Until I read Dorothy Kidd’s 2003 article, The IMC: A new model, I didn’t know anything about the Independent Media Center. “Indymedia is a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth.”
Despite hacking and abuse, they forge on, working “out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media’s distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity.” The site isn’t slick or all that easy to read, but from what I have learned in a quick review, I will now follow it, and start sharing through my social networks. Through a network of committed volunteers with like values and attributes, they continue and evolve.
The IMC is a different activism than that of Julian Assange and the Anonymous group. Assange claims to have enlightened Anonymous about the world and gained them in his ‘battle.” I find these groups, by using threats, shock and fear in their efforts to educate the public and bring governments, military, banking and media powers into line, to be demonstrating and exemplifying the very behaviour on which they shine a light.
To some, as founder of WikiLeaks and a “stateless news organization,” Assange is a hero. To others, particularly those with the most power, Assange is a rogue, a “high-tech terrorist.” Assange is a marked man. If Assange is silenced, will others carry the WikiLeaks torch?
I found Kadushin’s explanation of how opinion leaders tend not to be the early adopters quite interesting. Opinion leaders “tend to exemplify the norms of the groups to which they belong” and are the brokers and bridgers of new ideas and practices. Early adopters, on the other hand, are the “mavericks” who tend to run with an idea and prepare it for diffusion (p. 145).
I understand this better by looking back on a groupware software pilot I was a part of back in 2009. Originally piloted to about 30 users, word about its capabilities for connection and collaboration spread quickly, mostly through word of mouth through overlapping internal networks; now over 8,000 users have been enabled. The early adopters seemed to have all the knowledge and information about the software and what it could do, and their enthusiasm for it was obvious. Adopters like project managers were visible proof of its effectiveness.
The groupware diffused quickly, and I believe the tipping point occurred when the opinion leaders transmitted the idea up the chain through formal executive meetings, and also through messages to others like themselves, e.g. colleagues over coffee, about how it would benefit the organization in productivity and cost (common sense and technical network terms). It’s easier to spread from this vantage point of overlapping networks than from the techie’s smaller network in the basement. This initiative is now an organization-wide project to put the infrastructure and implementation plan in place to support 60,000 users over the next 5 years.
So, though I would like to give the cape to the early adopters for their antennae and ideas; in this case, the initiative may have been difficult to spread without the transmission efforts of opinion leaders.
In Kate’s Comm506 class this afternoon, she mentioned that today was our half-way completion point of spring institute – yay!
I thought it was fitting, then, that the Oxford English Dictionary’s Online Word of the Day today is Rubicon, which is defined as “a boundary, a limit; esp. one which once crossed entails irrevocable commitment; a point of no return,” and, “ a course of events to which one is irrevocably committed after passing a point of no return.”
So, congratulations fellow networkers, for crossing our Rubicon and moving forward into the web of posters, papers and a MACT!
The Road to MACT
Thank you for checking in on my grad studies journey in communications and technology.