The Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime Myth

Norm Friesen, ehabitus, Feb 19, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Norm Friesen offers the fourth of his 'e-learning myths' series. It follows the form of his previous installments. He writes, "'Anyone, anywhere, anytime' invokes a kind of 'default' person, place and time which is generally white and male (Nakamura, 2002), in a position of wealth and in a space and time generally defined in terms of production and consumption. In uncritically invoking categories like anyone, anywhere, anytime, the experience of a single (and relatively small) class of people is privileged and universalized." First of all, I don't think that anybody asserts that the internet presently allows 'anyone, anywhere anytime' access. Second, the detection of stereotypes on the internet does not make it impossible to be 'anyone', it merely points out that most people choose to be more or less themselves, through which some people can identify stereotypes. Finally, this assertion that "the experience of a single (and relatively small) class of people is privileged and universalized" doesn't trump everything. The digital divide doesn't trump everything. If we are restricted to saying things about the internet that must be true not only of rich white males but also of impoverished people with zero access, we may as well go home; it's a ridiculous requirement. Friesen needs to show that the generalizations that he says apply only to privileged users cannot apply to other users, that is, that the privilege is essential to the experience.
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