So, Technological Empowerment!
In my opinion, it’s more then having unlimited access to the Internet or having a cell phone in your hand. The empowerment comes from being able to manipulate that beautiful piece of technology you have before you to meet your individual needs.
I found a blog on www.toymakerproject.com where the author makes this point:
“If you buy a cell phone, and you use it to call your friends, that makes you a consumer of technology…but that doesn’t really demonstrate technological empowerment. You aren’t really changing it to meet your needs or building something new.” It takes a lot more then having access to technology to make one technologically empowered.
I found this quote from the course reading important in understanding where empowerment should lie:
“Over the last few decades, the pioneering work of the community media activists has been largely recuperated by the hi-tech and media industries … they remain dependent on key people who can research and create original products, from software programs and computer chips to books and TV programmes.” -The Californian Ideology, p 49
The concepts of the ‘virtual class’, consisting of computer scientists, developers and communication specialists, in my opinion, are the real empowered individuals. These innovative entrepreneurs are the ones enslaving us to our computers and smart phones, and without their applications, websites or computer software, we would still be using ancient methods of communication and production. Why use pen and paper to send a message through ‘snail-mail’ when we now have e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets to get the message across the world in seconds, rather than days. These outlets we are using on a day to day basis for communication did not just pop out of thin air. They were skillfully put together by a group of people (or in some cases, individuals) who are still putting in enormous amounts of time and energy to make it such a useful tool. They are the ones who are manipulating technology so that the average user (like myself) can find technology a useful tool to consume in everyday society.
So yes, although we have the ability to use technology to make us feel like we are ‘powerful’, having the technological ‘world’ at the click of a mouse, I don’t feel more then utmost appreciation for the developers and computer scientists who are creating these outlets that assist in making all of our lives easier.
Thank you developers. You guys are the tops!
Cited Sources for further reading:
Hay, J., & Couldry, N. (2011). RETHINKING CONVERGENCE/CULTURE. Cultural Studies, 25(4-5), 473-486.
And a good example of how one individual can use technology to empower many can be found at the following blog: