Whichever Estate: Exactly Right
Mitt Romney has been accused of a number of gaffes, but one seems a bit unfair, as he spoke of ‘… some in the Fourth Estate, or whichever estate, who are more interested in finding something to write about …’.* Well – Candidate Romney is not the only person to wonder what to call the new role of the Internet and social media in creating an estate of the 21st Century that is every bit as important as the press since the 18th Century. I’ve called it the Fifth Estate, and a piece of mine with others was published today about the interrelationship between the Fourth and Fifth Estate in Britain. Hope you have a chance to read it and put a name to this new estate of the Internet realm. See: http://www.ijis.net/ijis7_1/ijis7_1_newman_et_al_pre.html So it is exactly right to recognize an estate other than the Fourth.
*Quoted from Chris McGreal, ‘Rivals seize on candidate’s string of gaffes’, The Guardian, 1 August 2012, p. 17.
William H. Dutton (B.A. University of Missouri; M.A., PhD. SUNYBuffalo, 1974) is Professor of Internet Studies, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, and Fellow of Balliol College.