I posted my print project proposal last week, which I’m sure everyone read and enjoyed thoroughly. Anyway, as I think about the questions regarding whether the Internet has fostered elitist and institutional groups rather than egalitarian and democratic groups, I have to wonder: How democratic do we really want the Internet anyway?
In a democracy, the majority rules. Well, that means if people aren’t using a site anymore, like GeoCities, it’s just going to disappear. What if the people aren’t interested in historian-generated websites? Should we just give up and leave the Internet to those capitalist successes? We talked this week about planning a website and the need for developing an audience and trying to determine what people we want to gear our work toward. The problem is, we don’t want to filter important historical information just to make our websites more user-friendly for the general public, do we?
If historians are going to gear their digital offerings in the tradition way – directing information toward an academic audience – are we not destined ourselves to creating a solely elitist network of our own?
Of course, this all relates to another important question: Can a structure be both elitist and democratic at the same time? Perhaps this all relates to the type of republican-democracy we have in the United States today?
What do you think?