Joshua I. Altman

Joshua Altman is a multimedia producer and digital storyteller in Washington D.C. He is a graduate of Georgetown University's M.A. program in Communication, Culture and Technology and The George Washington University with a double major in Journalism & Mass Communication and History, two areas in which Joshua always held a strong interest.

Earlier editions of Governing with the News by Timothy E. Cook argues for a monolithic media entity where decisions are made by its leaders to use their publications to influence politics and are in turn influenced by those politics. The book proposes the following hypothesis: “news media organizations and their products, far from being independent of politics, are highly influenced by political practices and political decisions.” While this might have been true when the first edition of the book was published in 1998, by the time the second edition arrived in 2005 it was leaning towards untrue and today the hypothesis is false.

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Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn, Buzz, and the dozens of other small and large social media sites all share certain basic elements. All social media sites have users, those users upload some information that is shared with other users with whom they formed "connections." These users engage with the site on computers and mobile devices; but interacting with a social network is a solitary activity, each user logs into his or her own account, post their own updates in the hope that someone is listening and will respond in a manner appropriate for that site. Inherent in their nature, social media is unsocial media, connections without connecting.

Connecting one part of a network to another is crucial to an industry’s success, in the case of the early American newspapers and the United States Post Service (USPS) the network stretched from then Massachusetts (now Maine) south through Georgia. Network growth is dependent on the success of connectivity, and while many networks rely on users to voluntarily adopt their system, the national government of the United States possessed the authority to create a postal network and use it as an expression of their political goals. Deliberate choices made by early leaders of the United States to advance their personal and political goals of spreading specific ideology and winning elections spurred the growth of a national postal service with the flexibility to evolve with a growing country and further the goals which created the network.

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