This article, Digital Media: The New Democracy brings up an interesting idea – blogging, and by extension all the social media we engage in (like vernacular video) is continuing the tradition of oral history. Of course, theorists like Ong (secondary orality) and McLuhan (the global village) have talked about these ideas in relation to the democratization of the narrative – as we take control of publication and the content of the publication we also change the way history is recorded and how the future will look at us. Of course, having the written word overwrite some cultures, and even some people’s existence, what will the digital oral history overwrite?
Certainly it is easy to see “primitive” cultures being overwritten, there is very little Kalahari bushmen websites, or anything other than minutia about what the “cultured” world has done to them (for diamonds, for the land they live on…) from a documentary perspective. While this is progress, and some will argue inevitable, is it right? Do those of us in a privileged position have a moral (oral?) obligation to bring these issues up?