The Return of the Commons

This is the first post in a new category, “the return of the commons.” What this phrase exactly is intended to mean, I am not yet sure. I use it to point to the global cultural transformation that started with the advent of electronic media (a tip of the cap to Marshall McLuhan) and has been exploding with the penetration of ever less expensive, mobile, networked, and easy to use personal computers.

Some signs of the times visible to boomers – The Open Source software movement. The Creative Commons intellectual property movement. Web 2.0 and social media.

Along with this come changes in the structures of the self and personal and public identity. What looks to me like foolish personal exposure (not to say overexposure) is more common than commonplace on MySpace, etc.

One example in the realm of public identity: In response to the advice to be careful because employers research candidates on Google, etc., I have heard college students remark that they wouldn’t want to work for someone who couldn’t tolerate their MySpace lives. One part an arrogance of youth, two parts the new generation gap.

“The return of the commons” is very much a work in progress. More later. For now I close with an acknowledgment (should I say, “shout out?”) to Guillermo Wechsler whose passionate speaking about Open Source triggered me to explore and now to wonder at what is befalling the world.


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