W6 – ‘The Commons’ within the Digital Landscape – Infotention

The immense social change taking part in today’s digital/technological climate have imposed tremendous implications. A now interrelated international framework with access to instantaneous news coverage and feeds provide both a diverse and dynamic commons. With ‘the commons’ encompassing – collection & (re) distribution & attention – the possibilities of interacting and producing archives are limitless ultimately re-defining the relation between public and private spheres.

Re-emerging ideas and thoughts that are presumed to have stayed dormant within our consciousness have been re-awakened due to sweeping transformations of commons movements which have been spread around the world. Traditional conservatives did not as easily assemble attention as a result of a continuous and non-stop cycle of collection and (re) distribution of archives and informational content/news feeds. These commons from a traditional and modern day are significantly different from each other e.g. natural vs digital commons and preserving vs generating commons – with these opposing perceptions highlighting a large increase in the development of the today public’s self – awareness, conviction and moreover – ATTENTION!. Although with a constant barrage of informational content, it may be visibly unclear to the individual but through marketing and use of slogans etc.. these interpretations can be understood. Furthermore scientists have ascertained that this constant indulging within a ceaseless disruption of information isn’t good for our brains – impeding social-memory and potentially hinder long-term memory as well. Additionally processes of constant multi-tasking and constant performance of what was traditionally a privately consumed medium with now being largely consumed in a public space, the public is now demonstrating addict-like behaviour. This has also hindered focus and attention (with many media platforms such as advertising upon television or online are demonstrating more direct/overt commercial/marketing elements within ads, aware of a public who demonstrate alarmingly shore attention spans and memory banks, making it as direct and explicit as possible. e.g. the advertisement for the alcoholic beverage *can’t remember which one* directed at the younger audience and shows clips of people making distinct/different noises blasting on your TV screen.

Tweets, applications, updates due to the advent of digital technology able to be published or broadcasted all over the globe within an online landscape (re) distributing through the television, radio, and ink-to-paper newspapers and also through the public. This collection of data has never been made more easily accessible to the individual ever before. This primarily online format as a mechanism for catapulting your attention has produced a new term for the technological era entitled – ‘Infotention’ (meta-attention). This new cognitive mind-skill provides a conscious perception conjuring and categorising intelligent input via a technological/digital format – however this is also decreasing our attention as a whole.

Infotention is largely seen in commons regarding open-source coding. However, accessing different forms of publishing have labeled a large number of social groups via an online landscape as illegal/unethical/immoral. These social groups are shifting composition to collaboration and effectively ‘short-circuiting’ the market economy – P2P, file sharing, torrent sites where the public can collect information, video, content for free. Many major music and movie companies are against these social groups and continue to lobby to make these illegal. With some P2P sites operating within a foreign nation abroad, countries like the U.S do not have sovereignty over these nations so are largely unable to prosecute the founders of these social groups. However, with the continued lobbying to sign SOPA or ACTA bills through congress and look for other nations to ratify this bill they continue to lock down on individuals internationally. Thus trying to limit the collection and (re) distribution of copyrighted content by not only enforcing laws physically but garnering the attention globally through use of deterrence e.g. -extraditing members of foreign nations to be prosecuted within the U.S. – recently early 2012 uni student from Britain trialed and found guilty of downloading illegal content – sentenced to 12 years in American prison.  and also scare tactics. This common is also seen in the now free-to-view academic journals via the online format.

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