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Review of “A Small World After All” by Ethan Zuckerman

The author analyzes many cases that small media has amplified the social movements from Islamic revolution to Arab spring. By comparing the cases in different ages, the author says that connection with the world has not been increased that much despite of enormous development of media technology.

Compared to the time when people struggled to get the fact, the media technology has been developed enormously. Now, all kinds of informations are wandering around the Internet, all we have to do is just grasping those news. We can identify with all sadness in the world. But we don’t do that. Instead, we spend most of our times to check the things we are already familiar with. It seems that we are doing only what we want to do instead of what we might need to do. Blame on us.

However, bunch of important things are happening in this world, what should we get among them? What should we type in google to connect to the world? One-sided media such as TV is better than the Internet in this point of view, even though the author is skeptical about TV because it does not contribute much to the world-connection. TV is for people who don’t even know what they want, evening news talks about the war across the world even if I don’t want to listen to. On the other hand, the Internet is for people who already know what they want. All the hyperlinks do not show their contents until I click on them, search results are not shown until I type right search term.

For better connection with the world, the news need to be specified. Local people who know the context of the news should convert unheard mystery into concrete news. Then, it should be translated, explained, remixed, given all shots to make it attractive to other people.  Global Voice is the author’s endeavor to do it. This site is great, but I wish this would be more appealing.

I found the ted speaking by the author, fun and worth watching :

721 comments to Review of “A Small World After All” by Ethan Zuckerman

  • Nancy

    We can identify with all sadness in the world. But we don’t do that. Instead, we spend most of our times to check the things we are already familiar with. It seems that we are doing only what we want to do instead of what we might need to do. Blame on us.

    I might want to quote this in class.. is that all right?

    TAke a look at Andres’ review of the same piece.

  • HanByul

    Sure, it will be honor for me.
    It seems that Andrés wanted to move the point to outside of the Internet, but I wanted to deepen the thoughts about the information itself.
    I really enjoyed this article, thank you for the present.

  • Andres

    The phrase made me think in this comic:

    Jokes aside, of course it is important to put things in perspective, and to know how fortunate we are even if we had a bad day. But sometimes, thinking in ‘all the world’ can be a bit overwhelming and paralyzing, I mean, if we compare things with children starvation, little else seems to have sense to fight for. But here we are, pursuing a graduate degree in one of the richest cities in the world.

  • HanByul

    Did the phrase I wrote remind you of that comic for real? Perhaps my expression was too emotional. I did not mean that we always have to be sad, or feel pity for others. Yes, you are right thinking about other’s issues are sometimes too burdensome for me who do not face those problems, but the thing I wanted to say was that we should not pretend that nothing happens because of the pressure. This is also why I argued that the information should be ‘attractive’ to others. People (including me) do not want to spend time breaking their hearts, but I believe that they still want to support the right (though this word is too vague) things. People who are in the middle of the issue should be able to play with their anger,sadness, and information to spread the issue.

    I want to show you one good example. In the summer of 2011, Seoul National University, the university I attended, made an arbitrary decision to incorporate the university (it used to be national as its name shows) without asking the students’ opinions. In consequence, students engaged in a sit-in protest, occupying the school’s administrative building, until the school agreed to hold talks with them. Instead of going violent, students decided to hold a music festival as a way of expressing their angers. People related with this festival (other than the university) really enjoyed all processes of the festival, all news were spread really quickly. I was really surprised that there are much more people who are supportive to the issue than expected. This is the official blog for the festival all things are in Korean, sorry, but photos would help you to assume the atmosphere of that time.

    I could clarify my stance thanks to your comments. Thank you.

  • William Lindmeier

    It may not be totally related, but some of the issues you touched on relate to the idea of the “echo chamber;” that the web might be enabling a self-segregation of ideas and news sources. There has been some research done which suggests that the echo chamber may be more of a conventional myth than fact. This article points out that Facebook enables “novel” information to be passes among “weak links” in a network:

    And this paper asserts that our information segregation is much greater in face-to-face interactions than online:

  • Aaron

    Thanks Hanbyul, it was nice to take a look at my own internet habits and see that, yes, I am sticking only with what I know. A way to find things online that I (and others, whoever they are) don’t know about, that would be something really interesting to develop…

    As to what you and Andres were discussing, I don’t think that becoming in touch with ideas, people and situations that one is not normally in touch with necessarily means that those things are negative. I think there has got to be tons of things happening out there that I don’t know about that are amazing and terrible and wonderful and sad and horrible and joyous and everything else that is possible.

    Big YES to doing what we need to be doing even if it is not something we want to be doing…

  • etb273

    Thanks Hanbyul,

    This made me think about my own habits and wether we were anymore connected through the internet. I have come to the conclusion that we are more connected but also less present with each other. The younger generation that has only experienced a world where they are connected in this fashion will have a different connection than we have. I hope that there connection evolves to be as present with each other as we have been in the past. I have noticed in myself that it can be difficult to stay present when I am always able to explore and multitask.