When blogs first arrived, I and many others thought that they were clever ways to resist the norm, or to fight “The Man.” But soon after individuals began writing for whatever personal reasons they had, corporations and businesses began to see the marketing potential of this new form of communication. At first, it bothered me that yet again forms of resistance were being appropriated for capitalistic means. I had the same knee-jerk emotional reaction when I began to see promotional material on FaceBook.
Of course, I teach the potential of social network sites–along with critical evaluation–to my students who are likely going to end up working for The Man. What they do with the knowledge, is up to them. I can only hope that they put their knowledge to good use.
One such “good use” act is the recent story about Chicago’s Women & Children First, an independent bookstore in Chicago that was facing financial ruin. After a story about the financial peril’s of the bookstore ran in Windy City Times, the owners posted to MySpace. The result was an overwhelming act of internet communication saving the day. You can read about it at http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6434942.html&
I realise that I’m prioritising my biases. What the owners did is a capitalist act. But you know what? Like everyone, I live with contradictions. If an independent bookstore stays in business by posting on MySpace, so be it. Long live social networking, in all its forms.