I’m going to be giving a talk titled “The iPad: The ‘Jesus Tablet’ and the Resurrection of Consumer Society“ as part of the Digital Dialogue Series of UMD’s Maryland Institute For Technology in the Humanities with my co-presenter Nathan Jurgenson. Here’s the info from the MITH website:
A MITH Digital Dialogue
Tuesday, September 14th, 12:30-1:45
MITH Conference Room, McKeldin Library B0135
“The iPad: The ‘Jesus Tablet’ and the Resurrection of Consumer Society” by ZEYNEP TUFEKCI and NATHAN JURGENSON
Apple’s much-discussed iPad fits more within the logic of consumer society rather than the participatory Web 2.0 with its focus on active participation, diminishing corporate control, and a trend towards free products and services (what has come to be known as “prosumer society”). In contrast to Web 2.0, where users as “prosumers” actively participate in the production of that which they consume and often create systems from the bottom-up, the iPad channels passive consumption, corporate control via “closed” systems and a renewed focus on traditional, top-down, pay-per-view media. Indeed, the iPad is engineered to enforce this passivity, for example through lack of a tactile keyboard. The iPad is indicative of Apple’s Disneyfied approach in the way it produces spectacle to enchant or “wow” individuals into passive consumption, attempts to exercise control by creating a “walled garden,” and seeks to monetize more and more of the interactions within the system.