Introduction

Discussing the development of long-distance communication technologies at the turn of the twentieth century, sociologist Paul Starr postulated a link between patterns of governance and modes of public address facilitated by various media. Glibly, he contrasted the United States’ investment in telephone infrastructure with the Soviet Union’s push for “another new technology – the loudspeaker,” conflating the political ideologies and concomitant technological mythologies surrounding new media into a single issue.1 Roughly one hundred years removed, we find that popular “democratic” media such as newspapers, radio, and television surprisingly resemble loudspeakers, obscuring diversity, discouraging dissent, and substituting passive entertainment for conversation and community. In a sense agreeing with Starr’s suggestion that media forms contain implicit ideologies and may lend themselves to particular forms of communicative interaction, scholars such as Cass Sunstein, Allucquère Stone, Mark Taylor, and others suggest that technological developments have the potential to reconfigure hierarchical producer / consumer relationships by inviting audiences into the media creation process. This essay situates a new set of technologies collectively called “Web 2.0” in a historical context, explores associated utopian and dystopian narratives, provides a theoretical framework for analyzing the convergence of sociology and technology, and offers a practical assessment of the democratic implications of participatory online communities through a case study of Newsvine.com.

The Rise of Web 2.0: “One Man’s Dream…”
Prior to entering this discussion, a brief history of the rise, fall, and resurrection of the notion of the web-as-democratic-space will be helpful. Following the debut of the “World Wide Web” in 1990, many suggested that the Internet had the potential to vivify the nation’s dormant public culture, promising an electronic world in which all can maintain a private space, offer perspectives, and converse or debate with like-minded others at very little cost. Looking toward Y2K with extreme anxiety, it seemed unlikely that the “dot-com crash” would

1

On The Media, 2004.

result from poor investment practices rather than the much-hyped technical error. Yet as the virtual economy crumbled in the fourth quarter of 2001 along with hopes for the web as a stable community space, a new Internet was rising from the ashes.2 Sensing fertile soil following the failure of its predecessor, “Web 2.0” took root and began to grow. Web 2.0 can be understood as an emerging phenomenon that is as much a new technology as it is a computing paradigm, lifestyle, ideology, and even epistemology. Unlike the old Internet, Web 2.0 promises organic content, distributed processing and interaction, and converging media formats. Within this conceptual framework, “the Internet” is no longer a media delivery system by which individual users (as “consumers”) request content from large, centralized corporate servers. Instead, Web 2.0 operates as an interdependent grassroots community of individuals, organizations, and sites whose relevance and authority are established through interaction and participation – in short, a quintessentially human + network. Freelance writer and blogger Kevin Kelly describes the phenomenon as a way to extend his
“…passion to a far wider group for no extra cost or effort. In this way, my site is part of a…visible underground of valuable creations - text, music, film, software, tools, and services - all given away for free. This gift economy fuels an abundance of choices…It permits easy modification and reuse, and thus promotes consumers into producers.” 3

Kelly and other “technologists” envision Web 2.0 as a virtual space in a perpetual state of emergence, continually reshaping itself as users publish text and multimedia content, comment upon others’ work, and celebrate contributions, collectively crafting a new public culture.

“…is another man’s nightmare.”
However, this sentiment is far from universal. Traditional media outlets are recognizing the dualistic potential and concomitant threat of Web 2.0. In December 2006, Time Magazine
2

Fittingly, the Mozilla Foundation released Phoenix, the forerunner to Firefox and later, Flock (the de facto browsers of Web 2.0) shortly following the “dot-com crash” in 2002. 3 Wired Magazine, August 2005 (emphasis mine). Kevin’s blog is located at http://www.kk.org.

named “You” the person of the year, referring to the unprecedented proliferation of citizen media. The article also remarked that citizen journalists are at times “beating the pros” and even competing for audiences.4 Others have suggested that Web 2.0 may usher in the apocalypse, fearing the challenges it poses to (neo-)traditional epistemologies, economies, and lifestyles. By presenting compendia of folk knowledge such as Wikipedia and Squidoo as authoritative works, the participatory Internet has the potential to undermine institutionallyvalidated scholarship. Emerging peer-to-peer file distribution systems such as BitTorrent and Gnutella threaten the business models of media giants by wresting the control of distribution networks from studios. Perhaps most harrowing, others fear the growing technological dependence and perceived need for constant connection created by media convergence. By “liberating” the body from the office, a vast array of gadgets such as notebook PCs, Blackberries, and mobile networks enable employees to “stay in touch” anywhere at any time, transforming all places into workplaces. This phenomenon is not particularly new – new media and new technologies are often accompanied by a host of utopian and dystopian narratives, rarely delivering upon either promise. Writing in 1932, Bertolt Brecht celebrated the technological triumph of radio as a form of mass communication. However, Brecht envisioned a higher purpose for the technology, suggesting that it could be the “finest possible communication apparatus in public life…if it knew…how to let the listener speak as well as hear.”5 The capacity to bring distant individuals into conversation and community surrounding a common text evoked dreams of a truly democratic medium by which listeners could speak back. That same year, Aldous Huxley published Brave New World in which he speculated that unprecedented advances in technology and production would give birth to a global technocracy promising “COMMUNITY,
IDENTITY,

[and]

STABILITY”

by sacrificing democracy, freedom, and humanity.6 global data networks, ubiquitous

This

phenomenon has repeated itself many times since, following the debut of electronic computing, personal microcomputers, wireless communication, and in-home high speed internet connections. Though each of these have
4 5

Grossman, Lev. “Time’s Person of the Year: You.” Time Magazine, 12/13/2006. Brecht, Bertolt. “The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication” (1932). 6 Page 3.

introduced new modalities and paradigms for communication and cultural interaction, they have failed to deliver upon their promises of a blissful technotopia or hellish nightmare. Instead, we find ourselves in a world that is merely different. Such speculation assumes that the ability to virtualize information as well as bodies and to convey them across time and space will irrevocably revolutionize the manner in which we live and interact with one another. We would do well to question the proclamations of technophila and neo-Luddism, both of which speak proud words that overlook the complex process of niche-seeking and market development. For new media generally supplement rather than supplant old ones – at the moment, I am within an arm’s reach of a newspaper, telephone, and radio, all of which debuted over a century ago. Despite its best efforts, my personal computer has eliminated none of them. Suddenly, the grand récit of Web 2.0 as the catalyst of unfettered democracy seems a bit petit. Perhaps ironically, Web 2.0’s obsession with emerging niche communities and markets (called “the long tail”)7 may be its greatest contribution to the public sphere.

From “Culture Consumption” to “Cooperative Production”
Having established the dual extrema of hope and dread surrounding new media in a historical context, we are free to explore the tension that lies in between at present. New technologies have certainly touched all areas of Western life, rendering porous traditional boundaries such as public / private,8 citizen / consumer,9 work / home, and even self / other.10 Media such as newspapers, radio, and television have also altered patterns of distribution and reception. The possibility of disconnected individuals spanning thousands of miles to simultaneously experience a single media text united a nation as an audience, rooting the experience of viewing media within a paradigm of consumption. In this manner, Jürgen Habermas suggests that “the

7

The “long tail” is a marketing term referring to an asymptotic graph in which the target niche lies in “tail” section that gradually approaches zero, rather than the rich but crowded market space near the y-axis (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons). 8 See Mark C. Taylor’s discussion of the television as a device transforming the living room from a private family space into a site of consumption in Hiding. 9 Gary Cross offers a brilliant extended treatment of the rise of consumerism in An All-Consuming Century. 10 See Allucquère Stone’s work on virtualized selfhood in The War of Desire and Technology.

public sphere…was replaced by the pseudo-public…world of culture-consumption.”11 Recapitulating the Brechtian lament, Habermas suggests that the difficulty of facilitating meaningful conversation regarding cultural artifacts broadcast via unidirectional media and the relative ease of passive, individual enjoyment has produced a public that consumes “culture” as a commodity. Though the public is certainly complicit in this shift, Habermas’ critique is empowering, for the capacity to capitulate implies that resistance, too, is possible. Woven into the very fabric of Web 2.0, the imperatives of cultural production, “gift” economics, and unlimited distribution potential have important implications for public culture. The fact that sophisticated, easy-to-use multimedia production tools are available to the public at very low cost can no longer be overlooked. Creating new media and new media outlets, citizens are “taking back culture” from “big media” by creating their own, opening up new discursive spaces in the process. The ideology is gaining traction as well; citizen journalists are writing with the explicit intent of resuscitating civil society. An e-mail invitation to a May 2007 conference on new media and society crystallizes this optimism (as re-posted by an attendee): “the emergence of web 2.0 offers an opportunity to revive the idealism of a decade ago...we can envisage web 2.0 encouraging a rich and constructive 'us and us' dialogue in which citizens deliberate, innovate and act together [sic].”12 Promising speakers such as Cass Sunstein and Adam Chadwick, the resurrected dreams for the Internet are drawing significant academic attention. Nonetheless, relatively little scholarship has focused upon the theoretical convergence of technology and society within the context of Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 as a Human + Network
I suggest that Web 2.0 can be understood as an organic sociological process recreating itself in a technological realm, rendering such categorical distinctions porous and ultimately untenable. Within this realm, clusters of web and database servers function in tandem to power web applications used by humans as well as other web applications. By processing information using grids of inexpensive servers rather than a few prohibitively expensive
11 12

Page 161. Wilcox, David (emphasis mine). Designing for Civil Society, March 2007. This weblog is an excellent resource for anyone studying the interaction between emerging media formats and public culture.

mainframes, system administrators increase the reliability of the network by distributing processing tasks across multiple interdependent nodes, a number of which could fail before adversely affecting the network as a whole. This method of distributing power, authority, and responsibility among bodies should sound familiar. As individuals and robots cooperatively produce content and establish hyperlinks between items as well as relationships with one another, the complexity of the network increases. In the same manner that no single individual can consume (or “process”) all content items published on the network (unlike a local newspaper), no single server can “understand” or contain the totality of relationships and interactions that occur. Consisting of an endless web of interfaces facilitating interaction between humans and machines, humans and humans, machines and machines, and even machines and humans, Web 2.0 complicates distinctions between the technological and social, deprecating these categories in the process.13 As Mark C. Taylor suggests, “this transfiguration of the material and immaterial infinitely extends processes through which reality is virtualized and virtuality is realized.”14 The network is no longer a cold technological “medium” to be used for communicating information, but rather the livable, inhabitable, relational space from which culture emerges. When this biomechanical mode of interaction is refigured in political terms, the result is strikingly democratic. With the majority of content produced by users volunteering their time rather than professional authors and developers, Web 2.0 facilitates a participatory culture in which members understand the discussion, commentary, and engagement of other’s contributions as a civic duty. Though individuals maintain a variety of perspectives, consensus tends to emerge through dialogue as communities formulate opinions often guided by and even referring to previous events and discussions occurring in the given forum. By transforming “cultural consumption” into an interactive event uniting author and audience, Web 2.0 encourages individuals to comment upon others’ work or produce a piece of their own rather than “getting their fill,” changing the channel, and grumbling about “the media.”
13

I use the word “deprecate” in the technological sense, meaning “to render obsolete” or “to mark for deletion,” though the conventional pejorative use of the term is equally applicable. 14 Page 324.

Cooperative Newsmaking: Newsvine.com
We move now to a case study, a sustained examination of the content and culture of the popular Web 2.0 current events community Newsvine.com. Based in Seattle, Newsvine, Inc. launched in March 2006 and has gathered an audience of 90,000 monthly visitors.15 The site synthesizes Associated Press articles and images, citizen journalism, and user-submitted links called “seeds.” Content displayed on the front page is ordered by the number of votes received and comments left, though AP headlines appeared above their organic counterparts until a redesign of the front page launched on April 24, 2007. Individuals who publish articles on the site are compensated with a portion of the advertising revenue earned from a banner appearing atop the page. The site facilitates engagement and conversation by placing a public discussion section below each article in which visitors can comment, vote for others’ comments, reply in threaded conversations, and report abuse. These conversations are tracked via a widget at the top of each page, offering notifications of replies to foster further dialogue.16 Within the context of media and public culture, Newsvine is unique in that the site envisions itself as a news community rather than as a media outlet. Instead of delivering “shrinkwrapped news items” to passive viewers, members are invited to participate in the newsmaking process, collectively deciding both what is newsworthy and how events are portrayed. Community-generated content is arguably the site’s most valuable asset. Prior to April 24, 2007, Newsvine placed AP stories above all others. The site recently re-arranged the totemlike right column, placing the “Top Seeds” and “Newsvine Columnists” modules atop AP content in its default configuration, requiring most users to scroll to view “traditional” news items. As such, Newsvine now privileges organic newsmaking and discussion over professional journalism. The site’s deconstruction of the hierarchical author / audience relationship is significant. The success of Newsvine is entirely contingent upon an engaged community respectfully making,
15 16

Statistics provided by Compete.com (3/2006 – 3/2007). For a brief introduction, visit http://newsvine.com/_cms/welcome for a well-designed sixty second tour or see the Wikipedia article (an authoritative source in this realm) for a more thorough description of features at <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newsvine>.

discussing, and debating news items. Proudly throwing caution to the wind with its official “No Editors!” policy, Newsvine entrusts the task of interpretation to the hive mind of its community rather than professional journalists. Though not all visitors are expected to contribute and comment, user participation sets current events to a beat by offering a diverse set of perspectives on a variety of issues. Spurning standardized authoritative content in favor of folk knowledge,17 topics fluctuate, colloquialisms flourish, and unlikely content emerges. Despite the pleasing diversity, community-based sites such as this must also contend with matters such as poor writing, factual errors, abuse, plagiarism, rude behavior, and defacement. Surprisingly, the experiment appears to be working. Rather than seizing the opportunity to promote articles featuring reductionist perspectives and quick entertainment, this case suggests that participants in an unregulated cultural forum perpetually in a chaotic state of ephemeral emergence can in fact produce healthy reporting and conversation surrounding meaningful public issues. Though the site is only a year old, it has grown from a handful of users to reach a wide audience and is scaling well. As such, it is conceivable that sociological research concerning civic involvement in physical communities may apply to their virtual counterparts. Given the opportunity to participate in meaningful interaction and conversation, electronic communities can successfully cultivate a collective identity, standards of conduct, and an interdependent network of members strengthened by each article, comment, and vote. This point warrants further research. Newsvine’s independent writers have posed a formidable challenge to mainstream news sources. The combination of the Internet’s immediate accessibility and lack of a formal editorial process has allowed citizen journalists to deliver minute-by-minute coverage of unfolding events. Newsvine has featured work from writers embedded in Kabul, hopeful world-changers chronicling their political campaigns, and live reporting during the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech. Blacksburg, VA resident and Newsvine user “Killfile” broke the

17

I use this term in its most benevolent sense, celebrating the deconstruction of the authority of knowledge by allowing all who will the opportunity to contribute.

news of the shooting at least twenty-two minutes before the first AP coverage hit the wire.18 Synthesizing reports from police scanners, phone calls, instant messages, eye-witness accounts, and several television stations, he provided an astonishing thirty-five updates within three hours. Killfile did the same for a follow-up piece entitled “The Aftermath,” resulting in eleven additional updates. When first published, both articles contained unverified accounts and factual errors, rectified by striking inaccurate portions and appending clarifications as better information became available. Collectively, both articles produced eighty-two pages of conversation and discussion. The Newsvine community has been remarkably successful in extending its efficacy beyond the web site. While the virtualization of the discussion and deliberation process renders collective action difficult, it certainly does not preclude it. On April 8, user “JamesJones” published an article entitled “A Call for Political Action: Why We Should Stop Bashing Bush and Turn Our Energies Elsewhere” that drew 67 comments.19 Replying to his manifesto, several users suggested pathways for involvement in local progressive organizations, registered to receive legislative updates from policy analysts, and encouraged JamesJones to facilitate further conversation and action by creating and leading a Newsvine Group despite being relatively new to the site. By mobilizing as a virtual community, nominating leadership, and acting at the local level as individuals, the site enables users in distributed geographic locations to establish an informal writing collective geared toward developing creative, meaningful, local responses to pressing democratic issues.

Web 2.0 as Strong Democracy
Cases such as Newsvine reinforce Benjamin Barber’s notion of “strong democracy” while posing several challenges. Discussion on this site can be understood as strong democratic talk, which Barber characterizes as a “never-ending process of deliberation, decision, and action.”20
18 19

See <http://killfile.newsvine.com/_news/2007/04/16/666369-shootings-on-virginia-techs-campus-at-least-33-dead> and <http://killfile.newsvine.com/_news/2007/04/17/668114-the-aftermath-updates-from-blacksburg> for Killfile’s reporting. See the article and resulting commentary here: <http://jamesjones.newsvine.com/_news/2007/04/08/653658-a-call-for-political-action> 20 Page 151.

Articles warranting discussion rise to the front page, drawing community members to begin offering their thoughts and engaging one another in conversation and deliberation. As the dialogue unfolds, consensus emerges or lines are drawn between opposing parties. I do not mean to suggest that all comments published on the site are productive, of course. Users occasionally antagonize one another just as individuals do in face-to-face conversation. However, this is discouraged; once the conflict passes, productive dialogue tends to resume. Though not all articles are “actionable,” several discussions on the site have resulted in members engaging in cooperative work (such as JamesJones’ case, mentioned above). This process has neither a beginning nor an end – long before discussions are exhausted, new articles rise to the “Top of the Vine,” starting the process once more. “Talk” (and more broadly, media sharing) can function according to the nine principles established by Barber within web-based communities. As members express concern for common interests and share stories with one another, a deeper sense of mutuality and togetherness emerges while drawing attention to unique diversity, autonomy, and candor facilitated by the virtual space.21 In the process of articulating interests and goals, participants hash out an agenda and attempt to persuade others to journey together toward a common end, though the democratic nature of conversation enables dissenting voices to be heard.22 Particularly productive discussions often result in the formation of web-based “groups” through the process of conceptualizing and reconceptualizing a communal purpose and identity (as in the “JamesJones” example). This phenomenon is not unique to Newsvine; it appears to be occurring in other popular fora such as The Daily Kos, Open Source Theology, and Slashdot as well. However, the virtualization of the discussion process criticizes traditional conceptions of strong democratic talk by suggesting that such conversations need not occur at the local level. It would seem that carrying out one’s civic duty in a virtual space would ultimately thwart Barber’s vision of regular town hall meetings.
21

I suggest that web-based discussions can

For a heart-warming example, watch the wildly popular YouTube clip “YOUTUBERS” located at <http://youtube.com/watch?v=VXwarrIYLJ4>. 22 For a creative policy discussion, see the “Birmingham Complainers Choir” and relevant spinoffs located at <http://youtube.com/watch?v=2w84qzHdEms>.

facilitate the development of cooperative regional and national identities – a task that many have left to broadcast journalism, primetime television, and big-box retailers in recent years, all of which operate under the paradigm of consumption. It is reasonable to suggest that the grassroots cultivation of such identities may significantly transform the political and cultural landscapes at these levels. Nonetheless, I do agree that virtual communities face difficulty in uniting users around localities, for within the notion of “virtuality” lies an implicit categorical rejection of “place.”23 Barber also suggests that democratic discussion should occur in a neutral “civic and public space” unencumbered by private ownership.24 Habermas calls for the same, contending that leaving the press “in private hands…threaten[s] the critical functions of publicist institutions.”25 Though the business of Web 2.0 tends to operate as a “gift economy,” many sites such as Newsvine are for-profit enterprises relying upon advertising revenue to maintain operations. These advertisements are easily ignored and can be blocked using freely-available software, but the issue of ownership poses a problem in that the space is not communitycontrolled – rather, its very existence is contingent upon the goodwill and profitability of a company. Should the company desire to insert more intrusive advertisements, begin charging for access, modify the site in a way unacceptable to users, or simply cease operations, the community has little recourse beyond vacating the space and perhaps disbanding entirely. Finally, some have criticized sites such as Newsvine based on the fact that the majority of visits consist of requests for content (“reads”) rather than the production thereof (“writes”). This should not be understood as an embrace of the “consumption” paradigm plaguing traditional media. Even among prolific authors, virtually all read far more books than they publish. Web 2.0 may enable cultural consumers to become producers, but the technology will only free the willing. A variant of this critique argues that user-generated content conforms to the “iceberg model,” suggesting that for every user who writes an article, ten others will never publish
23

It’s worth noting that many state-funded community networks have seen success in facilitating local discussions online. An Indiana example can be found at <http://www.whitleynet.org>, though participation is spotty and conversations often lack civility. 24 Page 307. 25 Page 188.

content. This is a valid argument and indeed reflects my viewing habits for many sites. Even so, I regard the freedom to publish content a necessary and productive step toward meaningful public engagement. Visible examples of success thus far suggest that there is hope for broader participation.

Conclusions
Web 2.0 has clearly proven itself a popular medium. A Pew Internet and American Life study found that nearly 150 million Americans use the Internet regularly,26 while a separate study by the foundation uncovered 57 million blog readers and 12 million bloggers within the US.27 The rapid success of organic media communities such as Newsvine, YouTube, Digg, Scribd, and others suggests that such spaces are not only in demand, but also profitable. Though just a few years old, the remarkable success of Web 2.0 in generating participatory communities and productive interaction suggests that the medium may have a remarkable impact upon public culture in the coming years. Despite Newsvine’s success in providing pathways for individual action at the local level among diverse groups of citizens, the site is ultimately united by affinity, for it is a community designed for users who enjoy following and discussing current events. The same can be said of most popular Web 2.0 sites – Digg offers technology news and links, YouTube a stream of amusing videos, and Flickr albums of artful and personal photographs. Generally speaking, these sites target their audiences based on particular interests or media formats rather than offering holistic ecosystems encouraging users to interact with one another through multiple formats. Social networks such as MySpace and Facebook are exceptions in that they do facilitate multimedia interaction, but have found little success in holding productive political discussions. As such, I suggest that Web 2.0’s greatest contribution to the public sphere may be its ability to enable users to contribute media of any format to any community. Though these virtual spaces
26 27

Pew Internet and American Life Project. “Reports: Internet Evolution” 4/22/2006. Pew Internet and American Life Project as reported in the New York Times by Felicia R. Lee. “Study of Blogosphere Finds 12 Million Voices” 06/20/2006.

may be corporately-owned, fragmented, defined by affinity, and disconnected from localities, the medium encourages users to produce their own content and engage the contributions of others, socializing a paradigm of media engagement and cooperative production rather than passive consumption. Ultimately, the profitability of enabling users to publish such content may work to the advantage of public culture by promoting further technological innovation. Though skepticism toward corporate interests may be healthy, we would do well to encourage a symbiotic relationship between privately held cultural fora and the users who populate them. Web 2.0 is neither a panacea nor a pariah – it will not save democracy and it will not condemn us to a technocratic hell. However, the medium has shaped and will continue to shape the manner in which we conduct our politics, business, leisure, relationships, religion, and lives in its present form and presumably as it continues to evolve, for better or for worse. Though “the Internet” has received significant attention from scholars in recent years, much work remains to be done concerning the emergence of Web 2.0 as a technology, sociology, ideology, and epistemology. Rather than confining this conversation to scholarly journals, I suggest that it would productive to open the discussion to the emerging network, for those who power it are more than willing to engage.28

28

As a tribute, I have published this essay under a Creative Commons license on the document sharing site Scribd (“Scribed”) at <http://www.scribd.com/people/view/2263>. It is presently available as a PDF, Word document, and an audiobook and can be easily embedded into a weblog.

Web 2.0 as Strong Democracy
Barber, Benjamin. Strong Democracy. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. Brecht, Bertolt. "Der Rundfunk als Kommunikationsapparat" (“The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication”). Bjitter des Hessischen Landestheaters Darmstadt. No. 16, July 1932. Translated and republished online via Telereal. <http://telematic.walkerart.org/telereal/bit_brecht.html> 26 April 2007. “Complaints Choir of Birmingham.” Published by “atomipommi” on YouTube.com. August 2006. 14 April 2007 <http://youtube.com/watch?v=2w84qzHdEms>. “Creation of the Media.” On the Media. Hosted by Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone (Feat. Paul Starr). WNYC Radio. 30 April 2004. Transcript available online at
<http://www.onthemedia.org/yore/transcripts/transcripts_043004_creation.html>.

Cross, Gary. An All-Consuming Century. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. Grossman, Lev. “Time’s Person of the Year: You.” Time Magazine 13 December 2006. 17 April 2007 <http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1569514,00.html>. Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989. Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: HarperCollins, 1998. Lee, Felicia R. “Survey of the Blogosphere Finds 12 Million Voices.” The New York Times. 20 July 2006. Accessed 27 April 2007.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/20/arts/20blog.html?ex=1177819200&en=17cc0ff0a5655d06&ei=5070>.

JamesJones. “A Call for Political Action.” Newsvine.com. 8 April 2007. 27 April 2007
<http://jamesjones.newsvine.com/_news/2007/04/08/653658-a-call-for-political-action>.

Kelley, Kevin. “We Are the Web.” Wired Magazine, August 2005. 24 April 2007 <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.08/tech_pr.html>. Killfile. “Shootings on Virginia Tech’s Campus.” Newsvine.com 16 April 2007. 23 April 2007
<http://killfile.newsvine.com/_news/2007/04/16/666369-shootings-on-virginia-techs-campus-at-least-33-dead>.

Killfile. “The Aftermath – Updates from Blacksburg.” Newsvine.com 17 April 2007. 23 April 2007 <http://killfile.newsvine.com/_news/2007/04/17/668114-the-aftermath-updates-from-blacksburg>. “Newsvine.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 16 April 2007. 26 April 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newsvine>. Pew Internet and American Life Project. “Reports: Internet Evolution.” 26 April 2006. 27 April 2007<http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/182/report_display.asp>. “Random Acts of Vineness.” Newsvine.com 17 April 2007. 26 April 2007 <http://www.newsvine.com/_cms/info/vineness>. “Snapshot – Newsvine.com.” Data provided by Compete.com (Timeframe: 03/2006 – 03/2007). 23 April 2007 <http://snapshot.compete.com/newsvine.com>. Stone, Allucquère Roseanne. The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001. Taylor, Mark C. Hiding. London: The University of Chicago Press, 1997. Wilcox, David. “Free Conference on New Media and Society” 26 March 2007. 24 April 2007 <http://www.designingforcivilsociety.org/2007/03/free_conference.html>. “YOUTUBERS.” Published on YouTube.com by “chris166.” September 2006. 20 April 2007 <http://youtube.com/watch?v=VXwarrIYLJ4>.