The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed yet.

– William Gibson

I came across this quote while I was going through the particaptory media sites and readings from last week. I was really pleased to learn that there are many people around the world (like Wael Ghonim) who are willing to devote their lives to shedding light on global injustice, but also to empower and encourage those affected to take up arms and tell their own stories.

I remember talking to a friend who had interned with HBO’s documentary department over two years ago and remember her saying that the one thing that most often that not separated mediocre documentaries from really good ones was whether or not they were strong, character-driven pieces. I can imagine no work being stronger than if it was being told by the person/people it is about themselves. To this end, I believe that community media literacy initiatives (such as the work of are one of the best ways to bring stories from the margin further into the mainstream, and give many who may be marginalized the voice, the power and the right to publicly own, and eventually tell their own story.


PS – I had no idea who William Gibson was but a quick Wikipedia search tells me his entire personal context is just as pertinent as this one quote!

William Gibson (born March 17, 1948) is an American-Canadian speculative fiction novelist and essayist who has been called the “noir prophet” of the cyberpunk subgenre. Gibson coined the term “cyberspace” and is also credited with predicting the rise of reality television and with establishing the conceptual foundations for the rapid growth of virtual environments such as video games and the World Wide Web.


4 responses »

  1. hannahginsberg says:

    I think participatory media is extremely important in getting ones point across as well as expressing oneself. It is a understatement to say that mainstream media is bias and because of this so many truths are constantly lost or hidden. That is why it is so utterly important for news reporters and etc to hand the mic over to the people who are actually experiencing and going through what is being reported on. When another individual takes the mic who isnt involved it is never as powerful nor is it ever as truthful.

  2. taliat says:

    I think the quote that you’ve shared from Gibson is really powerful–so often it is not that the innovations people need don’t exist but rather that they are not accessible to anyone outside a small privileged population. Instead of focusing on furthering innovation, we need to focus on making sure what innovation we have is reaching everyone, otherwise we run the risk of just further increasing the gap between the wealthy and the poor.

  3. gabrielledas says:

    This reminds me of a Wired article I read on Mark Zuckerberg’s proposal to the UN ( to give internet to everyone on the globe. While I would be very weary of doing this for fear of promoting western ideology as the “global truth”. Though, if the internet is available to all then all will be able to post on the internet and it will be a more comprehensive view of mankind. (I also understand that this is a very idealistic perspective)

  4. kthompso says:

    I definitely agree with you, and your friend, about the strength of documentaries coming from strong individuals who tell a story. I think it’s incredibly human of us to root for a person, or character, and find ourselves relating to their story. It’s human compassion that sees atrocities and fight to make amendments. Thanks for sharing the quote as well!

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