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An Internet for the People: The Politics and Promise of Craigslist

An Internet for the People: The Politics and Promise of Craigslist

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Key Metrics

  • Jessa Lingel
  • Princeton University Press
  • Hardcover
  • 9780691188904
  • 9.3 X 6.2 X 0.8 inches
  • 1.05 pounds
  • Social Science > Anthropology - Cultural & Social
  • English
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Book Description

How craigslist champions openness, democracy, and other vanishing principles of the early web

Begun by Craig Newmark as an e-mail to some friends about cool events happening around San Francisco, craigslist is now the leading classifieds service on the planet. It is also a throwback to the early internet. The website has barely seen an upgrade since it launched in 1996. There are no banner ads. The company doesn't profit off your data. An Internet for the People explores how people use craigslist to buy and sell, find work, and find love--and reveals why craigslist is becoming a lonely outpost in an increasingly corporatized web.

Drawing on interviews with craigslist insiders and ordinary users, Jessa Lingel looks at the site's history and values, showing how it has mostly stayed the same while the web around it has become more commercial and far less open. She examines craigslist's legal history, describing the company's courtroom battles over issues of freedom of expression and data privacy, and explains the importance of locality in the social relationships fostered by the site. More than an online garage sale, job board, or dating site, craigslist holds vital lessons for the rest of the web. It is a website that values user privacy over profits, ease of use over slick design, and an ethos of the early web that might just hold the key to a more open, transparent, and democratic internet.

An Internet for the People: The Politics and Promise of Craigslist

Author Bio

Jessa Lingel is an associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, where she studies digital culture, looking for the ways that relationships to technology can show us gaps in power or possibilities for social change. She received her Ph.D. in Communication and Information from Rutgers University. She has an M.L.I.S. from Pratt Institute and an M.A. from New York University.

Lingel’s research focuses on three key areas: alterity and appropriation, and investigations of how information and technology is altered, tinkered with, subverted, and articulated by marginalized groups; politics of infrastructure, where systems of categorization, organization, and design can reveal underlying ideologies and logics; and technological activism as a way of exploring how socio-technical practices can contribute to projects of social justice.

In her activist work, Lingel concentrates on prison abolition, libraries as vehicles for DIY education, and local access to mental health resources.

 

Education 

B.A., University of California, San Diego, 2004
M.A., New York University, 2005
M.S., Pratt Institute, 2008
Ph.D., Rutgers University, 2013

 

 

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