Our online future: Top 2011 posts on the Internet and society

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Many of my top posts of 2011 were posts that addressed major questions about the politics of the Internet today, and the future of the online world we are now creating. I wrote a number of these as part of my 40 day, 40 year history of the Internet; several others emerged out of the social media response to the Vancouver riots. If you are trying to understand what is at stake in today’s debates about how to use or regulate the Internet, or you are simply looking for a fresh perspective on the Internet’s social and political impact, I hope this posts will help you think about the crucial challenges that lie ahead for us online.

  1. Predicting the future of the “personal brand”: In this excerpt from my interview with Dan Schawbel, I talk about why I find the talk about “personal branding” so troubling.
  2. 1972: ELIZA, IANA and the search for (in)finite attention online: The 1972 Internet gave us ELIZA, a computer therapist, and IANA, which allocates IP addresses. Together they structure our contemporary dilemma: how do we get scarce, human attention in a world of infinite online distraction?
  3. Dittos remind us of the pleasures of obsolescence: If the smell of solvents makes you sweetly nostalgic for your 3rd grade dittos, you know that technological progress is not without its regrets. And if you don’t remember dittos, you’re not too young to appreciate the joys of technological nostalgia.
  4. Honoring the debt Canada’s connectivity owes to Chinese workers: When you choose a historical metaphor, you make claims on conscience as well as imagination. Canada chose to complete its national network of connectivity in November 1985, on the 100th anniversary of completing a national railway built on the hard work of ill-treated Chinese workers. The Canadian – and global — Internet is in danger of repeating that sad history.Top posts of 2011
  5. The Core Tenets of the Social Web, 25 years in the making: What are the essential principles of today’s social web? This post spells them out — and identifies their surprisingly deep roots.
  6. Lady Gaga and the transcendent narcissism of social media: After attending Lady Gaga’s Vancouver concert, I looked at how her on- and offline relationship to her fans showed the power and perils of social media narcissism.
  7. Crowdsourced repression: Could it happen here?:  In the debate over the social media response to the Vancouver riots, much hinged on whether you believed that authoritarian repression was something Canadians needed to worry about. In this post, I argued that in a global society, we do need to think about how our use of the Internet plays into larger currents in world history and politics.
  8. An online cure for an unsustainable model of leadership: On the sad occasion of Jack Layton’s passing, I asked: how can we create a world in which leadership need not be a fatal condition? And does the Internet help or hinder that quest?
  9. 6 questions about the impact of social media on think tanks: How does the Internet change the way policy is made — or more crucially, change the role of policy in shaping our society and politics? Based on my comments at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, this post argues that policymakers, interest groups and think tanks need to understand how profoundly the Internet constrains their ability to set and enforce policy.
  10. Got a pregnant friend? There could be an app for that: Imagining our future online world sometimes means imagining the next generation of tools and interactions we will use or enjoy. In this post, I make a bold prediction for the future of reproduction…in the form of application mock-ups.
  11. 6 crucial police guidelines for stopping social media vigilantes: When Vancouver’s Police Board considered the report on the Vancouver riots, I identified the 6 guidelines the Police Department could adopt to prevent future online vigilantism.

Tomorrow, my final post in this series will share my top 11 favourite posts from other people’s blogs.

1 Comment on this site

  1. Anonymous

    Great online feature and history of internet.Top 11 post and there feature in 2011.

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