Our hyperlinked society

Do hyperlinks encourage people to see beyond their personal situations and know the broad world in diverse ways? Or do links encourage people to drill into their own territories and not learn about social concerns that seem irrelevant to their personal interests? What roles do economic and political considerations play in creating links that nudge people in one or the other direction?

These questions drove the discussions at a conference I wish I had been able to attend. The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania convened a couple hundred people in June to explore the effects of digital links on people’s ability to understand and care about their larger society.

Links have become a basic force that relate creative works to one another, notes conference program material. “Links nominate what ideas and actors have the right to be heard and with what priority. Various stakeholders in society recognize the political and economic value of these connections. Governments, corporations, non-profits and individual media users often work to digitally privilege certain ideas over others.”

Cross-disciplinary panels included news, entertainment, and marketing executives, information architects, bloggers, cartographers, audience analysts, and communication researchers.

Thanks to conference organizers for posting video clips of panel discussions.

(via Center for Social Media)


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