By Anna Everett

Lines the increase of black participation in our on-line world.

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But the precarious nature of black social, economic, and educational mobility militates against such rigid categorizations. On another level is the prevalence of the “bootstrap” ethos suffusing much of the black diaspora’s “self-help” politics that render demarcations of an essential division into high and low untenable. One example of this bootstrapping praxis is seen in the Black Geeks Online organization’s “Taking IT to the Streets” campaign of summer 1997. C. ”19 As they put it, “Though we are a virtual organization based on the web, it is our goal to connect people of color from around the world—both on and offline.

Television’s ideological functions and THEORY OF THE EGALITARIAN TECHNOSPHERE 17 conservative reluctance to embrace controversy as a consequence of its total commercialization rendered TV entertainment increasingly irrelevant to the vast process of social and cultural change that was occurring. (50) Not only did television bring the violence occurring in the disorderly public sphere into the genteel domestic sphere of American living rooms, but it also redeployed the concept of an electronic participatory democracy instituted by FDR’s well-received Depression-era “Fireside Chats” via radio.

Because these newer media were poised to undermine what Ben Bagdikian calls “the media monopoly” (Sklar), many believed the decentralized nature and transnational reach of these new media industries signaled a new age of participatory democracy and by extension progressive social equity and creative cultural rejuvenation. It seemed that finally new multimedia forms might function to serve and promote the diverse communicative needs of a changing, multicultural world. The arrival and rapid diffusion of the Internet and the World Wide Web were central to this vision of inevitable global transformation, as the Internet’s role in prodemocracy movements in several developing nations attests.

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