Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rebecca McKinnon

This is the shit! This talk just about sums up in one place the things about Big Tech that are missing from every piece of softball coverage of Big Tech. I add Rebecca McKinnon to the short list of Big Tech critics: Cory Doctorow, Eben Moglen, Eli Pariser, Rebecca McKinnon, Marc Rotenberg and EPIC, the EFF...

I happen to think that a lot of the time, the toughness of the coverage is tempered by starry-eyed fondness for the coolness of the technology, or even by an awareness that the newspaper/journalism group has interconnections with Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and relies on them for their bread and butter in the form of the underlying delivery platform for their content. It's hard to fight the powers when they're big, have their tentacles most everywhere, and everyone has been told that this is the new way to do *promotion* of anything. I presume if I went to the Speakers Bureau web pages for the organizations that represent Pariser or McKinnon or Doctorow, they'll all have the F and the T in their sidebar. There is nothing any of us can do about it in 2011. You still use Facebook in the short term because that is where loads of people will be to read what you say. But that sense of economic need, expressed as a massive vote of approval made of millions (?) of little one-off decisions that I need to be there because my people are there, tends to keep inertia inertia. And also provides fuel for the rebuttal that hey, we must be doing something right because we are massively *popular*. I would tend to want to be there too. I admit it. The fear of "missing out" stops me jumping ship. Also I think it's terrible that third-party services require you to throw in with one of a very small number of Big Tech entities. Khan Academy, the popular and hypergenerous open learning website and organization, as of right now, only supports accounts from Facebook or Google. So you have two choices: use Big Tech and in a tiny, incremental way, be complicit in all of their creepy initiatives, or be shut out from participating.

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