As James Curran et al (2012) argue the importance of the counterculture – born in the 1960’s – as to their involvement in revolutionising the internet to a “sub-cultural playground and agency of democracy”. A revolution, which José van Dijck (2013) also pairs with arising values such as empowerment and personal freedom on the internet. Now, if we reflect these achievements to the present 2016, have we actually achieved/maintained these values or has the internet failed us considering these terms?
It is certain to say that the empowerment – to an extent – has stuck around with us, considering the impact of a collective, 140 characters (a tweet) or image/video material can have. This is argued well in a Guardian article from 2011, in which Beaumont (2011) highlights the importance of social media such as Twitter and Facebook during the Arab uprisings. Truth is – and this is the reason the internet only empowers us to an extent – that every social media site is also an influential, sometimes multi-billion dollar corporation.
And by signing up to these websites, empowerment as to share our opinion is in conjunction with being confronted with the corporations aims, beliefs & actions. Striking was the revelation as to how Facebook manipulated our newsfeed to manipulate our emotions (read more here). Which is one of the privacy intrusions alongside data surveillance and targeted-advertising, which should make us question, have the aims of the counterculture failed?