January 19, 2012, by Gael

A World Without Free Knowledge….?

This week seems to have been dominated by the controversial debate on and off the internet concerning the SOPA and PIPA acts; Wikepedia managed a 24hour blackout during University exam period, how some students coped I will never know – officially as a student, Wikepedia is blacklisted, and if you wans good grades, you know not to cite it or used it as an academic source, however it is still an excellent source of information for all students to gain a basic and quick insight into a term or theory – and therefore excellent for those frantic cramming sessions a few hours before exams. The blackout was supported by Facebook, Twitter and Youtube who are also actively opposed to the SOPA and PIPA acts; the stark truth of the matter is that the acts could ultimately close down each of these sites for good.

As a Sociology student this greatly interests me – the Wikipedia Blackout would have been bad enough for revising students; I wonder how we would have coped without Facebook for twenty-four hours…I know through my research into Facebook activity in Second Year, and through my own personal use of Facebook that it is pretty addictive, Facebook Stalking has become an easy and utilised form of procrastination, refreshing news feeds every few mintues breaks up the mundance repetition of revision, so could we really cope for twent-four hours without it? Possibly…but what about if Facebook got shut down for good? Obviously I would prefer it if these sites were not shut down, but I think it’s interesting to think what would happen if we woke up in a world where these social networking sites did not exist; so much of our time and so many of our relationships are spent online, what about real life – our neighbours and communities, the friend’s down the road that we no longer have the time for – too busy updating those online friends about our current relationship status. What would we do with all that free time that we no longer spent refreshing twitter home page, stalking celebrity lives we long for. And what about those smartphone’s we’re constantly clicking about on? There use would be almost superfluous without being about to upload the pictures we take on our megapixel camera’s to a social network, or update everyone on our locations or thoughts. What website would we first go to upon logging into the internet each morning? As a Sociology student I just think these issues are interesting; how would it change the society and communities we live in? How would it affect globalistation, and global friendships? Perhaps we’re addicted to Facebook and therefore a black market of social networks would be set up – this would change the criminal commuity and morals of society. My degree has encouraged me to always challenge and consider the different effects institutions and trends have on society and culture.

Are we addicted to facebook and social network sites?

As a Univeristy student, and in particular through studying sociology, I have been lucky enough to consider the construction and acquisition of knowledge. Wikepedia focused on the argument that SOPA and PIPA would prevent and restrict free knowledge, and yes to some extent these acts might challange our current concept of free knowledge as we know it, but to some extent, knowledge is internal and personal – it is inside of us and that in itself is ultimately free. So while external sources and resources may become restricted, our knowledge of ourself and the society we live in will remain inside of us and free to ourselves, atleast in my opinion.

My two greyhounds, providing hugs.


This week, while considering these Sociological issues, I have been completely the transcibing of the interviews I completed for my dissertation, I have 6 more to do, and want them done by Sunday; so keep your finger’s crossed for me!! I’m still at home, while exam period in Nottingham rages on, so I’ve been enjoying lots of cuddles with my dogs, and expanding my culinary skills by cooking for my parents each evening…I’m hoping I can continue my kitchen success back in Nottingham – although on a much cheaper budget! This next week will consist of packing for Nottingham return, the first 2000 words of dissertation (hopefully) and (fingers crossed) some phone interviews for a job when i graduate…here’s to hoping! Have a great week!



Posted in 2011-Gael