We're Virtually There:

Understanding Technology, Social Networking, Intellectual Freedom, and Second Life


What happens when social technology and culture collide?

The rise in Internet use and interactive Internet applications have been shaking the foundations of our traditional culture. Where we currently are on the technological journey demands new perspectives on what it means to communicate; to create, to share ideas and information, to give and receive knowledge.


"Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored... Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas."American Library Association, Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A

A significant question for me is: what is the almost ubiquitous adoption of Web 2.0 technology doing to the way people communicate? To take it a step further: how does the use of social technologies affect what users expect to be able to do with them? And one more step: what happens to how we define information in the age when anyone can remix content? Now run with it: who is going to be ahead of (or at least in step with) the next incarnation of the Internet.

And, how are these questions related to intellectual freedom (IF)?

Information is no longer merely being handed out. People are manipulating it and shaping it, creating new formats through which to access their creations. Social technologies make information inherently more socially relevant and more personally meaningful. We are also more and more anxious to share our creations and have other people interact with them. How do we make sure this new (and yet to be created) information is accessible to anyone who seeks it and perhaps, more importantly, to the person who does not yet know she seeks it?

People creating the new content, people making the policies that affect its dissemination and retrieval, people guiding others to it, and the people making it their own, are on a journey together whether they realize it or not.

To make sure the destination meets the needs and expectations of everyone on board, the guides have to be well versed in the role intellectual freedom has in preserving the foundations on which our paths rest.

This wiki attempts to put some answers to the issues by engaging those concerned with social technology and information. Please travel through the following pages and add your own content as you feel inspired.

Locations of visitors to this page