First of all, I'm glad I'm not an academic. I wouldn't have known what a technological determinist was or how insulted one could be being called such unless danah had explained this to me awhile ago. But... now that I am sensitized, I would have to respond to Lago's claim that we are assuming technological determinism by saying that we clearly are not. Many under-estimate the impact that technical decisions have on society. Lessig's book "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace" drives this point home. On the other hand, many technologists underestimate the impact that social norms have on technology. I think it's a process and a balance that we are striving to achieve, which is very difficult considering the completely different languages these worlds speak. Laws about technology and marketing of technologies are typically where the rubber meets the road, but this is very narrow and is like trying to have a love affair through litigation or polling. I THINK what we're trying to come up with is a method that allows everyone to participate in the process of developing technologies and norms. Social software and blogs are really an amazing example of a community where technologists and users are working closely together. Is there something we can learn from this process that we can apply more generally and expand?

Ross has a good roundup of posts about this thread.

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Joi, my post was intended to identify determinism as a strain of thought in these discussions for anyone who cared to see the minor quibbles inside social studies of technology, not to paint anyone with a broad brush. I think your comment to danah's earlier post more than adequately addresses the point I was making (that we can't just look at the effect of technology on the social), so I suspect that we are in violent agreement.

Hey lago. Thanks for dropping by. Yes I think we are in agreement. ;-)

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Danah and Joi Ito got accused of being a technical determinist, but denied this charge (and again). It seems, however, that all the parties in this debate were looking at technical determinism and social constructionism as if they were the... Read More

Danah and Joi Ito got accused of being a technical determinist, but denied this charge (and again). It seems, however, that all the parties in this debate were looking at technical determinism and social constructionism as if they were the... Read More

are we developing technology as an instrument of business (that abstracts us into users) or directly as an instrument of ourselves? Read More

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