festival in Lille. Perhaps, advertising space is an issue which I am not familiar with as yet- I’ll have a read about that- thanks.

  2. March 18, 2009 5:03 pm

    It sounds like your thesis is really going to be interesting. You’ll have to at least give mini-updates to tantalize your readers as you work and think through it.

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