Cultural Hacking the Social Media Machine

500_0By Javier de Rivera

This is post is dedicated to a presentation on Data Commodification made on February 13th at MediaLab-Prado (Madrid) by Walter Langelaar, a media artist from the Netherlands based in New Zealand. Walter has taken part and is responsible for projects like Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, and more recently Commodify.us.

It was particularly interesting to hear from him about the motivations and the reflections that are really behind this media-art projects. He also shared projects by other media-artists, like Erica Scourti or Tim Schwartz , with the same passion that he talked about his own stuff. It felt like media-artists conform some kind of group bounded by the shared passion of contesting the media establishment and the things it represents.

I am using here the term “Cultural Hacking” as a modification of Cultural Jamming, meaning that they use code to criticize, parody or subvert the cultural order imposed by the media establishment. It is (usually) not direct activism against these corporations, but a tinkering around them, like small fishes biting the robotic killer whale. They use coding to do cool new things with the data.

I asked if Web 2.0 Suicide Machine was anti-Facebook activism, Walter said it wasn’t. The real motivation behind it was to point out the impossibility of easily deleting your social media accounts, a functionality that according to the leit motiv of this sites (usability, to make things easy for the user) should be available. On drawing attention to this kind of inconsistencies or contradictions, the real nature of the venture – to capture users information and attention – becomes more evident.

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Bruno Latour’s “Aramis or the love of technology” – Critical commentary

By Javier de Rivera

In this book, Latour addresses the social and political factors implicated in the development of technological projects. To such and end, he uses the case study of a failed technological project: Aramis, an innovative public transportation system developed in France between 1972 and 1987 that, despite its apparent technological interest and all the efforts invested in it, finally failed to see the light. [Download Aramis in PDF]

The style of the book is very innovative. It takes the form of a detective’s novel, with two researchers trying to solve the mystery of “Who killed Aramis?” – or Was it killed in the first place?. However, this “novel” is not pure fiction, it is based on Latour’s own research on the Aramis project, though everything is presented in a dramatical (fictional) way that allows him the narrative freedom to expose his own theories about society and technology. Specially, Latour uses the the relation between the two researchers, a sociology professor and a young engineer, to articulate his “preconceptions” about social sciences and the study of technology.

Even though this way of introducing his ideas can be attractive and appealing, it makes more difficult to criticize them, as they are all covered by rhetorical tropes. On the contrary, it seems fairer to write theoretical issues and research reports in a clear straightforward way, to facilitate and stimulate the further discussion of ideas. This way (the fictional) it looks like the author’s ideas are not open to discussion.

However, behind this rhetorical style the main features of Latour’s thought can be easily discovered. His central idea of the non-human subjects, the consideration of machines as “actants” (subjects) in the network is present throughout the book, using the most incredible rhetorical resources to convince the reader: references to Frankenstein as “something” independent created by human, fictional verbatims of what “Aramis” would think or say, imaginative descriptions of how the automated-cars think, analogies between the independence of the apprentice and the independence of machines, etc.

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The electoral machine

These days some journals rejoice reveling the secrets of the Tech Team that helped Obama to win the last election. The exciting narrative of how the intrepid team of the candidate decided to use the power of new media to enhance their chances, and how nerds get in the house to help them, hides something evil inside.

We all understand how cool it is to help your candidate to win, specially if he is liberal and progressive. But what is at stake here is the independence of the public – of the people – to decide for themselve who they want to vote without any elaborated crowd-controlling social media system sneaking into their brains.

Using social media marketing techniques is not cheating, and is completely accepted, as any other kind of marketing. But when the techniques to manipulate public opinion are so complex, subtil and elaborated – and so effective – we began to wonder if Democracy still has any sense.

The techiques used improve each election, pushed by the competition of the parties. It sounds like the boost of innovation and technology that is usually associated with wars: when it comes to fight the enemy we push our selves to the top of our possibilities. And funding for innovation flows easily, too.

Here, two candidates are fighting for the vote of the people, and the battle ground is the consciousness of that people. they have to conquer their wills if they want to win. It was allways been the same, some may argue. And that is maybe true, but at least before we had the ilusion that a real free common will was operating. Now, when it is too obvious that hi-tech manipulation is so effective, there is no more space for that ilusion.

Some celebrate that with great joy, but on the long way it doesn’t seem to be a good deal.

 

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Roots of Alternative and Activists New Media

The second chapter of this book by Leah Lievrouw is dedicated to the Roots of Alternative and Activist New Media, which means its aim is to establish the framework where the genre studies of following chapters are going to fit, creating a whole view of the new social movements in the digital era.  This theoretical framework is what gives the book its real sociological value, distinguishing it from other works that offer just a description of activist actions, without further analysis of its meaning for collective action theory.

In this sense, the main strength of that framework is the possibility to connect contemporary social activism with its historical background. Something very important, as we usually to forget that the present is always built over the past… specially nowadays when technological developments may blind our historical perspective.

The Roots of Alternative and Activist New Media can be traced back to Dadaism, the artistic avant-garde of the twenties which challenged the structures of power through cultural activism. Dadaism as other abstract art movements is a reaction to the industrial way of production, but it offers an special critical approach to its socio-cultural consequences in contrast with other vanguardisms, as futurism, which allied with actual powers.

Another main root is the Situationism International (SI), that represents a more complex reaction to the dominant culture spread through mass media. Guy Deborg is an important theorist of SI, whose contribution in the analysis of “Spectacle Society” is one of the most important critical analysis of mass media culture. The quote “The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point where it becomes image” summarizes the essence of SI critic to mass media, and the reason why alternative and activist media is necessary in order to redefine cultural spaces of interaction.

From Situationism we get to French May ’68 and the importance of Alan Touraine and his disciple Alberto Melucci as relevant scholars who studied the New social movements that began in the sixties and the eighties, and continued evolving until our days (even though, we may claim the emergence of another new era in social movements after the Arab Revolts, the Spanish May and the American Occupy movements).

In this point, Lievrouw makes a review of the theoretical approaches for the interpretation and analysis of social movements. From the collective behavior theory, that think of social movements as sudden and spontaneous action driven by irrationality, to the mobilization resources theory which emphasizes the auto-organization of social movements as a key ability for the success of their fights. Until we reach to new social movements theory, where Touraine and Melucci made a great work describing how new dynamics emerged from the postindustrial society, differing in important aspects from the previous social movements.

Then, the book offers a description of the characteristics of new social movements, are they related to the actors involved or to their actions.

Characteristics of NSM’s actors:

The key idea here is that participants of NSM comes from the “knowledge”, students, middle classes and qualified workers are the main actors of these movements, who rebels against the instrumentalization of knowledge, and hence their own alienation as workers and thinkers. This characteristic makes the media and cultural activism a natural mean of action for NSM, in the same line of thought as Situationists argued that we have to change our perspective among society in order to change society itself. Also, the actors identity en NSM is quite important, as they do no represent “class interest” or ideology, but their subjective identity (interests and experiences) and their independence toward dominant institutions.

These subjetive identities, based on gender, youth, sexual-orientation, profesional background, ethnicity, etc, emerged in the sixties, in interaction with the postindustrial economy, and turned into a second wave of NSM in the nineties focused on global inequalities, rather than particular identity struggles (or we could say, synthesizing all of them). We can also say that the new century is bringing up another stage of social movements, characterized by the intensive use of communication technologies.

Characteristics of NSM’s actions:

In correspondence with the previous characteristics, NSM develop through network-horizontal structures, which allow the actors to maintain some freedom of action while coordinating collective projects. The cultural dimension of their claims also implies changing life style, in what is called prefigurative politics: to act in everyday life in consonance with your ideas. The use of ICT and new media is, obviously, another important characteristic of NSM, which allows activists to maintain and improve their network-horizontal and dynamic structures.

In essence, NSM means the emergence of a new sensibility among social change, bringing the processes of construction of meaning in human society to the front line of the discussion. Acknowledging that, at the end of the day, we (as society) are the ones that construct our realities, and that positive change depends more on how clearly we think and understand our world, than in some kind of historical class struggle. From these point, the rest of the book is going to present different “genres of NSM”, all of them trying to accomplish positive social change through the New Media.

 

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Teknokultura. Journal of Digital Culture and Social Movements – Call for Papers

Teknokultura: Journal of Digital Culture and Social Movements is a peer reviewed online (Open Access) interdisciplinary journal published biannually, now managed by the research group Cibersomosaguas (Complutense University of Madrid). The journal is dedicated to publishing theoretical and empirical works on relations between society and technology with particular emphasis on the conditions, factors and cultural and political effects of technological changes (see previous issues).

Teknokultura: Journal of Digital Culture and Social Movements resists the assimilation of social studies of technology and cyberculture by currently hegemonic sectors of work and, therefore also resists the confinment of such studies only to groups that aim ​​for different modes of production and collectivization of cultural capital. As a hacklab, Teknokultura aims to join collective efforts in order to get deep into techno-social contentious issues, take side before them and encourage “augmented participation”.

Mission statement:
Recently, many theoretical approaches are seeking to analyze technological maturity under non apocalyptic or maximalist points of view. Avoiding technophobic paranoia as well as utopist naivety, we aim to understand techno-social interaction dynamics whether by means of specific case studies or covering wider processes. This has resulted in the fading of the myths and prophecies surrounding possible futures that should lead us either to cybernetic paradise or to the direst of all disasters.

Recent contributions are beginning to dismantle the more naïve or even self-complacent narratives concerning digital society, social networks and online politics and policy. At the same time, the most apocalyptic perspectives are questioned before the new creative possibilities enabled by technology.
Furthermore, we begin to perceive the scale and scope of the relation between technology and emotions, its mediation role in affective relationships and its relevance in the private sphere. The role that new technologies developed in certain areas or microcontexts is disrupting many traditional interpretative frameworks about the place that technology could or should occupy in our society.

The next edition of Teknokultura aims to enhance the maturity of social studies of technology that, beyond our fears and hopes, may give us a better understanding of the new social conditions. Therefore we call for papers focused either on macrosocial analysis concerning policy, politics and Digital Society characteristics; on microcontexts where subjectivities are searching new ways of expression; or even on how big processes are imbricated with personal development of new forms of techno-bio-politics. Thus, from any approach chosen, we seek after articles that converge in this complex as well as paradoxical vision of the Digital Society.

Topics:

Therefore, concerning this next issue (vol.9, No. 1, June 2012) contributions are expected to address the following topics:

  • Hopes and disappointments. Unfulfilled expectations and self-destructed prophecies.
  • Social conditions and technological advances. Contrasts between technological progress, poverty and over-exploitation of natural resources.
  • Cyberfetishism and other myths of the new technologies.
  • Emotions and technological devices. Emotions and sensations in digital contexts. Technological mediation of affect.
  • Reinterpretation of privacy in relation to new balances of technobiopolitical power.
  • Digital Communities and social isolation: multidimensional relationships mediated by technology.
  • Digital Feminism: the reformulation of the “balances” of gender in the digital age.

Guidelines for presenters
Please use the guidelines on our website when preparing a proposal for presentation: http://teknokultura.net/index.php/tk/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions
Deadline: April 15, 2012
Publication date: June 30, 2012
Contact Us: tk@teknokultura.net

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What’s new in New Media? Discussing Lievrouw’s Alternative and Activist New media

By Javier De Rivera

The next book I’m reading is Leah Lievrouw‘s “Alternative and Activist New Media, and I’ve chosen to write about it while reading it, chapter by chapter.

In the first chapter, Lievrouw discusses about what New Media is and its main characteristics, a good way to introduce the rest of the book, which offers interesting case studies of different social innovations of media in the digital age. The second chapter, for instance, offers an attractive perspective by reviewing Dadaism and Situationism as precursors of New Media activists’ styles. Even so, let’s begin at the beginning.

Before describing New Media, Lievrouw states three levels in any media, that have to be considered as a departure point for media analysis:

  • Technologies: Material devices and artifacts used in communication
  • Practices: Different ways people engage into in new communication practices
  • Social arrangements: New social equilibriums buildt arround these practices and devices.

This is a comprehensive sociological view for media analysis, that enables us to pay proper attention to the whole picture, instead of focusing on minor details or letting technological optimism to delude our analysis capacities.

Later, the author goes through the four main characteristics of the New Media, which can be divided into two different categories. Therse are: 1) recombination processes and 2) network structure,which both coincide to the design and use factors of New Media; 3) ubiquity and 4) interactivity, which relate to the social consequences of the system (shaped by the first two).

1) Recombination refers to the possibility of New Media to include all previous media (text, image, video, audio), which make it a more creative way to express alternative messages or challenge hegemonic discourses.

2) Network structure that enables decentralized communication, not only mediated through a few centers, but with a high flexibility that allows many centers to produce and cast their our messages.

3) Ubiquity has to do more with the universal consequences or effects of the other two elements. As New Media integrates all possible previous media and is built as an infinite network, it tends to extend through any space of reality or social interaction.

4) Interactivity is another important element of New Media, as it enables every user to adapt the media to his or her necessities, changing radically the experience and expectations of users. (who are “users” instead of  just “audience”)

After explaining these characteristics, Lievrouw presents five New Media genres – crystallized social practices – which are being discussed in the next chapters.

Ok, But what’s really new in New Media?

What I really would like to discuss here is if these distinctive characteristics of New Media are a good reason why we should continue calling it ‘new‘. Lievrouw argues that the continuous recombination of technologies and the performative network structure, as well as the ubiquity and the almost infinite interactivity are the reasons why “we have continued to think about new media as ‘new,’ as a moving target

Personally, I think we continue calling it ‘new‘ because we are experiencing some kind of “end of the history” delusion that makes it difficult for us to imagine where we really are in the historical evolution process. This happens because we lack of reference points or referential discourses to make sense of the actual technological and sociological situation. That is why we haven’t found a proper adjective to substitute “new“.

Television was a new media back in the fifties. The radio was also new in the twenties and the print, which we consider “the mother of all media” was a new-revolutionary technology in the seventh century, which by all means was a condition of possibility for the Enlightenment. Anything is “new” when we begin dealing with it and are not really sure how to categorize it.

We can still tag the New Media “new” because they are relatively new, thought not indefinitely, because there are other upcomming technologies that would change the whole media picture (such as the smart-phones, the newest feature of new media). And that is why I’d rather look for an alternative approach to the conceptualization of New Media, without dismissing any of the previous descriptions.

If we focus on the real difference with old and new technologies, we get to the digital versus the analog. Digitalization was what leads us to Information Technology,  then to the revolution of communications and the emergence of a “new” media scenario. Digital Media can be a good option to think about New Media.

The main novelty of digitalization is the representation of reality in “discrete data.” Digital refers to the use of “digits,” numbers that code reality. Digitalization is the process of converting reality in information, and these series of numeric values (digits) that can be transferred via web, enabling infinite reproduction without an original.

Analog Media reproduce reality reflecting it in material supports, like paper or film. There is always an original, and the possibilities of manipulation of information is limited to its materiality. Digitalization reduces reality to cultural codes, establishing the independence of thought from material supports. We still need technological devices, but there is not a direct relation between the device and the type or quantity of information that we can storage, share or publish.

  1. Recombination can be related to this indirect relation between type of data and material support; digitalization allows any kind of information to be reduced to digits.
  2. Digits that can be transferred in a decentralized way (network structure), as they don’t need an original.
  3. The ubiquity can be also explained because everything can be digitalized, there is no limit to it (as we are inevitably are going to see). The ability to convert things in manipulable data or digital information is extendable to everything and everywhere.
  4. And at last, the interactivity of Digital Media is related to the infinite possibility of manipulation of data: as cultural code, digits are like words that can be adapted to any kind of public or automaticly translated in personalized languages.

If we switch from the concept from of New Media to Digital Media, we do not lose any capacity of analysis and all the qualities or characteristics described before are still useful and operative. However, we can get a better explanation of what is the real deal in New Media (digitalization), and that may really help us to define an exceptional frame for further analysis.

Note: This post has been revised and corrected by Erica Hernández

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Evgeny Morozov: The Net Delusion – How not to liberate the world (Book Review)

INTRODUCTION

Considered one of the best books of the year 2011 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Net Delusion offers an interesting analysis of the relation between Internet development and its political consequences, with an special emphasis in what is happening in authoritarian governments. In many ways, this book is more about policymaking in the Internet era than about technological and social changes.

The book is focused on the concept of “democracy promotion”, a political frame that shapes all the arguments of the author, unfortunately without further discussion on what this noble aim is supposed to mean. An alternative title for the book could perfectly be “The Open Network and Its Enemies” (paraphrasing Popper), due to the profound presence of this liberal frame in Morozov approaches. And maybe this is the main flaw of the book, because, as I am arguing later, it takes away some depth from the analysis of techno-political strategies and its consequences.

Anyway, the book offers powerful arguments against most of the wrong assumptions the public and the policymakers make about the influence of the Internet in world politics. Furthermore, it is a blow of fresh air in the analysis of new media socio-political effects, in an area of study flooded with naïve topics as The Facebook Effect.

Another important argument to recommend the book is the relevant information it gives about the uses of the Internet in authoritarian countries. This is something very unusual in new media literature, and quite important if we really want to understand the new technological world we are getting into.

 

MAIN IDEAS AND STYLE:

As many reviews of the book have already summarized, the assumptions that Morozov fights back are mainly two:

  • Cyber-utopianism: This naïve idea proposes that all the advantages of the new media play in the benefit of the well intended citizens and activists, neglecting the downside, that is, authoritarian governments also taking advantage of new media to improve their repressive methods.
  • Internet centrism: It is the classical technological determination adapted to the Internet medium, the idea that the effect of Internet development is the same regardless of the socio-political environment.

New Media has given a lot of opportunities to the people to express their opinions, claim for their rights, and denounce human rights violations. But it has also empower other uses that strengthen what Morozov calls the Trinity of authoritarian strategies: censorhip, propaganda and surveillance.  All of them have changed thanks to the Internet, and this book explains us how: DdoS can be used to censor activists’ sites, blogs can spread nationalism and fundamentalism, and the databases enabled in social networking sites are perfect for surveillance.

We can also say the book has two different parts characterized by two styles:

In the first one, from chapter 1 to 7, Morozov gives powerful arguments against the cyber-utopian  perspective. The style is fresh and teasing, with impressive titles such as: “Orwell”s favorite lolcat” or “Why the KGB wants you to join Facebook”. The author tries to captive the reader’s attention, something that reminds of some great American writers like Levitt or Gladwell. In these chapters is where we can also find comprehensive descriptions of the use of the Internet by authoritarian governments.

The second part has a more technical or academic style, discussing the role of technology in social changes from a broader perspective. We could say that it is focused on Internet centrism and technological determinism, but actually it deals with many more issues, such as the challenges and  errors of Western policymaking in Internet matters. Here is where the author presents some critic perspectives about US foreign policies related to the Internet, as contradictions in the directions of different departments. It is also where the authors view becomes more evident.

 

THE “OPEN” FRAME

Morozov is a brilliant scholar granted by the Open Society Foundation. We should thank this institution for funding his work. However, the counterpart is the presence of some OSF fundamentals in his work, shaping the frame from which he builds his discourse. This is not necessarily wrong, but it keeps him away from presenting deeper political insights.

In this sense, one of the most interesting chapter of the book is the Introduction, where the author explains (frames) the problem he is going to face through the book: democracy promotion as a duty of Western Governments and the role of the Internet in it. It is very interesting how Morozov mention the failure and discredit of Bush foreign policy in promoting democracy (“these two wars gave democracy promotion a bad name”), and suddenly states democracy promotion as a clearcut obligation of civilized governments:

“It is easy to forget […] that the West has an obligation to stand up for democratic values, speak up about violations of human rights, and reprimand those who abuse their office and their citizens. Luckily, by the twenty-first century the case for promotion democracy no longer needs to be made; even the hardest skeptics agree that a world where Russia, China and Iran adhere to democratic norms is a safer world”

Morozov remind us, twice in this chapter, the US violation of human rights in Irak. In spite of this fact, he states Western obligation to speak up for human rights in other countries, based only on the assumption that it would be better if foreign powers be democratic. Of course, we all agree with that, but if the author is going to build complex arguments using “democracy promotion” as a corner stone, at least we should expect some discussion about the fundamentals of democracy.

Without this discussion, democracy promotion can be easily misunderstood as a geopolitical approach to ensure the position of western nations. The two faces or democracy (one inside and other outside) is an issue that has been long discussed in political science circles. It confronts us with a difficult problem to solve, because the logic of geopolitical tensions does not conceal well with democratic practices. Another tension that is undermined in the book is the marriage between democracy and capitalism, and how the logic of increasing profits generates inevitable tensions in democratic countries.  These tensions have become even more evident when we enter in international contexts.

 

CRITICAL THINKING

Morozov is also a critical thinker, and he manages to get to these fundamental questions, offering us good insights about them. The role of western tech-companies in working for authoritarian governments just for profit, or the many contradictions in policymaking arround exporting democracy are mentioned in his book. However, they are considered something outside the problem, and are not treated with the attention they deserve.

In my opinión, the weakest flaw of Morozov arguments is that he is creating abstract categories (Democracy and Authoritarianism) from specific countries or situations, without acknowledging the nature of power that is behind every political system. We should better ask about how the Internet affects the equilibrium of power between social agents, instead of how can policymakers use it to such an abstract aim as promoting democracy.

Freedom is a complex matter in social and political science, something we have to take in its global and abstract meaning, not just as the “political signature” of a Western countries. Even though it is in the West where the concept has been developed, democracy and freedom are principles that cannot be encapsulated in geopolitical strategies.

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Social Media and Social Movements

The recent events in the North of Africa and also in Europe have thrown the discussion over the influence of Social Media and Social Networking sites in this new social movements, that seem to be quite spontaneous and horizontal, with and incredible capacity of self-organization that remembers the network paradigm of coordination without centres.

I have been very skeptical about this kind of analysis. First, because it seems naive and simplistic to say that these revolutions happened because of Facebook or Twitter, as if the tools make the change for themselves. In these countries there have been resistance movements and activists working hard for a political change for a long time: they are the main protagonists. Secondly, because I didn’t think that this kind of tools are (i’m talking specifically about Fb, Twt, Ytb, Flk, etc) not enabled to coordinate the complex organization. Thirdly, because I made a tiny research on Facebook in the case of Egypt in which I found that the Fb-pages with more fans were that ones with an institutional character, like the Army or political parties’s Fb-pages; instead of those that seem to connect better with the spontaneous social mobilization against the regime, like “We all are Khaleb”.

Nevertheless, I have to admit that Social Media an Social Networks paradigm have a lot to do with this kind of new reticular social movements. First of all, because the capacity to spread alternative information, discourses, and appeals for mobilization have been exponentially increased on the hands of the  people. Secondly, because there is a new paradigm in social dynamics and culture, something that expresses better in youth cultures. It’s difficult to describe… but it seems that horizontal relations, spontaneity and reticular interactions are more and more common nowadays, as the hierarchic relations losses relevance. And thirdly, because these changes in the media model have a deep influence in the whole social system, introducing new ways of thinking and acting.

Furthermore, this discussion has an important ideological background: as the Social Networking Sites are mostly managed by US corporations, their relevance in these social movements is inevitably linked to the opinion that we have on their role in spreading US governmental interests and ideologies (that is to say  liberalism and capitalist culture). So the ones that are aligned with US values and interests are more likely to stress the importance of the Social Networking Sites in the promotion of positive social change, but the ones that don’t trust these US corporation interests are more inclined to criticize the role of these tools or even to mistrust the real meaning of the social changes that happened, for instance, in the North or Africa.

Anyway, there’s no doubt that the media paradigm has changed and the main actors of the new system (governments, corporations, activists, etc) are still taking positions in this new era, in which the power of information and communication tools seems to be the decisive factor in the definition of social structure and dynamics. But to get a good picture of the changes and the new invisible rules, we have to remain impartial about the interests in the balance and to discern about the different dimensions of social reality.

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Why a Social Media Sociology?

This blog is the english version for Sociologia y Redes sociales, a blog I’ve been writting since February 2010. It also represents a new phase in my research over the changes that Social Media Networks had introduced in our world: what I call the second sociology of social networks.

In the first boom of Facebook and Twitter (2009-2010), the interest was focused on the way this digital networks were changing our relation, our little personal worlds. The way words as friend or personal contact were changing was a good example of this phase. Normal people began to interact digitally in a massive way, both in intensity and in quantity. With the new tools, it was easy to became a famous in miniature and to show your acquaintances the pass of your live, and to develop an amazing capacity for social relations. Everybody was shocked by this new reality, for good or bad.

However, this kind of analysis began to become repetitive… not to speak about the Web 2.0 evangelists who yielded constantly about the greatfullness of this tecnological revolution, most of the times in relation with good expectations about the evolution of marketing, via the improvement of communication with costumers.

There were a bigger picture behind that. Something that had been forgotten due to the new digital toy (the Social Networking Services, as Facebook). I’m talking about the big change in the way we access the world thought the Net, the Informational revolution that Castells and others have wrote about almost ten years ago.

The New Media of the Web are not so new now, they are our informational ecosystem. And all of those analysis made over this New Media have become much more complex with the proliferation of this Social Networking Services, were the  web traffic is distributed over the networks of contacts, and the people act as axis in the distribution of information. That is the Social Media.

I know that’s not new, especially in english speaking countries. What’s new (at least for me) is to open the focus from the microsociology of digital Social Networks to the macrosociology os Social Media; not just to get amazed of how it has change our world or imaging a fantastic world with all of us connected, but to deepen in the dynamics of the construction of social reality in this digital world (that’s a reflection of our human reality), that are happening through the interaction (hybridisation) between the people and the technology.

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