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Advertisers are harnessing technology that targets and follows Internet users on their journeys through cyberspace, collecting data and tracking behavior. Virtual software marketing tools will be deployed across the digital landscape so that wherever we go, whatever we do do--e-mail, instant messaging, mobile communications or searches--we will be immersed in enticing content for the lifelong sell . . .The most powerful communications system ever developed by humans is increasingly being put in the service of selling,commercialization and commodification. And it will lead to an inherently conservative and narcissistic political culture,in which the interests of the self and the consumption of products are the primary, most visible, media messages. And unless we begin to challenge it now, the emerging digital culture will seriously challenge our ability to effectively communicate, inform and organize.
Jeff Chester, in an Oct. 14 essay in The Nation magazine
UPDATE: January 7, 2007:
UPDATE -- Oct. 14, 2006:
From the Center for Digital Democracy website (http://www.democraticmedia.org/index.html):
The broadband revolution--much like the radio, television, cable, and online revolutions of the recent past--provides yet another opportunity to make our media system more democratic, more diverse, and more participatory. It is incumbent upon community activists and leaders, recognizing the power of broadband, to become more actively involved in the design and deployment of the new high-speed networks that will bring video, data, and telephone services to our homes and businesses.
The Center for Digital Democracy Mission Statement (http://www.democraticmedia.org/cddmissionstatement.html):
The Center for Digital Democracy is committed to preserving the openness and diversity of the Internet in the broadband era, and to realizing the full potential of digital communications through the development and encouragement of noncommercial, public interest programming. To these ends, CDD has four broad goals:
- To enhance public understanding of the changing dimensions of the US digital media system, by explaining the communications options and the public-interest resources that citizens should have at their disposal.
-To foster the development of a new generation of activists to work on digital media policy issues, and to make the media industry more accountable to the public.
- To promote the development of a new online "commons," a consolidated and more visible space in which the public will have access to a variety of noncommercial sources of information and service.
- To stimulate nonprofit organizations (especially progressive, public-interest groups) to become active producers of next-generation broadband media content.