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March 06, 2007


Elizabeth Audrey

In your original project proposal, you discuss the implications of public expression for democracy and self-government, and I find this aspect to be one of your most compelling “take-home” points. I don’t know if I just glossed over this in your paper outline, but in which section are you planning to address this?

I guess I need some help understanding something. The ability to “more literately” create publics and public information aids the free and robust exchange of information within a democracy, and at the same time might lead to a kind of fragmented public sphere as Sunstein describes? Sunstein’s notion of the “daily me” seems to be antidemocratic in that it prevents people from exposure to different points of view. How can the creation of “publicness” both benefit and hinder the pursuit of democracy? It seems as though it has to be one or the other.


In your original posting you ask "when do users move from being mere publishers to members of a public?" I think this is an important question that your updated outline hints at here and there, but doesn't specifically aim to tackle. I feel like your paper focuses more on the architecture of blogs instead of the culture of blogs. I think publics necessarily have a sense of culture or identity, so you’re missing out if you don’t talk about it. If I'm wrong and your aim is to talk about the technical side of blogs then well done, but for a non-tech-y person I think relating it back to culture or to the traditional sense of public forums, even more, would add to your discussion.


I guess the only area I would like to see explored is in the case of small or large corporate or government interests trying to infiltrate these spaces and misrepresent themselves. The case about the Dept. of Educ. blogger who was on the payroll, those two bloggers working(ed) for the Edwards campaign, and businesses who pay off bloggers to post positive reviews. I know it seems like a subpoint, but to a large degree it's unchecked and I'm guessing goes unnoticed most of the time. Perhaps it's worth taking a look at, because I know from a start-up standpoint that astro-turfing blogs and review sites like Yelp or CNet is a quick way to get name recognition up.

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