Hooked and Wired 1
Hooked and Wired 2

Michael Albert,

I am pleased to have stumbled upon your articles in Z - Magazine online. I spend time thinking about many of the same issues as you discuss in the "Hooked and Wired" columns. Here are some thoughts:

> then in time the
> quality of the photos available to be posted declines

While my feelings about new telecommunications are also ambivalent, in my own experience the Web has allowed me to be more active, assertive, and presumeably influential politically AS A PART-TIME volunteer endeavor. In other words, I'm not earning money as an activist (as would be the case for the photographers you mention). On the other hand, I am able to act in the process of opinion formation in ways that were not as open to me before WWW technologies emerged.

The picture you paint of corporate advertising in on-line media corresponds closely with my own sense of what's developing. Yet I am inclined to consider the present situation a nadir, Z's efforts aside. I think that the ease of access to dissenting viewpoints, the diminished costs of distribution, and the wide range of distribution all will aid in the effort to get a left perspective "out there," particularly in America, where most people are already well within the TimeWarner/Gannett/MS/GE/Westinghouse/Disney suckhole.

The real problems, as I see it, are in search engines and other ways of publicizing resources. The recent phenomenon of "Guest Books" is an interesting development in this regard; nonetheless I fear an automated bread trail will be developed by the corporate sources that will drown out poorly organized, poorly funded dissident voices. The search engine "analyzes" only quantity at this point, not content. And one must assume that future search engines will reflect an ideological bias as clearly as major wire service report selection does now.

Another principal problem then is the incursion of technique into the equation of what is valid. As you have noted, the corporations will be able to spend money to make their sites slick, efficient, and fast. This, however, is a continuing phenomena that is operative in other media today too.

I share your concern for quality, and that is why I try to make my home page a repository for thoughts rather than a list of phenomena I have seen...