Knowledge is Power; Information is Liberating [DIGC202]

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In a world where we have access to an abundance of information it is interesting to learn just how vital the Internet has become in our daily lives. In particularly the search engine Google.

Last Friday for a brief period of 5 minutes the Internet’s largest search engine remained useless. Incredibly during the outage web analyst’s estimated that 40% of global traffic was lost in the 300 seconds Google was down.
GoSquare developer Simon Tabor was quoted saying “this staggering drop in usage just proves how reliant we are on Google”. If there is something we don’t know we use the decentralised network of the Internet (and in particularly Google) to inform, entertain and broaden our knowledge and experience.

Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Indiana states “In the world of knowledge and information work the dominant presence of Internet and other networked media cannot be ignored” (2006, pg.12) . Whether you are simply searching for a YouTube video to learn how to change a car tyre or researching for an academic paper, knowledge is knowledge, no matter how complex the activity.

This again relates back to the notion of the flow of information. No longer do we live in an era reliant on industrial work whereby work is to the rhythm of machines. We live in era where knowledge work is set by the flow of information.

Bradwell affirms the change between the industrial and knowledge work sectors stating, “Knowledge-based services grew 177 per cent between 1995 and 2005, compared with 52 per cent for non-knowledge-based services” (2008, pg.25). A dramatic trend that has continued to strengthen as International economies become intertwined, technologies become faster and networks become further decentralised.
We have moved away from an industrial age of which was once built on strength, dexterities and entities and transcended into an information age that is reliant on the concepts of power, creativity and relationships.

In an interview at the G8 Innovation Conference, British Prime Minister David Cameron stated in reference to the Digital Britain Report; “More than any time in history our world is being shaped by innovation, new ideas, new technologies and new companies. This is the story of the global economy… A global race is underway and it is waiting for absolutely no one.”

These innovative ideas have seen the creation of monolithic platforms that have forever changed the world. Dueze proclaims “The most successful businesses on the internet – like eBay, Yahoo, Google, and Amazon – share one fundamental characteristic: the product these companies deliver is connectivity, bringing people together to trade, communicate, interact and exchange knowledge, information, goods, and services” (2008, pg.36).

As the debate concerning censorship and governmental control of the Internet continues to put pressure on users, the whole argument supported by world leaders feels like an oxymoron. On one hand governments want us all to embrace the digital age, convergence and the knowledge economy. On the other, they (governments) want us all to adhere to their policies that effectively abolish creativity and network construction.

In a recent post I was all for the censorship of the Internet. After this weeks week’s readings and lecture I am not so sure.

What are your thoughts regarding the industrial vs. information debate? Comment below or tweet me at @fluke_aus.

References

Bradwell, P & Reeves, R 2008, Network Citizens, Power & Responsibility at Work, accessed, UOW DIGC202 Moodle site

Deuze, M 2006, Liquid Life, Convergence Culture and Media Work, accessed 21/08/13, UOW DIGC202 Moodle site

Images

Luke Macdonald
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing

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8 thoughts on “Knowledge is Power; Information is Liberating [DIGC202]

  1. Great post Luke. Its certainly interesting the kind of impact that Google has on our lives. How many times a day (particularly at uni) do people just give up on thinking in a few seconds and look an answer up on Google. Yes Google provides a link to an endless supply of information but at the same time is it making us lazy on a mental level?? I am also on the fence with Internet and censorship and I don’t think its safe to simply stand either side. I think that sitting high up on a fence in between gives us the chance to stay open enough to capitalise on the positive functions that the Internet provides, but also allows us to keep our guards up in relation to negative aspects that can potentially harm our virtual and real world identities. This argument maybe the first one in my life where I say fence sitting is the way to go.

  2. Hello, very informative. I heard about Google going down but I was unaware of how much traffic was lost. That just shows the large percentage of Google based services internet users use on an, I suppose you can say given the time frame that Google was down, hourly base.
    On the industrial and information debate I do not really hold a stance either way. I find it interesting how hard the knowledge based services hit with as you quoted 177% growth.
    I believe that knowledge based services have for a lack of a better word killed the industrial industry with those in the knowledge based careers developing new technologies that often replace those in the industrial world.
    http://www.converge.org.nz/pirm/nutech.htm < this is actually an interesting read of how technology is leading to the end of jobs.

  3. An impressive, well-written post. I didn’t even know Google was offline last week, maybe I’m a bit of a technological enigma? I know for most people though, Google is the deity of information. We use it not just for accessing information, but also as a kind of secondary desktop. I don’t store Facebook in my URLs, I go through Google. (This is probably not that efficient, but I do it anyway).
    Concerning censorship, it’s interesting that you noticed the oxymoron being presented to us by our governments. In the lead up to the election, our competing politicians are using a lot of online material. They are contributing to the technological globalization but are the first to suggest internet policies and censorship, though they never use that word. Maybe China is one of the most ‘advanced’ countries in this respect, and I put advanced in inverted commas because it’s not necessarily a good thing. Are our democracies headed for the same restrictions as The Golden Shield places on them? And when/if it happens, will we abide by these laws? I don’t think so.

  4. Great post and video Luke. I had no idea that google was down, that must have been the only 300 seconds of the day that I was not on google. I am not sure where I sit when it comes to the information age. Initially I thought the notions of presence bleed and liquid labour were great, the free flow of information and connectedness giving me the opportunity to work from home or answer emails on the go (if I was running late to work, in a boring meeting or at a cafe). However, I quickly began to change my mind after reading more about the implications on the future workforce, like being connected means always working (nine to five will be a thing of the past) and not only that the workload will grow with greater hours, and the workforce will increasingly become more casual (where is the work stability). It’s a bit daunting.

  5. I am another one who was unaware that Google had gone down, although I’m surprised I did not know because I seem to use it as my answer to so many of my questions. I find that “just Google it” has become a regular if not copious statement that leaves my mouth every time I am asked a question where I am not quite sure of the answer. I still can’t seem to decide if this is truly a good thing or not? On the positive side, we have endless amounts of information and connectivity at our fingertips; I can’t even try to imagine living my life without Google (might be a little extreme, but it’s true, I can’t remember a time where Google hasn’t been my home screen). However, the negative aspects of this include the fact that so many individuals now believe that they don’t have to think for themselves anymore, contributing to continuous idle behaviour within our intellectual aspect of life. In todays society, it’s a given that employers expect so much more from employees and that liquid labour is something we are just going to have accept (we may not want to, but were going to have too). With industrial work set to the rhythm of a machine and information work set to the flow of information, the 9-5 working hours have become obsolete for knowledge workers as the flow of information never stops, so why should you right?

  6. Gone are the days of dinner table debated that are left up in the air and unsettled. Thank you Google! It is crazy how dependent we are on it, but those statistics still blew me away. It is a little bit scary though the way we instantly turn to a search engine for every little thing. And not even information in academia or entertainment, but about people too. I’ve heard of some cases where people are ‘Googled’ by an employer when applying for a job – and this is where social media comes in. Just the other day a friend of mine was saying that a girl didn’t get hired at her work because she had photo’s of herself in a bikini on her private Facebook page. And here comes the privacy argument – what’s wrong with what someone does in their personal life? That does not necessarily mean they don’t have the sufficient skills or work ethic… But on the other hand why post images which employers may find inappropriate, in a public space?

    I’ve also heard of people altering their names on social media platforms to avoid this happening. I used to think that people shouldn’t be so sneaky, to Google someone and find out as much as they can about them… However I now realise that if it’s on the Internet, they have a right to see. As soon as you upload something you consent to the representation you are making of yourself and the possible assumptions and consequences that come with that.

  7. Such an interesting post! I often think about what people used to do before Google existed – I myself can not even fathom what it would be like to have to get the encyclopedia out every time I wanted to know a fact or various definition. My parents often talk about how lucky I am while studying to have so many resources at my disposal whenever I need them… And classes such as DIGC202 are again enforcing this concept in terms of the sheer enormity of information that is actually out there in cyberspace!

  8. I like how you touched on how the government wants us to be online, but only in a very specific way. It reminds me of a video i saw once where a puppet was telling its friends to be creative with colours. They were all yelling out colours, then one of them yelled out, “green” and the main puppet replied, “Green is not a creative colour”. Its wasn’t meant to be a commentary on any issue, i don’t think, just something that would be funny to hear because of how ridiculous a statement it was. Its exactly what we’re being told in regards to the internet however.

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