Societies are constantly evolving. Innovations in industry and media can be found at the heart of any paradigm shift, as was explained by Innis. In today’s society, governed by algorithms and data, we are in an economy where the capital is information and the proficiency in handling it is the valued capitalist skill. This new economy revolutionizes all the important industries of society. When anyone and everyone can be both emitters and receivers of information, journalism has to find new strategies to report on collective knowledge. Science and research can be open to the public, and collective knowledge can help people keep track of their health. Collective knowledge also means a collaborative overhaul of the educational system. Communication changes such as these have implications on society as a whole.

Curation

This skill is key for any person or business with an online presence (which is increasingly common and important). The basic practice of collaboratively bookmarking important or useful information, so that it can be searched by others (e.g. by Hashtag) is necessary to the organization and verification of the shared knowledge on the Web. To be effective, one needs to have a consciousness of the content being curated and take into account its significance and posterity, and do this on a personal, critical, and collective level. This means having a long-term memory for the curation (categorizing content, revising categorization systems), diversifying sources (languages, platforms, points of view) to cross-reference, and identifying themes, narratives, and agendas the sources may have. The importance of curation is stigmergy. Any actions taken online transform the collective memory and build the common environment. The curator’s knowledge management is making implicit knowledge in the collective explicit. Collective curation makes finding in-depth information easy by making themed multimedia folders with multiple sources.

Big Data Analytics

Curated information is also useful for analytics. In most cases, the curation of Big Data is done by algorithms (programmed sets of rules given to a computer to obtain a result). They produce data, consult it, search it, calculate the relationships between people and data, and allow for analysis by way of synthesis and contextualization. The digitalization of statistics and the like thus make it easier to not only gather information but also analyze it. In this age, everything people do is traced. Every tweet, every GPS check-in, and smart cities only expand the mass of data for potential knowledge, which is immediately exploitable for urban planning, journalism, marketing, research, etc..

Digital Humanities

Accessible databases and analytics as methodological tools are not the only ways a newly data-centric society is useful for research. The algorithmic era transforms the research process with a quasi-infinite corpus and automatization, and is accompanied by scholars self-reflecting on how societies are being transformed by changes in communication technology. Since resources such as Big Data are open and exploitable, there is a wide capacity for collaboration among researchers: wide enough to integrate different disciplines and theories. This collaboration is not limited to the research process. The new possibility of publishing findings online (and not having to wait for or pay for the traditional editing, publishing, and accessing process) make sharing scientific progress easier than ever. Scientific authors care more about being credited and quoted in the scientific community than their salaries, which is exactly what the Open Science movement promotes. Its access to literature and sharing of knowledge favours scientific advancement.

Public Sphere

The concept, coined by Habermas, is of a network of open conversations (see: public deliberations) about political affairs, news of them, and judgements on them. He was of the opinion that modern democracies cannot function without a public sphere and the liberty of expression required to have one. What can be seen in the algorithmic society is the extension of that liberty, which explodes the public sphere into a hypersphere. The extension is due to the breaking of three ceilings: the economic ceiling (in that the cost of publishing information and opinions is lower than ever), the institutional ceiling (in that publishing is no longer controlled by editors and the like), and the technical ceiling (in that technical proficiencies are no longer required for publishing). The ensuing hypersphere entails a deterritorialization of public spheres; a result of interpenetrations of networks on the international scale. People now build their informational environments based more on cultural preferences than location. Thus, socio-political movements such as the Venezuelan uprising and the Arab Spring gain more traction because of the decrease in degrees of separation between people, and the increased coordination and discussion made possible by social media networking.

My Takeaway : 

New medias transform how we communicate and in turn how we as a society think and act. It affects how we find and access information, analyze it, share it, and discuss it with each other and with leaders/legislators. As such, it is not only important on a personal scale to keep up with changes to keep up with other communicators (be they social or professional) using them to their advantage in this economy of information. The importance of these changes in larger: pooling and distributing knowledge of just about every topic there is allows us to inform ourselves on the entirety of humanity’s discoveries and wisdoms, and push further with new ones, towards the advancement and betterment of society.

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