I’m getting really tired of the media-technology fetish.
I attend an elite university with excessive tuition and a very privileged, talented student body. The people I pal around with have a lot to lose from being arrested, going to jail or getting kicked out of school. I think this is why folks at NYU so often default to talking about media and public image when thinking about social change. Media studies, public relations are the totally abstract, disembodied struggles, they require no sacrifice, and little to no personal risk in the service of a cause.
It’s also the reason I see NYU students pouring so much of their time into thinking about how media determines the ways-of-the-world. I also think it’s why NYU has so many technology-fetishists. Seriously: I’m really tired of hearing about how technology will foster democracy or converge our cultures – Jeff Jarvis has some good ideas, but has gotten to the point of outright deifying Google.
Ultimately I don’t think anyone has given a comprehensive or effective description of why corporations, governments, etc. have to care about their public image as such. Thinking about creating real power means getting into the specifics of that power, which probably also includes getting in the way of things.