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New Media, Communication, and Society

A Fast, Straightforward Examination of Key Topics

Mary Ann Allison and Cheryl A. Casey

New Media, Communication, and Society is a fast, straightforward examination of key topics which will be useful and engaging for both students and professors. It connects students to wide-ranging resources and challenges them to develop their own opinions. Moreover, it encourages students to develop media literacy so they can speak up and  make a difference in the world. Short chapters with lots of illustrations encourage reading and provide a springboard for conversation inside and outside of the classroom. Wide-ranging topics spark interest. Chapters include suggestions for additional exploration, a media literacy exercise, and a point that is just for fun. Every chapter includes thought leaders, ranging from leading researchers to business leaders to entrepreneurs, from Socrates to Doug Rushkoff and Lance Strate to Bill Gates.

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4 Networks: A Wealth of Stories (Mary Ann Allison)


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Networks: A Wealth of Stories

Mary Ann Allison

Thought leader and author Hassan Masum (2006) tells a story—which he calls a remixing of Yochai Benkler’s powerful book The Wealth of Networks (2006)—that helps us to think about the flow of information through media networks. I’m remixing that story again: telling most of the original and adding some ideas.

It matters who the storytellers are and how we select them

Suppose there are three storytelling societies: the reds, where Ron lives; the blues, where Beatriz lives; and the greens, where Gamal lives.

The reds and blues are very busy all day and have no time to listen to stories. They gather at night in a big tent to listen to one special person. Among the reds, the storyteller is a hereditary position. He or she is the only person who decides what stories are told. Among the blues, the storyteller is elected every night. Everyone votes and anyone can be elected to tell a story.

Among the greens, everyone tells stories anytime and anywhere. Sometimes lots of people listen, sometimes only a few, only one, or no one.

The storytellers describe the world and potential opportunities as they see them. Stories serve as a means of understanding what is happening. The storytellers identify features of society that they think are good, so we can maintain them, and they...

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