8:30-9:00 a.m.:  Arrival, coffee


9:00-9:15 a.m.:  Opening comments from pre-conference organizers


9:15-10:45 a.m.:  Roundtable 1:  Historiography and the Very Idea of the New


Of continuing concern to the study of history and to the study of new media is the question of reflexivity:  how do we understand the terms we apply to new media?  And what are we to make of the changes in our own systems of thought?  This roundtable will address these questions.


Eric W. Rothenbuhler, "What Is New?  What Is Not?"

Carl Therrien, "The History of Video Games: Teleological Illusion and

Other Methodological Issues"

Michele Rosenthal & Rivka Ribak, "Writing a history of ambivalent use:

The case of alternative communities and old/new media"

L. Suzanne Suggs, Chris McIntyre & Joan Cowdery , "Health

Communication and New Media: Just Another TV Rerun?"

                        James Hay, "Watching Ourselves Through the New Tele-visuality"

Dmitry Epstein, "Following the "Digital Divide": Historically Situating

the Construct in Realm of Communication Theories and Theories of Development"

Paul Skalski, "The Parallel Development of Film and Video Games:

History and Implications"


10:45-11:15 a.m.:  Coffee Break


11:15-12:45 p.m.:  Roundtable 2:  Media History Old & New

This roundtable pulls together a set of papers that involve comparisons (implicit or explicit) between new media and media with a longer history.  This kind of comparative focus has been an essential component of historical work on technology and media for some time.


Michael Zimmer, "Renvois of the Past, Present, and Future:  Hyperlinks,

Discourse Networks, and the Structuring of Knowledge from the Encyclopedie to Web 2.0"

Noah Arceneaux, "Department Stores and Home Shopping, 1911-1950"

Ingrid Erickson, "Where Are You Now? Locating Ourselves and Others

in Mediated Communication"

Merav Katz-Kimchi, "Historicizing Utopian Popular Discourse on the

Internet: Positions, Comparison, and Contextualization"

Fernando Bermejo, "Audience Manufacture in Historical Perspective"

Teresa M. Harrison, "Wielding New Media: Exploring the History of

Engagement with Media and Community"

Sabryna Cornish, "The Discursive Practices of Media Convergence: When

Old Media Meet New Media"


12:45-1:15 p.m.:  Lunch


1:15-2:15 p.m.:  Panel Discussion:  Doing New Media History: A Roundtable


What does it mean to recount the history of new media? Does it mean we should study the development and stabilization of media technologies? Or does it mean that we should examine the interaction of new media technologies with various social and cultural practices and institutions? And what does it mean to work critically in a historical tradition? Can a historian recount the past without slipping into a celebration of inventors and inventions that "changed the world?"


Carolyn Marvin

Jonathan Sterne

Lisa Gitelman

Fred Turner

Ben Peters



2:15-3:50 p.m.:  Roundtable 3:  Historicizing the New, Part I: Cultures, Meanings, and Codes. 

New media have histories of their own.  Many of these histories have yet to be told.  These papers approach the history of new media through an emphasis on how they relate to certain meanings and ideas.


Melanie Chan, "A Critical Study of Representations of Embodiment and

Immersion in Virtual Reality"

Carolyn Kane, "Decoding Color Codes: The Origins and Ideologies of

Color in Computer Art"

Hiesun Cecilia Suhr, "The Role of Participatory Media in Consecrating

the Arts: Underpinning the paradoxes in the artistic field of"

Stephen Coleman, David E. Morrison, & Simeon J. Yates, "When

Prophecy Fails and the Failure of Understanding"

Kelli Burns, "A Historical Examination of the Development of Social

Media and Its Application to the Public Relations Industry"

Niels BrŸgger, "Website History"

M. I. Franklin, "The Browser Wars and Struggles for Control of the

Internet: The Next Generation"


3:50-4:15 p.m.:  Coffee, Tea Break


4:15-5:15 p.m.:  Roundtable 4:  Historicizing the New, Part II: Institutions, Organizations, and Networks

The history of new media will, perforce, require researchers to pay particular attention to the structures that underlay the creation and use of media.  This roundtable focuses precisely on the social structure portion of the equation.


Gado Alzouma, "The State, Media, and New Information and

Communication Technologies in Niger: A Historical Perspective

Brian OÕNeill, "DAB Eureka-147: A European Technological Imaginary

for Digital Radio"

Zizi Papacharissi, "The Virtual Geographies of Social Networks: A

Comparative Analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld"

John Carey & Martin Elton, "The Other Path to the Web: The Forgotten

Role of Videotex and Other Early Online Services"

Lonny J. Brooks, "The Long Arm of the American Futurist Project:

Connecting the Dots between Internet Origins, Future Scenarios, and New Media"


5:15-6:15 p.m.:  Reception


Presentation Abstracts


Alzouma, Gado

The State, Media, and New Information and Communication Technologies in Niger: An Historical Perspective

This paper examines the relationships between the state, media, and new information and communication technologies in Niger between 1960 and 2007. Two important periods are distinguished in these relationships: the period after the 1960 independence, essentially characterized by the state monopoly on media and framed by the ideology of nation-construction, and the period after 1991 corresponding to the institutionalization of democracy, the diversification of media and freedom of expression. This second period is marked by a conflictual representation of the role of the media in democracy. However, a new "ideology" is now arising which seeks to reconcile the media and the state around the use of new information and communication technologies, viewed as tools for a leapfrogging development. This new utopia is shared by governmental agents as well as by members of the civil society, members of the media and members of international and national aid agencies and NGOs who all share a set of dispositions and worldviews which are highly technocentrist.

The aim of this paper is to show how these technocentrist ideas are expressed in governmental policies and international donors' projects and programs formulations and how they are affecting the role assigned to media in development as compared to the past. I am arguing that these ideas are strongly correlated with specific social positions and interests; that they are local expressions of global interests carried by new elite, a transnational community that cuts across organizational, national and continental boundaries (Uimonen, 2003).



Alzouma, G. (2005), Myths of Digital Technology in Africa. Leapfrogging Development? Global Media and Communication, Vol. 1, No. 3, 339-356.

Uimonen, P. (2003), Networking as a Way of Life: The Transnational Movement of Internet Pioneers. In New Technologies at Work: People, Screen, and Social Virtuality. Garsten,C., and Wulff, H. (eds.), Oxford, New York: Berg. 



Arceneaux, Noah

Department Stores and Home Shopping, 1911-1950

Proponents of interactive television and other new media technologies frequently promise that the distinction between consuming entertainment and shopping, if indeed such a distinction still exists, will soon be annihilated. Every item shown on the screen, from fashion to furniture, could conceivably be purchased by the viewer/consumer with a few clicks of the remote. In such scenarios, electronic media serves to display goods to consumers and also makes possible the concept of remote shopping. 

This paper explores this particular method for conceptualizing electronic media by examining ways in which department stores originally promoted radio and television broadcasting. Before the radio boom of the 1920s, an era dubbed "radio's pre-history" by Susan Douglas, department stores experimented with wireless telegraphy and allowed passengers on luxury liners to place orders while still at sea. In the following decade, once the practice of broadcasting became widespread, dozens of department stores operated their own radio stations and sponsored programs on others. Government regulators and industry critics frowned upon the practice of direct advertising during radio's early years, preferring instead the more restrained form of sponsorship known as indirect advertising. The stores, however, found ways to promote themselves and their products without alienating listeners. The department store approach to radio led eventually to the spread of "radio shopping shows" in the late 1920s; a female announcer would describe the sales of the day and provide a phone number for interested customers. When broadcasting added the visual dimension and television arrived, stores were again among the earliest group of adopters. They continued to sponsor shopping programs, with the viewers' home television screen functioning quite literally as display window. Admittedly, these historical precedents were not as instantaneous as current e-commerce/home-shopping scenarios, though their existence does indicate that commercial interests often recognize the retail possibilities of new technologies before the process of mainstream diffusion has even begun.



Bermejo, Fernando

Audience Manufacture in Historical Perspective

The aim of this paper is to examine the process of audience manufacture in new media by contrasting it with the commodification of the audience of previous communication media. Since Dallas Smythe's (1977) proposal to consider that the commodity produced by mass media is the audience rather than the content, the commodification of the audience has become a fruitful entry point for the analysis of the political economy of communication. However, few attempts have been made at (1) contextualizing from a historical point of view this manufacturing process and (2) using this historical contextualization to understand the role of advertising in the process of commercialization of the Internet. The historical contextualization will allow us to examine the tension between the persisting interest of the advertising industry in trading audiences and the need to adapt the manufacturing process to the specific characteristics of different communication media. In previous mass media, this tension reached over time a point of unstable equilibrium in which different measurement procedures were developed to account for audience attention in terms of its exposure to content. However, this type of equilibrium has not been reached in the manufacturing process of online users. In spite of multiple attempts, the adaptation of audience measurement procedures for manufacturing Internet audiences that started in the mid 90's has not been able to generate a consensus among the different industry stakeholders. This lack of consensus is manifest in the very different approaches used to measure the exposure of online users to specific content. In contrast with this traditional approach focused on exposure, and starting around 2002, new procedures have been developed—particularly by search engines, with the leading role of Google—that aim at manufacturing online audiences not in terms of attention/exposure but in terms of interest/language. These new procedures, indigenous to the Internet, circumvent all traditional forms of audience measurement, reshape the advertising landscape, and shed new light into the commercialization process of new media. It is the contrast between these traditional and new approaches to the commodification of the audience that serves as the central thread of this paper.



Smythe, D.W. (1977) Communications: Blindspot of Western Marxism. Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, 1(3), 1-27.



Brooks, Lonny J.

The Long Arm of the American Futurist Project: Connecting the dots between Internet origins, future scenarios, and new media

Situating new media historically is a messy process especially in assessing the multiple claims as to who invented the principal elements of the Internet. Often missing in this exercise are linkages between the founders of Internet architecture and the agendas they pursue alongside their digital creations. Paul Baran, for example, is credited with developing the idea of packet switching, the principal ingredient necessary for a decentralized digital network to function. What is often overlooked is the subsequent think tank he founded in 1968 to envision future stories where digital technology and culture became institutionally narrated: The Institute For the Future. By historically investigating the inherited, performance-oriented practices in creating future narratives (known as future scenarios) of computing and bio-digital technologies, I follow their circulation into corporate, public policy domains as a form of narrative currency and social capital. Future scenarios, created for consumption in American organizational arenas, shape an emerging digital culture. Through a detailed ethnographic case study of the nonprofit thinktank The Institute For the Future (IFTF), I trace the historical paths of organizational and individual actors in sense making exercises imagining future digital worlds—as they become staging platforms to distribute new media rhetoric. Viewed as a gestalt of business fictions, future scenarios exist within a broader American futurist project born within the American military-industrial context of World War II where the long arm of their narrative reach materializes a future world as a form of anticipatory new media advocacy.  The individuals central to this process find themselves as agents for either the closing down, opening up, or negotiating through, the nuanced social possibilities of new media technologies—as lobbyists for performing in a digital future tense. 


Brugger, Niels

Website History

         Today no one would dispute that the internet has been an important part of our communicative infrastructure for some years now. Nevertheless, internet history is a relatively blank sheet, not to mention the sub-discipline of website history that can be considered an emerging discipline at the intersection between media history and internet history, and that regards the individual website as the unifying entity of the historical analysis.

         This paper puts on the agenda some of the new and fundamental theoretical and methodological problems within the field of website history. The focus will be on questions emanating from the specific being of one of the main sources: the website itself. The discussion will take as its starting point the research project entitled "The History of 1996-2006" — one of the first attempts to write the history of an individual website (the history of the website of Danmarks Radio, the Danish Public Service Broadcasting Corporation; the project is funded by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities and the Danish Ministry of Culture).

         Since websites are dynamic they must be archived in order to create a stable object of study, but what are the problems related to the use of archived websites compared to other major media types such as news papers, radio or TV? Taking this general question as a point of departure the paper will address the following four clusters of interrelated topics.

         1) Website history: What are the possible analytical objets of a history of a website? And what sources can be used?

         2) The website: What should be understood by 'website'? How can we conceptualize the website in terms of medium and text?

         3) The archived website: What characterizes the archived website as document? — a question that will be addressed both from a theoretical perspective and based on the findings of the first international test of the appearance of various archived versions of the same website from the same date in different archives.

         4) Website philology: Since more archived copies of a given website are very likely to be different from one another, and since we cannot expect to find an original in the form of the website as it actually looked on the internet at a given time, how should we then make use of archived websites in historical studies?



Burns, Kelli

A Historical Examination of the Development of Social Media and Its Application to the Public Relations Industry

Social media have directly impacted the processes of communication and relationship building, not just among individuals, but also between organizations and their publics. With communication and relationship building often the responsibility of public relations practitioners, these professionals have recognized their critical role in helping organizations succeed in this new environment as well as the need to rethink previous approaches. Social media applications for public relations may date back to 1997 when Steve Gibson was hired by Ritual Entertainment to be their online public relations director. In this capacity, he blogged for the company and is credited with being the first hired blogger ever.

While much has been written about the development of social media, the relationship between social media and the public relations industry has not been documented. This paper tracks the development of social media and the implementation of its various forms as public relations tools, including blogs, podcasts and video casts, social networking, RSS, and wikis. Also discussed is how traditional public relations instruments, such as press releases, have been transformed to incorporate social media tools. Not only do practitioners employ new tools and technologies, but the social media landscape also requires a rethinking of strategy, research, and measurement. Practitioners have responded to social media by seeking new sources of influence, building trust with audiences by being more transparent, and recognizing some loss of control over the message. Interviews with public relations professionals are used to illustrate the increasing acceptance of social media in public relations as well as changing expectations over the past ten years.



Carey, John & Martin Elton

The Other Path to the Web: The Forgotten Role of Videotex and Other Early Online Services

Accounts about the origins of the Web generally start with a U.S. defense department project that began in the late 1960s, subsequently expanded to include universities and research laboratories, then later evolved into a service for the public in the mid 1990s: ARPANET --- NSFnet --- The Internet --- WWW.  However, the content that eventually populated the Web - information, shopping, communication, games and advertising, as well as how the public learned to interact with online content, had a long history of development via videotex and other online services.  These are largely forgotten, except by a few scholars who have kept the history alive.  Videotex and other online services such as information databanks, computer conferencing, independent electronic mail services, proprietary electronic banking, pc bulletin boards, and online services for education groups or other non-profit organizations are either unknown to or considered irrelevant by the netizen community.  This paper will argue that the generally accepted history of the Web is fundamentally flawed by not acknowledging the major contribution of these other services to the online world we use today.

Most of the early online services failed (although there were exceptions such as Minitel in France and later, AOL in the US) but they contributed significantly to a knowledge base that would help develop services on the Web such as news, narrowcast community content, e-mail, social networks, games, shopping, banner ads and even auctions.  Through the industry leader, AOL, they also brought millions of users to the Web in the mid 1990s.  What was learned in the extensive research about these services is very relevant to the current new media environment.  It can also inform us at a more theoretical level about the diffusion of innovations and how the public learned to interact with media.  The context for the emergence of these services is informative as well: government policies about whether to support development; industry investment out of fear that they might be left out; and the technology infrastructure needed to support new services.



Chan, Melanie

A Critical Study of Representations of Embodiment and Immersion in Virtual Reality

A Critical study of representations of embodiment and immersion in virtual reality

The use of the term virtual reality has been accredited to computer scientist and musician Jaron Lanier. To begin with Lanier was enamored with the term because it was quirky and contradictory. However Lanier subsequently claimed that he found virtual reality to be problematic mainly due to the hype and overly optimistic expectations that have become associated with it. As Erik Davis points out the term virtual reality acquired cultural currency during the 1980s and 1990s Ôhitting the mass brainstem like a rush of crack, the term rapidly took on the millennialist charge of all pop futurisms' (1999:190). Indeed representations of virtual reality within Western and Westernized culture were particularly prolific during the 1980s and 1990s and were framed through references to wonderment and the promise that complete sensory immersion would be made possible through technological means.

            This paper however takes a critical stance towards representations of embodiment and immersion in virtual reality. In doing so the paper will indicate that particularly during the 1980s and 1990s there were representations of virtual reality which suggested that the body could be repressed or somehow denied. In some cases the human body was even denigrated as Ômeat', something that was outmoded, obsolete which could be discarded for a post-human existence in virtual reality environments. Countering these claims involves examining the ways in which embodiment can be regarded as a fundamental aspect of human experience.  Additionally embodiment will be considered in two mutually inflecting ways. Firstly it will be contended that the body is a constructed concept, an abstraction, which differs from our living, breathing sense of Ôbeing-in-the-world'. Secondly, this paper proposes that embodiment is a changing state of being rather than a fixed, material, object thus avoiding the tendency to reify the body.



Davis, E. (1999) Techngnosis – Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information. London: Serpent's Tail. 



Coleman, Stephen, David E. Morrison, & Simeon J. Yates

When Prophecy Fails and the Failure of Understanding

The paper will address contemporary concerns about public disengagement from the democratic political process and examine assumptions that the feedback paths inherent to interactive communications technologies can create a meaningful link between local experience and political authority thereby diminishing public feelings of inefficacy.

Data will be presented from our Futura.Com project based on an initial representative UK panel of 6,555 households enquiring into media and technology usage and political attitudes. The panel has now been running for ten years and represents the largest study of its kind ever attempted in Britain providing unique insight into changes in political associations and communicative response. 

The paper will also offer, as part of explaining the most recent development of approach and methods for progressing the study, a strident critique of the history of political communications research. It will show how the manner in which first radio research and then television research, by operating with formal definitions of political activity, imposed an understanding of what it is to act political that has little correspondence with how individuals themselves define political activity and by extension come to judge themselves as political actors.

Along side this historical comparison of approaches to understanding political communications, the paper, drawing on recent focus group research, and a nationally representative questionnaire survey – separate from the Panel – will show how various communications channels are judged as offering avenues of political influence and effect. The internet is seen as less effective than the letter, and the newspaper the most effective. Indeed, the internet, other than in the realm of symbolic political action, is not seen as providing much, if any, increase in political connectivity, in fact, has lessoned such connectivity through the very failure to achieve that which it promised.



Cornish, Sabryna

The Discursive Practices of Media Convergence: When Old Media Meet New Media

Survival of the human species has long been dependent upon its ability to adapt to different situations and different technologies. Technologies have their own patterns of evolution that rely heavily on incorporating the beneficial aspects of old technologies into new ones. The internet is a prime example of a technology that has relied heavily on the convergence of other technologies and media. But this is not a new idea: new technologies have long been pillaging the characteristics of previous technologies in order to keep themselves socially viable. When radio was introduced in the 1920s, its diffusion would not have been possible had it not been for the groundwork laid by the invention of the telegraph (Marvin, 1990). It wasn't until television became a distinct possibility, however, that we begin to see the ingenious ways that new and old technologies learned to adapt in order to survive. Television borrowed the format of radio shows, despite the fact that the two media were not sensory-compatible. The shift from a purely auditory medium to visual (plus auditory) medium did not seem to have a significant effect on the format of shows. It was not until the technology became more sophisticated that television as a technology developed into a medium that was no longer strongly influenced by its technological predecessor. Radio was then forced to react to the cementing of television into society by changing not only its format, but also its structural and pedagogical framework. The influence of films on television was more understandable given the similar nature of the two technologies. But what happens when a new technology embodies almost every aspect of previous media technologies? How do old technologies react to a new technology that mimics the unique characteristics they claim to offer? Much like "big box" stores that boast that they address every shopping need, the internet is the big box of media. It can supply the same content of other media and new content as well, forcing old technologies to rethink their very existence.

The introduction of the internet into the technological landscape posed some problems for traditional mass media. Although the internet needed to learn how to adapt to older technologies, older technologies needed to learn how to adapt to the internet. While old and new media are negotiating one another, the structural frameworks located within media often suffer with the concept of "drag and drop" content. Traditional media and the internet have become strange bedfellows in this sense. Radio, television, film and newspapers all have incorporated some aspect of the internet. The newer technology has been enveloped into the older ones. Historically, this is a unique occurrence. This historical-chronological comparative analysis incorporates content analysis of such media to argue that although convergence of old technologies with new ones is not a unique occurrence, the unique characteristics of the internet have revolutionized the way technology convergence is viewed.



Marvin, C. (1990). When old technologies were new. New York: Oxford University Press.



Epstein, Dmitry

Following the "Digital Divide": Historically situating the construct in realm of

communication theories and theories of development

Throughout its relatively short history the concept of the Ôdigital divide' has fueled a substantial amount of research. The phrase "digital divide" is found in almost 500 items within the social science citation index, while Google Scholar returns over thirty thousand results to the same query. A thorough reading of the research, however, reveals that the meaning of the term has changed over the years as it has reacted to theoretical shifts, public attention, and changes in information and communication technologies themselves. The conceptualization of the digital divide went from a simple definition in terms of physical access to technology, to encompass inequalities along various social, cultural, and political dimensions, to its recharacterization in terms of "digital inclusion". As a result, it is not surprising that scholars such as van Dijk call for more work on "conceptual elaboration and definition."

This paper situates the scholarly discourse about the digital divide in the context of both communication theories and theories of development. It illustrates how the scholarship on the digital divide followed a similar pattern to that of discourse on international development. Moreover, it highlights the similar evolutionary path of both concepts as they both are informed by both modernization and dependency theories. Finally, the paper suggests links between the contemporary discourse about the conceptualization of the digital divide and broader social and communication theories such as structuration theory developed by Giddens. In opening up the discussion on the academic framing of the "digital divide", this paper aims to enrich the relevant theoretical discourse and deepen our historical perspective on the digital divide as a pathway for future research on this important social problem.



Erickson, Ingrid

Where Are You Now? Locating Ourselves and Others in Mediated Communication

The last few years have witnessed the emergence of an accessible location-based infrastructure built on the commercialization of the global positioning system (GPS) and the development of location-based applications such as Google Earth and Flickr. At the same time, Ôsocio-locative' activities (i.e., practices that meld locative metadata and social interaction) such as social mapping, geotagging, and mobile microblogging have appeared on the scene, both to the delight and concern of users and pundits alike (e.g., Ransom November 27, 2006; Holson October 23, 2007). When considered with a short term lens, the co-occurrence of socio-locative practices and locative technology appears to be an example of technological determinism (Smith and Marx 1994; Williams and Edge 1996), namely that locative technologies are responsible for creating socio-locative practices. A more contextualized view, however, counters such reductionist claims by presenting data that illustrate how location has been an elemental part of mediated social interaction for some time.

The paper contextualizes the socio-locative practices of today by comparing them to practices spawned by the introduction of three previous technologies: 1) the landline telephone, 2) the personal computer, and 3) the mobile communication device (e.g., mobile phone, BlackBerry). I draw a tie with today's practices by showing that individuals engaged in these earlier forms of mediated communication (e.g., talking at a distance, instant messaging, SMS texting) also represented their own locations and accounted for the locations of their interlocutors (Fischer 1992; Holmes 1995; Green 2002). Simultaneously, I address the articulated motivations for including location information in each of the three communication practices in order to uncover synergies with contemporary locative discourse. Thus, while it may appear that locative technology is generative of socio-locative practice, historical evidence suggests that location has long played an important role in mediated social communication.



Fischer, C. S. (1992). America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press.

Green, N. (2002). "On the Move: Technology, Mobility, and the Mediation of Social Time and Space." Information Society 18(4): 281-92.

Holmes, M. E. (1995). "Naming Virtual Space in Computer-Mediated Conversation." ETC: A Review of General Semantics 52(2): 212-221.

Holson, L. M. (October 23, 2007). Privacy Lost: These Phones Can Find You. New York Times. New York.

Ransom, D. (November 27, 2006). Location, Location, Location: 'Geotagging' lets Web users put all that information in its place. Wall Street Journal. New York: R9.

Smith, M. R. and L. Marx, Eds. (1994). Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.

Williams, R. and D. Edge (1996). "The Social Shaping of Technology." Research Policy 25(6): 865-899.






Harrison, Teresa M.

Wielding New Media: Exploring the History of Engagement with Media and Community

Concurrent with the introduction of each new major media technology of the 20th and 21st centuries has been the development of corresponding community movements aimed at using the new medium in the service of community objectives.  Such has been the case with both radio and television, and is again evident in the history of the last twenty years of innovation in information and communication technologies. Common to, and perhaps most visible in the cases of community radio; community, public, or public access television; and more recently community computer networking is the idea that community engagement with new media can be used to enhance the processes and practices of democracy.

These movements have waxed and waned over time, but the idea of community use of media technology seems to be reborn on a regular basis. Community use implies that   members of the community -- i.e., lay people or hobbyists who adopt and use media technologies outside their normal employment -- deploy these technologies to create their own media products, serving their own particular interests, community interests, and perhaps even larger scale political goals to counter the growth of corporate control of media.  Indeed, the advocational use of new media to create content seems to be flourishing yet again in the widespread embrace of new Web 2.0 social networking or social media web sites, which offer their users an opportunity to construct information or media products of their own for distribution among members of their social networks.

In this paper, I explore what it means to take on the avocation of community media user, and in particular what idiosyncratic gratifications, community or political objectives, personal talents, and/or cultivated skills are bound up in the identities of those who engage new media in the creation of content.   I trace these characteristics historically across the introduction of radio, television, the Internet in its earliest forms, and more recent innovations made possible by the Web 2.0 platform.  I am particularly interested in exploring whether the impulse to wield new media can be said to have an historical trajectory and whether it is heightened in novel ways by contemporary web applications.



Hay, James

Watching Ourselves Through the New Tele-visuality

            As Raymond Williams famously pointed out, TV's emergence was not merely the outcome of an evolution of communication technologies but was part of a widespread regime of mobility and privacy–what he referred to as "mobile privatization."  From Williams' perspective, TV developed and mattered not only through a particular conception and design of house and home (the most private of spaces) but through a home-life that assumed and required particular forms of transport–and likewise, through forms of transport that required a particular model of domesticity.  Similar to James Carey's account of telegraphy and rail transport, Williams' thesis also rightly underscored that TV's emergence (or the emergence of any "medium") can not be explained merely as the outcome of refinements or experiments in technologies of communication, Following Williams and Carey, my intervention for this seminar emphasizes that historians of communication should avoid casting "communication" or "media" as discrete, self-generating practices and technologies.  The  "long history of new media" is just as much a history space, transport, travel, mobility, houses, cars, trains, clothes, and refrigerators as it is a history of communication "media"--the usual, disciplinary, and arbitrary historical points of references for Communication Studies.

            Today, TV (or at least the video monitor) is everywhere. "Television" no longer refers just to the home-based TV-set, and TV's ubiquity outside the domestic sphere has contributed to significant transformations in the physical environment of daily life.  Part of TV's dispersion across various spheres of activity has involved its portability and its attachment to technologies of transport.  My intervention for the pre-conference seminar takes stock of this current stage of tele-visuality by considering how it is instrumental to a new ("neoliberal") governmental rationality–one that emphasizes the government of the fully mobile self (or what Packer and I have described as "auto-mobility") and that plays out across a new socio-spatial arrangement (a new stage of mobile privatization) that expects citizens and consumers to manage their lives and to conduct themselves (to "watch themselves") through a new regime of personalized, mobile tele-visual technologies.






Kane, Carolyn

Decoding Color Codes: The Origins and Ideologies of Color in Computer Art

While we already know that each historical era can be associated with a specific color palette, and each hue of that palette can be quantitatively determined, the ways in which these color palettes affect our sensibilities, psychic states, and desires often falls beyond cognitive, scientific, and epistemological explanations. For instance, why do the super-saturated hues of 1980s video color, the garishness of early Photoshop compositions, or the subtle luminosity and transparency of today's interfaces, speak to us just as much about cultural desires, memories, and nostalgia, as they do the state of the art in mathematics, physics, and technology? A history of digital color in new media must be gleaned archaeologically, through a genealogy of our current psychic and sensory perceptions as they have been molded by both the new media of the past and present.

            The introduction of the digital color palette in the early 1970s seemed to, like no other palette, offer the artist and engineer infinite color choices. This enthusiasm is expressed in the early computer art of Lillian Schwartz for Bell laboratories; Edwin Land's color experiments for Polaroid; and continues today in the explosive colors in the work of the Paper Rad collective. And yet, in precisely the same gesture, the digital color palette holds the most highly rigid and algorithmic proscriptions for the possibilities of digital color production. This paper demonstrates that the ambivalence of the digital color palette holds an allegorical relationship to cultural dreams, utopias, and desires, on the one hand, and the ideological imperatives implicit in a history of warfare, trauma, and violence, on the other. Thus, this archaeology of digital color brings into focus a perspective on new media history entirely unexplored.  The paper concludes that decoding digital color, because digital color essentially integrates the machinic-technical and the aesthetic-psychic, is a necessary precondition for rendering any history new media art forms as always already embedded within social, political, and historical matrices.



Katz-Kimchi, Merav

Historicizing Utopian Popular Discourse on the Internet: Positions, Comparison, and Contextualization

This paper reviews the historiography of technology to better historicize and contextualize popular American utopian discourse on the internet during the 1990s. This was the decade when the internet truly became a popular medium, after some twenty years of being used by academics, the military and computer nerds. I explore two views on the relationships between earlier discursive traditions about technology and the discourse on the internet. The "historical continuity" approach sees the utopian discourse on the internet as a straightforward continuation of earlier discursive traditions such as myth telling, the religion of technology, technological utopianism, and the relatively more recent 150-year old discourse on electronic communication technologies. By contrast, the contextualist position argues for a thematic similarity between these discursive traditions and the discourse on the internet but sets each discourse in its own context.

I then weigh the visions accompanying the rise of the internet during the 1990s against earlier technological utopian discourses from the turn-of-the-century (1880s-1930s). In addition, I compare this discourse to the utopian discourses accompanying the introduction of earlier communication technologies into American society including the radio, the telephone and television.

I show that both  approaches are relevant for understanding the discourse on the internet in that each has substantial analytical value and makes a considerable contribution to both historicizing the discourse on the internet and contextualizing it. In this sense, the discourse on the internet is both a continuation of earlier discursive traditions and a unique and contemporary phenomenon, the features of which I will briefly discuss towards the end of my paper.



O'Neill, Brian

DAB Eureka-147: A European Technological Imaginary for Digital Radio

Radio is currently struggling to maintain its identity and integrity as a medium in an era of converging trends towards provision of media services for mobile networking and personalised devices. A number of different technical approaches to digital radio exist which seek to ensure radio's long term future within this emerging digital landscape. The longest established of these is Eureka-147 or DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) as it is widely known.

Underpinning DAB as a technology are a number of characteristics which highlight a distinctly ÔEuropean' vision for new media and the future of broadcasting. This paper will explore the tensions between the Ôtechnological imaginary' (Lister et al. 2003) of DAB and the evolving model of convergence for the media and communications environment. The paper will explore DAB's origins in European R&D policy of the 1980s and its affinity with established European broadcasting practice. The context in which DAB emerged was explicitly one designed to enhance European competitiveness in advanced technologies and to provide a foil to the dominance of the US and the Far East in ICT and consumer electronics. DAB's original mission was to facilitate a combined satellite and terrestrial transmission system which would provide a robust, global, all-digital standard for fixed, portable and mobile radio reception. Underpinning its technological architecture was a vision of expanding frontiers in which nationally Europe's leading PSB organisations would utilize linear broadcasting technologies to provide enhanced, and in due course interactive,information and entertainment services through audio, text and visual content. Social shaping of technology and diffusion of innovations research have to date tended to place emphasis on contextual factors impacting on innovation (Lievrouw and Livingstone, 2005). In this case, I argue, close attention to the inherent assumptions underpinning technologists' strategies, particularly in the context of subsequent modification of technology standards, can provide crucial insights into emerging scenarios for new media.



Lister, Martin et al (eds.) (2003) New Media: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.

Lievrouw, L. and S. Livingstone (eds.) (2005) The Handbook of New Media. London: Sage.



Papacharissi, Zizi

The Virtual Geographies of Social Networks: A comparative analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld

In one of the earlier examinations of the potential of cyberspace, Gunkel and Gunkel (1997) argued that new worlds are invented with principles transcribed from old worlds, and concluded that "naming is always an exercise in power. . . The future of cyberspace, therefore, will be determined not only through the invention of new hardware, but also through the names we employ to describe it' (p. 133). The architecture of virtual spaces, much like the architecture of physical spaces, simultaneously suggests and enables particular modes of interaction. The architecture of online spaces has been connected to a breed of behavior tagged cyborg (e.g. Haraway, 1991; Stone, 1996), viewed as liberating expression via anonymity (e.g., Bolter, 1996), or has simulated real life in virtual environments (e.g., Turkle, 1995;1997). The positions of these earlier works were adapted to study how structural features of online spaces influence self presentation and expression (e.g., Dominick, 1999; Papacharissi, 2002; 2007; Walker, 2000). This study examines three social networks to understand how architectural features influence iterations of community and identity in Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld. The analysis is situated in historical context to understand how media create symbolic environments that may reproduce or challenge existing cultural patterns and behaviors.

Identity and community have long presented focal concepts of interest for new media researchers. Enabling both identity expression and community building, SNS are frequently structured around a niche audience, although their appeal frequently evolves beyond that target market. Facebook at present consists of 47,000 college, high school, employee, and regional networks, handles 600 million searches and more than 30 billion page views a month (, accessed 10/31/07).The online social network application allows users to create their profiles, display a picture, accumulate and connect to friends met online and offline, and view each other's profiles, and is ranked as the 7th most popular site. Like Facebook, LinkedIn allows users to create a profile based on their professional affiliation, and accumulate and connect to professional contacts within and outside their professional networks. LinkedIn is ranked well below Facebook, as 153rd in the rank of sites attracting the most traffic, averaging about 500 million pages views per month (, accessed 10/31/07). Recently dubbed "A Facebook for the Few," by the / The New York Times, /ASmallWorld (ASW) is a private social network which allows users to post pictures, create profiles and connect to others. Individuals can only join ASmallWorld if they are invited by members, and are only allowed to invite others to join after a year of membership. Individuals who do not have any friends who are members yet and want to join are simply advised to be "patient." caters to a smaller and exclusive audience, and thus is ranked 5,343 in recent traffic and closer to size to LinkedIn, averaging about 1% of global Internet traffic (, accessed 10/31/07).

Social networking web sites operate on enabling self-presentation and connection building, but become successful when using structural features to create symbolic codes that facilitate communication and create what Castells (2000) termed a culture of "real virtuality." This comparative analysis examines symbolic representations of everyday communicative routines that these social networks create for their users, so as to understand the meaning and historical progression of virtual architecture.



Bolter, J. D. (1996). Virtual reality and redefinition of self. In L. Strate, R. Jacobson, & S. B. Gibson (Eds.),  Communication and cyberspace: Social interaction in an electronic environment (pp.

105-120). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Castells, M. (2000). The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell.

Dominick, J. (1999). Who do you think you are? Personal home pages and self-presentation on the world wide web. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 76, 4, 646-658.

Gunkel, D. J., & Gunkel, A. H. (1997). Virtual geographies: The new worlds of cyberspace. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 14, 123-137.

Haraway, D. (1991). The actors are cyborg, nature is coyote, and the geography is elsewhere: Postscript to "Cyborgs at large." In C. Penley & A. Ross (Eds.), Technoculture (pp. 21-26). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Papacharissi, Z. (2002). The presentation of self in virtual life: Characteristics of personal home pages. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 79, 3, 643-660.

Papacharissi, Z. (2007). The Blogger Revolution? Audiences as Media Producers. Blogging, Citizenship, and the Future of Media, M. Tremayne (Ed)., Routledge.

Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the internet. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Turkle, S. (1997). Constructions and reconstructions of self in virtual reality: Playing in the MUDs. In S. Kiesler (Ed.), Culture of the Internet (pp. 143-155). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Stone, A. R. (1996). The war of desire and technology at the close of the mechanical age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Walker, K. (2000). "It's difficult to hide it": the presentation of self on internet home pages. Qualitative Sociology, 23, 1, 99-120.



Rosenthal, Michele & Rivka Ribak

Writing a History of Ambivalent Use: The Case of Alternative Communities and Old/New Media

While there is a plethora of studies that examine the speed of diffusion of new technologies (Rogers, 2003), far less research has explored user resistance or ambivalence toward new technologies.  Partly this lacuna in the research can be attributed to, what Everett M. Rogers called, "the pro-innovation bias," of diffusion research which suggests "that an innovation should be diffused and adopted by all members of a social system, that it should be diffused more rapidly, and that the innovation should be neither re-invented nor rejected" (2003, p. 16).  This bias, claims Rogers, has produced a field of knowledge that focuses upon quick diffusion and adoption, rather than on slow diffusion, rejection or discontinuance (2003, p. 111).  The focus on the social construction of technology (SCOT) brings these processes and the role users and non-users (Ooudshoorn and Pinch, 2003) play in the construction and development of new technologies to the fore.    Historians Kline (2000) and Marvin (1998) have documented similar processes in late 19th and early 20th century American contexts.  Likewise, research by Umble (1992, 1996) about the Amish and the telephone in the early 20th century illustrates how negotiations by users take place over time, and not just at the initial stage of diffusion and/or adoption (see also Boczkowski, 1999).  A diachronic perspective here is crucial:  discursive and practical forms of user resistance continue to change after the initial encounter with the technology, and in the wake of new technologies that follow.

This paper explores the technological ambivalence found amongst "alternative" communities in Israel:  advocating reasonable use of new media such as the internet and mobile phone for the purpose of creating and promoting an alternative agenda, while remaining highly critical of so-called older media such as the television.  Returning to the early arguments against television in 1950s Israel (Katz, 1996; Oren, 2004), we compare contemporary discourses of resistance and non-use in the current context of media ubiquity (Weiser, 1993) and interchangeability (Adoni and Nossek, 2001).



Adoni, H., and Nossek, H. (2001). The new media consumers: Media convergence and the displacement effects,  European Journal of Communication Research, 26(1), 59-83.

Boczkowski, Pablo J.  (1999).  Mutual shaping of users and technologies in a national virtual community.  Journal of Communication.   49:2, 86-108.

Katz, E.  (1996).  And deliver us from segmentation. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 546, 22-33.

Kline, Ronald R. (2000).  Consumers in the country:  Technology and social change in rural America.  Baltimore, MD:  John Hopkins University press.

Marvin, Carolyn.  (1988). When old technologies were new:  Thinking about electric communication in the late nineteenth century.   New York:  Oxford University press.

Oren, Tasha G.  (2004). Demon in the box:  Jews, Arabs, politics and culture in the making of Israeli television.  New Brunswick, NJ:  Rutgers University press. 

Oudshoorn, Nelly and Trevor Pinch, eds.  (2003).  How users and non-users matter. In eds. Oudshoorn and Pinch,  How users matter:  The co-construction of users and technology.  Cambridge, MA:  MIT press, 2-25.

Rogers, Everett M. (2003).  Diffusion of innovations.  Fifth Ed.   New York:  Free press.

Umble, Diane Zimmerman. (1992). The Amish and the telephone:  resistance and reconstruction.  In Roger Silverstone and Eric Hirsch, eds., Consuming technologies:  Media and information in domestic spaces.  London:  Routledge, 183-194.   

Umble, Diane Zimmerman. (1996).  Holding the Line:  The Telephone in Old Order Mennonite and Amish Life.  Baltimore, MD:  John Hopkins university press.

Weiser, Mark. (1993). Ubiquitous computing. Computer. 26:10, 71-72.  



Rothenbuhler, Eric W.

What Is New?   What Is Not?

Newness is not a property of objects but a claim for them or a response to them that implies a comparative evaluation.  So long as the comparisons are implicit and the criteria of the evaluation unspoken, though, the cultural celebration of new media and the scholarly focus on their recognized newness are also systematic forgetting.  We need to continue to ask, as Silverman (1999, p. 10), Gitelman & Pingree (2003, p. xi), and others have "what's new about new media?"  We need also to ask what is not new, what are we forgetting, to what does this focus on newness blind us? 

One mainline of celebrated progress portrays new media from the telegraph forward as faster, cheaper, more powerful or convenient.  "New media" understood in this way are more efficient means of accomplishing already recognized communicative tasks and activities. What those media are not is more aesthetically elaborated or expressively attuned.  ÒNewness" is, then, progress on only the instrumental dimension of life. The scholarship of new media should then also give attention to what the culture of new media is systematically forgetting:  that communication is also craft and art.

There are contrary examples and complications that need to be addressed.  The phonograph, classical music radio programming, high fidelity audio equipment, and LPs all have been promoted as culturally ennobling.  Streamlined radios from the 1930s and the striking looks of iMacs and iPhones today show that an aesthetics of newness is also relevant.  The ringtone and facebook show that new media can lead to the discovery of new communicative needs.  The complications, though, will not invalidate the overall trends.

And here is the point:  If communication is not only instrumental, but also craft and art; if beautiful worlds are preferred to ugly ones; and if the resources of communication are limited; then the systematic choice of the instrumental over the beautiful, is the construction of a less preferred world.  Unless we pause to consider it, we will find ourselves within it. As Innis said, every culture has its own methods of suicide.



Skalski, Paul

The Parallel Development of Film and Video Games: History and Implications

This paper examines the parallel evolutions of film and video game technologies. Several key dimensions of similarity in the histories of the two mediums have been identified, including commonalities in (1) incorporation of narrative, (2) aesthetics, (3) authors, (4) entrepreneurial visionaries, (5) genre emergence, (6) the relationship between technological innovation and stylistic transformation, and (7) adoption of ritualized use. These are elaborated upon in the paper.

The ultimate goals of this work are twofold. First, it will reveal how similar lessons may be learned from the histories of film and video games, affecting the future development of traditional and interactive entertainment technologies. Drawing on Rogers' (2003) six stages of innovation generation, the paper will consider how comparable advancements in form and content helped both technologies meet human needs (e.g., for entertainment, arousal, ritual experiences, etc.), resulting in commercialization and widespread adoption. Second, the paper will plant seeds for the creation of new methodologies for the study of film and video games rooted in the common language of the moving image, drawing on Manovich's (2001) seminal work on the language of new media. It will explain how popular films and video games are new, visual ways of experiencing myths and archetypes, with common themes (chiefly fantasy) but different articulations of narrative (e.g., linear vs. branching, exploration). Overall, this paper will show how film and video game scholarship can be mutually beneficial and point to the future of moving image entertainment.



Manovich, L. (2001). The language of new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rogers, E. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th Edition). New York, NY: Free Press.



Suggs, L. Suzanne, Chris McIntyre, & Joan Cowdery

Health Communication and New Media: Just Another TV Rerun?

            This paper addresses the convergence of health communication and new media framed by the historical context of televised health promotion campaigns. In the post World War II era, health has emerged as one of the most important political, economic, and social issues. A number of contemporary health behaviors, such as poor diet and declining physical activity, threaten to undo much of the progress achieved during the past 60 years resulting in decreased quality of life and destabilized health care systems. Accordingly, governments, health professionals, and advertisers have embraced a variety of strategies designed to promote positive health behavior practices. A cornerstone of these efforts has been the utilization of emerging communication technologies.

            The widespread diffusion of television presented health communicators and organizations like the Ad Council with an opportunity to develop and distribute health promotion campaigns that harnessed the powerful combination of sound and image while reaching extraordinary numbers of people. The development of the Web and new media spawned a chorus of optimism about health communication interventions that echo previous predictions about the role of television as a health communication tool.

            In this paper we describe how health communication can leverage new media such as blogs, social networking sites, video portals, instant messaging, and other applications. In particular, the implications for public health, the patient-provider framework and whether new media fosters greater collaborative health decision-making are discussed. The analysis is framed by earlier predictions about the impact of televised health promotion campaigns beginning in the 1940s. This approach provides insights into the parallels between television and new media as platforms for health communication.



Suhr, Hiesun Cecilia

The Role of Participatory Media in Consecrating the Arts: Underpinning the Paradoxes in the Artistic Field of

With the rise of participatory culture, social networking sites, such as, provide a new outlet for the works of independent artists, whether poets, painters, sculptors, or musicians (Andrejevic, 2004).  The operation of participatory media is not autonomous because the opportunity of intersection with the mainstream media exists, hence the term Òconvergence culture" (Jenkins, 2006).  Nonetheless, the critical question for this paper pertains to the role of participatory media in consecrating artworks: are independent artists using participatory media simply to have their work viewed, or are they seeking mainstream media exposure?  Does the mere act of gaining access to mainstream media result in the consecration of an artwork?  As Bourdieu (1993) contends, Òthe work of art is an object which exists as such only by virtue of the (collective) belief which knows and acknowledges it as a work of art" (p. 35).  To this extent, functions as a platform wherein artists can gain legitimacy through extensive networking channels.  Unlike the intervention of agencies (dealers, record executives, etc.) on the viewers (network) replace the role of the agencies.  As a result, Levy's (1997) assessment is justified: Òwith the disappearance of a traditional publicÉ a new form of art will experiment with different modalities of communication and creation" (p. 122).  Despite this assertion, I contend that examining the overlooked tensions inherent in the field of artistic production is vital.  This paper examines the paradoxical dimensions of participatory media in the consecration of artworks; while the participatory media may grant Òcollective intelligence" (Levy, 1997), it is imperative to consider the notion of the field of artistic production as a Òsite of struggle," where artists' survival and success are inextricably linked to individuality and the notion of Òbeing different" (Bourdieu, 1994, p. 106).



Therrien, Carl

The History of Video Games: Teleological Illusion and Other Methodological Issues.

            In an article detailing the methodological problems encountered by early cinema historians, Andre Gaudreault notes the partial nature of his practice on two distinct levels.  First, only part of the early film strips is still accessible to historians nowadays; second, it is impossible for any historian to look back upon such a distant object in an unbiased manner.  On the surface, things might appear simpler for video games historians: they are contemporary to their object for the most part, and a strong community constantly feeds online documentation resources, seeking to preserve the memory of games.  Yet in spite of these resources, and to a certain extent because of them, the challenges in bringing the young new medium to history books are considerable.   

            Although there are some exceptions (the itinerant Videotopia exhibit), the only equivalent of film conservation institutions in the realm of video games are purely virtual ones.  Digitized visual resources (such as box covers and game media) of course provide invaluable information, but acute technical details and description of game mechanics are often contradictory from one database to the other.  As such, a proper examination requires first-hand experience, which often can only be emulated due to the rarity and nonfunctional condition of older hardware and/or software.  While the emulation community is generally working towards the closest recreation of the original experiences, performance issues, display technology evolution and lack of specific control devices ensure these retro experiences remain distinct from the originals.  The ongoing and rapid technological evolution responsible for these accessibility problems also favors a teleological view of video game history; chaotic and often contradictory manifestations in visual design and game mechanics are ironed out in favor of a general progression towards verisimilitude.  Drawing upon recent historical work in the field, including the author's own accounts of CD-ROM games and visual design in videogames (both from the upcoming volume The Video Game Explosion. A History from PONG to PlayStation and Beyond edited by Mark J. P. Wolf) and his involvement in Bernard Perron's current funded research project (ÒHistory and theory of early interactive cinema") and upcoming project on horror video games, this contribution will expose the various methodological problems pertaining to the elaboration of digital games history.    



Zimmer, Michael

Renvois of the Past, Present, and Future:  Hyperlinks, Discourse Networks, and the Structuring of Knowledge from the Encyclopedie to Web 2.0

During the Enlightenment, the encyclopedia emerged as a dominant technology for the

collection, organization, and retrieval of knowledge. The technological features of the

encyclopedia – its physical organization and system of navigation – impact both the user and the

knowledge it is meant to impart. A notable example was the use of renvois, a system of cross references– hyperlinks – featured prominently in Diderot's EncyclopŽdie. Rather than simply relying on a structured and sanctioned presentation of knowledge, Diderot's use of renvois often shaped the presentation of knowledge in an ideologically subversive way, weakening the discursive authority of the encyclopedia as a final source of knowledge by always deferring absolute meaning or knowledge to another article, often leading to unsettling juxtapositions, contradictions, and unexpected meanings that forced the reader to think anew. Readers relinquished their position as passive spectators of representation before whom traditional

knowledge is merely presented to become an active and integral participant in the Encyclopedie's production of knowledge.

In a McLuhanesque sense, the structure of the Encyclopedie – with is subversive renvois – was as important as the message it contained, an idea that Friedrich Kittler has developed in his theory of discourse networks. This paper will use Kittler's framework to help understand the impact of the technological form of the encyclopedia and the use of renvois on the ability to organize information and obtain knowledge. Following the emergence of these versions of hyperlinks in the encyclopedias of early modern Europe, we trace the role of renvois in more recent knowledge tools, including the Memex, the World Wide Web, and the emerging platforms that make up the so-called Web 2.0. We will reveal how the structure of these new knowledge tools might impact – both positively and negatively – the ways in which information is shaped and knowledge is attained.