Sunday, November 17, 2013

Discussion Questions_The Economist_Carrie Bratton

Carrie Bratton
Discussion Questions
How Luther Went Viral
1.     This article makes a comparison between media and communication today and in the past. The author claims that when new forms of media and communication arise, they spark interest in change and revolution. He cites examples from the Arab springs and most importantly Martin Luther’s post of the “95 Theses” on Wittenberg Church. Are there any other examples of media and communication from the past that you can think of that have influence social or political change? How have these instances shaped history?

2.     The author used the term “networked public” to describe participants in the media environment system that Luther used to reach people with his theses with little or no effort on his part. What did his “networked public” do to spread information? Who does this in our culture and how do they do it?

3.     Since Luther’s theses were accessible and demanded by all, it became difficult for the Pope and the Catholic Church to censor his ideas, therefore creating a collective action problem and sparking the Reformation. What kinds of censorship do we have today and if someone were to speak out against the government like Luther did, gaining tons of popular support, would the messages be successfully heard or do you think they would be censored in some way or another by the government?

4.     The main argument of the article is that there is a strong relationship between the media systems of today and the systems of the past. What are some differences between these systems?

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