Pre-thinking:

A common stereotype is that as the world becomes more connected it will automatically become more democratic. Morozov shows us some of the ways that this idea may not be true, and points out that many people globally may become cyber- hedonists than cyber-activists. Listen to his ideas to begin exploring this concept.

Why you should listen:

Writer Evgeny Morozov studies the political and social aspects of the Internet. Right now, he’s working on a book about the Internet’s role in politics — and especially how the Web influences civic engagement and regime stability in authoritarian, closed societies or in countries “in transition.” Especially interesting in view of the destabilization effect of the “Arab Spring”.

Who is he:

Writer Evgeny Morozov studies the political and social aspects of the Internet. He says, “I’m a contributing editor at The New Republic and the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom and To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism.

In 2010-2012 I was a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. In 2009-2010 I was a fellow at Georgetown University and in 2008-2009 I was a fellow at the Open Society Foundations (where I also sat on the board of the Information Program between 2008 and 2012).  Between 2006 and 2008 I was Director of New Media at Transitions Online.”  Morozov writes the much-quoted Foreign Policy blog Net.Effect, and is known for debunking — with facts, figures and sound research — myths and media-bandwagon assumptions about the impact of the Internet and mobile technologies on politics and society.

Questions:

  1. He says that we often form a simple mental construct, “Connectivity + devices = democracy” Discuss this idea.
  2. Do you regularly read a blog on any topic?
  3. This talk was given 6 years ago when many of you were starting high school. There is now a much greater speed of connectivity, availability of memory, range of global networks. Do any of these factors affect the points he makes?
  4.  Where do you think you fall on the scale of cyber-activism and cyber-hedonism?
  5. Morozov presents an interesting chart comparing teens in China to teens in the US. Chinese teens score higher than their US counterparts in internet addiction, having a parallel life online, and reporting the internet broadens their sex lives. Can you think any any factors that would drive this?
  6. Morozov does a chart of internet needs, derived from Maslow’s chart of human needs. This chart has Fun activities at the base, then Talk, then Share, next Learn, and at the top Campaign (i.e., become politically active) If you made such a chart, how would it be organized?

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