The dissolving of institutions?

Somewhere over the weekend I saw a comment (can’t find it now) that the new technologies of online media are dissolving the forces of our traditional institutions. That came to mind when reading an article on blogs and censorship in China this morning in the Washington Post.

With as many as 16 million people in China writing blogs, the
Internet has provided a platform for citizens to express their views,
shattering the Communist Party’s monopoly on the media. The state still
controls newspaper, magazine and book publishing, but the proliferation
of sites that let users publish and even broadcast audio and video
online have undermined the party’s ability to restrict who can address
the public and attract an audience.

Many have used the Internet
to produce essays, books and even underground films that question the
party’s authority. But surveys show most Internet users are members of
the urban elite who are benefiting from China’s booming economy and
have avoided writing about politics.

Yeah, to me that’s perhaps the biggest sociological thing about new media: changing 20th century institutions into…something else.

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