'Internet has not become great leveller once thought it could be'

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London, July 16 (ANI): A Harvard academic has said that the Internet has not become the great leveller that it was once thought it could be, and that it could actually be narrowing our world-view.

Ethan Zuckerman, who was speaking at the TED Global (Technology Entertainment and Design) conference in Oxford, said that the web was now contrary to the original utopian vision with users focusing on information from a handful of wealthy countries.

But he said there were solutions that could realise the original vision of the Internet and contribute to a greater understanding of the wider world.

Of particular help, he said, would be finding mechanisms to amplify the voices of thousands of bloggers, particularly those in countries under represented in mainstream media.

These networks may be hidden from the wider world until times of crisis, he said.

For example, a network of Madagascan bloggers called Foko club, originally set up to teach high school students English suddenly rose to prominence in 2009 when the president of the country was overthrown and most media organisations were barred from the country.

"Foko were reporting breaking news with their blogs and cellphone cameras," the BBC quoted him as saying.

"If we want a wider world, we'd find ways to raise voices in places we don't often hear from, like Madagascar," he said.

However, he said, to truly realise the vision people needed curators to collect the content together and who bridged different cultures to put content into context.

These bridge figures and xenophiles could then act as "trusted guides" to unfamiliar content.

In addition, he said, the net needed new translation projects and tools along with new mechanisms for discovering content through serendipity.

"That's what I am trying to do - I need your help," he added. (ANI)

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