What are we doing? Microblogging, the ordinary private, and the primacy of the present

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Coeckelbergh, Mark (2011) What are we doing? Microblogging, the ordinary private, and the primacy of the present. Journal of information, communication and ethics in society, 9 (2). pp. 127-136. ISSN 1477-996X

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Abstract:Purpose - This paper aims to better understand the cultural-philosophical significance of microblogging. In this way it seeks to inform evaluations of this new medium and of the culture and society it co-shapes and in which it is rooted.

Design/methodology/approach - Engaging in philosophical reflection inspired by philosophy of technology, political philosophy, and cultural history, this paper identifies and discusses some structural features of microblogging such as Twitter.

Findings - This paper discusses the following structural features of microblogging as a medium: an emphasis on activity, the rule of opinion, emphasis on the ordinary and on the self, blurring of the private/public distinction, the primacy of the present, and the paradox of distance and proximity. The discussion also suggests that microblogging remediates ‘older’ media such as letters, e-mails, texting, diaries, and newspaper writings. Finally, the paper explores some strategies to cope with the new medium, including ‘hacking’ it in order to widen the spectrum of possibilities it offers.

Research limitations/implications -

Practical implications - The paper assists users and policy makers to reflect on how new media such as microblogging might change the way we live and think. It helps them to better understand the medium and to evaluate its use.

Originality/value - Although there are data available now on the use of Twitter and other microblogging technologies, there has been very little philosophical reflection on the phenomenon. This paper begins to bridge this gap and makes novel connections between ideas from different academic fields
Item Type:Article
Copyright:© 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Faculty:
Behavioural Sciences (BS)
Research Group:
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/publications/77357
Official URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14779961111148640
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