Most internet users know hyperlinks as highlighted words on a web page that take them to certain other sites. But hyperlinks today are quite complex forms of instant connection: for example, tags, API mashups, and RSS feeds. Moreover, media convergence has led to increased instant linking among desktop computers, cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, digital video recorders, and even billboards.
Through these activities and far more, links are becoming the basic forces that relate creative works to one another. Links nominate what ideas and actors have the right to be heard and with what priority. Various stakeholders in society recognize the political and economic value of these connections. Governments, corporations, non-profits and individual media users often work to digitally privilege certain ideas over others.
Do links encourage people to see beyond their personal situations and know the broad world in diverse ways? Or, instead, do links encourage people to drill into their own territories and not learn about social concerns that seem irrelevant to their personal interests? What roles do economic and political considerations play in creating links that nudge people in one or the other direction?
We need cross-disciplinary thinking to address these contentious questions, and so our panels include renowned news, entertainment and marketing executives, information architects, bloggers, cartographers, audience analysts, and communication researchers. Audience participation will be enthusiastically encouraged.
Unfortunately, I have no clue what I'm going to say. That's where you come in. How would you address these topics? What questions aren't being asked? Who isn't being included? And what should I read to get ready? Thanks!