Ideanet v. internet

A letter writer responds to the column I wrote in last week’s Media Guardian blathering about the political nature of the internet. Nico Macdonald says:

Why today is the internet (or whatever technology) always cast as the active agent in social, business and political change? Has it never occurred to our technology-led commentators that the internet’s development and success may actually be a reflection of social, business and political trends as much as their driver?

Contemporary western politics had disaggregated well before the popularisation of the the web, weblogging, or mobile phones, and the cleaving of the population to these media is as much as anything a reflection of the disaggregated character of these technologies.

Of course, while we shape technologies they go on to shape us. But even if the internet “lowers the barrier to entry … in politics” it cannot create engaging and compelling ideas – and these will be key to creating any political worldview worth having.