Second part of a virtual roundtable for OCLC NextSpace:

What are the impacts, overall, do you think [of online social networks] on industry, education and cultural institutions?

As with the advent of writing, telegraph, TV and radio, we are seeing reconfigurations of power and of structures for social capital exchange. That is the Bourdieu-ian closure are being restuctured if not smashed.

There is no deterministic answer to this question, but we can make some guesses. Although I remind myself how much we cannot see whilst in the midst of the process (see Forecasting the Telephone by Pool for a cold awaking as to how wrong and how right we can be), — am I hedging enough? I notice that others have perhaps wisely avoided this question — I will say that we are surely seeing a restructuring in knowledge access and in cultural production and in preservation that allows for widely distributed holdings of materials and centrally facilitated access. Additionally there will be strong reactions, including moral panic, to this change. As the tensions resolve, we may have a new period of enlightenment or a new dark ages.

We can count on change, reorder, and reconfigurations of institutions and of the powers that they represent.