As time has progressed, technology has brought the means of information mass production to the people, and with this has come higher and higher densities of information throughout the media environment. As the information density increases, the potential relevancy between any two messages also increases. When signals relevant to each other come in contact with each other they produce a pattern of information new to the overall system (as an individual learns, they put pieces together to make new ideas). These new patterns of information, concepts and ideas new into the media environment, are what fuel social, technological and scientific advancement. Of particular import to myself, however, is their ability to fuel the development and evolution of our democratic processes.
Members of the 4th estate record for broadcast information on Occupy DC’s erecting their “Tent of Dreams”, a massive tent in the center of McPherson Square and my home for a week.
As more Americans gain access to the means of information production - the American 4th estate - citizens are enabled to communicate more with both each other and our elected. The American electorate, with the technologies of the Internet, have grown accustomed to being more socially enfranchised and having their voice heard across social networks, and in my opinion it was only a matter of time that a major movement in this country erupted in this country embracing direct democracy.
Our 4th estate is constituted from these means of information production, Through our 4th estate, America is able to communicate with itself and share relevant information. Up until the inception of the Internet, most of the modes of information mass-production (most of the 4th estate) were controlled only by those with the capitol to support a printing press or broadcast tower.
With the Internet, the modes of information mass production are available to most of America. It has enabled us to provide more feedback into our media environment through social interactions online, but more importantly it has given us a voice in the discussion of how our society is structured and governed. As technologies enabled more and more feedback, Americans became more and more accustomed to having their voice heard. This finds itself aligned to the American ideals of democracy, and so in my opinion it was only a matter of time before a movement in America erupted to demand move voice in our governmental systems. The 4th estate is that of the Citizens Estate, responsible for transmitting information from the people into our overall democracy. In my opinion that is exactly what Occupy is about: addressing the disproportionate levels of disenfranchisement in our country. The ‘occupy’ conversation started with wealth inequality, but the issues we are facing in this country run far deeper than just the economic.