Participatory Culture May Be Dying

Posted on February 19, 2010

We have an unprecedented opportunity to create a vibrant culture here on Facebook, as I have had the pleasure of experiencing with friends all over the planet, from various background and perspectives, via my blogs and journals since around 2000.

Culture is participatory in nature.

I post a lot of political banter on my Facebook wall. I expect people to respond, to talk, but almost nobody does. I have no idea why.

What I have noticed my social network peers doing is posting pre-formatted, canned propaganda bursts from PR sites such as change.org and barackobama.com

These are carefully tuned PR press releases with 'share' buttons, easily disseminated via social networks and blogs. Such snippets are the modern equivelent to bumper stickers: quick, loud bursts designed not so much to encourage discourse but instead designed to make the message pervasive enough that it shapes the prevailing cultural zeitgeist. It isn't so much discussed and understood as it is dispersed and passively absorbed.

I respect your perspectives, goddamnit, I really do, but I want to hear from YOU. I want you to actually type something that represents the particular cross-pollination of ideas that constitutes your current understanding of the world. This is important! The very fabric of our culture is falling apart at the seams. I know you can feel it happening, too.

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