Task: Permanent Revolution

Douglas Rushkoff begins his article ‘Permanent Revolution: occupying democracy’ (Rushkoff, 2013) by arguing that the promises of e-democracy over the past twenty years have simply not come to fruition. The web may have enabled people to move from being passive receivers of media to producing media but the same shift has has not been matched in the political landscape, at least not in national party politics, where the web has actually ‘failed democracy as a tool or platform’ (Rushkoff, 2013, 165). The web has not made national politics more participatory or increased opportunities for people and ideas. Nor has it fueled deep knowledge and understanding about national or local politics. It’s simply been ‘politics as usual’.

However, Rushkoff isn’t completely despairing in this article. In the Occupy Wall Street movement he saw evidence of the ways in which a new consciousness began to emerge which created different relationships between people and the institutions that shape their lives. Evidence of a new sense of what being a citizen means practiced on the streets and experienced through the digital networks that brought people and ideas together. How did it happen? and what role did the web play? Rushkoff then suggests four conceptual shifts or characteristics of our current digital environment which facilitated the emergence of this new consciousness and new practices of politics.

Write a post on your blog which summarises these conceptual shifts and gives some examples of them from your own reading and/or experience.

And finally, what does Rushkoff mean when he says that Occupy Wall Street constitutes the ‘first truly postnarrative political movement’ (Rushkoff, 2013, 169)?


Rushkoff, D. (2013). Permanent Revolution: Occupying Democracy. The Sociological Quarterly, 54(2), 164–173. doi:10.1111/tsq.12018



From Twitter to Delicious

Twitter gives me a constant stream of ‘interestingness’ and acts as a fairly reliable recommendation machine for reading relevant to my interests. Of course it takes time to choose people to follow that really do stimulate thought and point you in good directions, as well as time to nurture the network you create by providing value yourself. It’s worth the effort.

Although I can’t read everything that comes through the various conversations that stream past me on TweatDeck, when I do read something that I think would be interesting to others I pass it on. If you follow me or track the conversation through one of the hashtags I regularly use, you’ll find it. If you don’t use Twitter or track that hashtag, you won’t. So, I have a back-up plan to ensure that some particular reading I recommend is stored and available elsewhere.

Very simply, whenever I send a tweet that contains a URL, it’s added to my delicious bookmarks. Delicious, like Instapaper or Diigo or Pocket, is a social bookmarking site where you can keep your bookmarks to web pages and easily share them with others.

So, here’s a tweet that I sent this morning containing a link to an article in the New York times about the ice-bucket challenge. It’s an interesting article that I think should be added to a list of case-studies that we are collecting for the unit communication, activism and social change.


That tweet was then automatically added to delicious and tagged commactivism and case-study (hashtags are automatically given tags corresponding to the hashtags used in the tweet)

Delicious icebucket


This works through Packrat.us a third-party app which you authorise to link your Twitter account with your favourite social bookmarking account. It takes two minutes to set up and works seamlessly.

Press this: Screenshot

Here are a couple of tools that I’ve found invaluable in the past couple of years.

Blogging is a habit. In order for that habit to be practiced it has to be easily accessed. There’s lots of reasons to blog and lots of different types of blog post. One of the most common is ‘link and comment’. This type of post results from something you’re reading on the Web. Something catches your attention, makes you think, and you’re stimulated to express the idea so you don’t forget it or the website that stimulated it. But if you have to load your blog in a tab, log in and create a post … you might just persuade yourself that it’s not really worth it. The idea goes and three days later you forget the website which talked about … My advice is to link and comment on as much as you can as you read and think your way through various topics related to your studies. And if you use ‘Press this’ you’ll find that anytime you want to record a thought and the web site that stimulated it, you can do so in two mouse clicks.

It only takes a second to get the Press This mini-application going. Simply go to Tools  Available Tools in your dashboard and find the link to the bookmarklet:

Press This

Once you’ve dragged  the bookmarklet to your menu bar it will look like this:

pressthismenuNow when you find something you want to link to and comment on you click Press This which opens a new window showing your blog editor with the article you were reading already linked:



Now it’s quick and easy to comment, quote, and leave notes to self. Notice how you can also add the post to a category (a really important way of organising your posts for different topics) as well as assigning tags. Tags are useful because they can go across categories making it easier for you to find information that you previously blogged about.

And how did I get the images of these tools and the screen into this post? For the images above I used two different tools. The first is simply using the keys CTRL-PRTSC. That gives me an image of the whole screen saved to my desktop. Then I crop the bits from that image that I need to show using ipiccy, a useful online image editor. The other tool is another Chrome extension called Awesome Screenshot – a quick and flexible little application that allows you easily to ‘grab’ a portion of the screen you are looking at. Really useful for things that you might not be able to save but need to keep a hold of and record on your blog. Save the image with Awesome screenshot and then upload it to a blog post as you would with any other image.