In great part, the reason is that we have been taught to mistakenly view online as meaning not offline. The notion of the offline as real and authentic is a recent invention, corresponding with the rise of the online. If we can fix this false separation and view the digital and physical as enmeshed, we will understand that what we do while connected is inseparable from what we do when... disconnected. That is, disconnection from the smartphone and social media isn’t really disconnection at all: The logic of social media follows us long after we log out. There was and is no offline; it is a lusted-after fetish object that some claim special ability to attain, and it has always been a phantom.
m weintraub boo
tech for change. digital anthropology. hot sauce. cities. reciprocity.
By empowering dissenting insiders to break the insider/outsider boundary, digital tools help “collapse the context.” That’s the phrase scholars use to describe how digital infrastructure brings together people, information and ideas that used to survive through an ecology of separation.
For me, the possibility of a trans or queer politic lies in using identity as a starting point for challenging the violence of the world around us, and building something else, creating more possibilities for everyone. I’m interested in a movement that fights for universal access to basic needs, as a starting point — housing, health care, food, the right to stay in this country or leave if you... want to, a sex life that matters. I’m interested in gender, sexual, social and political self-determination. The possibility of a trans or queer identity lies in annihilating all hierarchies and creating something else in the ruins, something bolder and more caring, communal and daring.
The first step towards nonviolence, which is surely an absolute obligation we all bear, is to begin to think critically, and to ask others to do the same.
Social change is, at its core, about human systems. Attempts to change political behavior or spur communal action depend on the choices and actions of individuals. Those choices and actions are highly context-specific, influenced by communal norms and personal preferences. Counting outputs doesn’t provide the necessary level of nuance. Only an understanding of those individual experiences will.
“I hate homepages,” she says, adding that “millennials are thinking about content according to topic” rather than provider. “I want to read about the [presidential] inauguration from six or seven publications, and I want see what my friends are saying on Twitter and pictures people are taking on Instagram. I’m not just reading highly credentialed journalists; I’m also reading snarky commentary and regular people who were on the ground somewhere.”
Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively. After a short time, a very short time, there would be little that one really enjoyed. For what keeps our interest in life and makes us look forward to tomorrow is giving pleasure to other people.
To get the most out of social media we need to understand those communities. So we respect their cultures and treat those we encounter online with the same courtesy and understanding as anyone we deal with in the offline world. We do not impose ourselves on such sites. We are guests and behave as such.
The terms obfuscate Facebook’s business strategies in such simple language that the deception—the sense of what is being left out—is almost poetic: “Sometimes we get data from our advertising partners, customers, and other third parties that helps us (or them) deliver ads, understand online activity, and generally make Facebook better.”
In this sense, technology is neither an abstract flood of data nor a simple machine-like appendage subordinate to human intentions, but instead the very manner in which humans engage the world. To celebrate the Web, or any other technology, as inherently edifying or stultifying is to ignore its more human scale: our individual access to this imagined expanse of pure information is made possible by technologies that are constructed, designed, and constantly tweaked by human decisions and experiences.
Brand democracy means that the organization trusts its members, staff, participants, and volunteers to communicate their own understanding of the organization’s core identity. Brand democracy largely eliminates the need to tightly control how the brand is presented and portrayed. The appetite for brand democracy among nonprofit leaders is largely a response to the growth of social media, which has... made policing the brand nearly impossible. Alexis Ettinger, head of strategy and marketing at the University of Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, puts it bluntly, “Given the rise of social media it would be insane to try to single-handedly control the brand.”
“Let’s put our press release on the website.” Not digital strategy. “Can we link to that new factsheet on our Facebook page?” Not digital strategy. “Let’s create a video that will go viral.” Not digital strategy. “Did you see NRDC has a Google+ plus page? We need one.” Not digital strategy.
But Facebook’s revolution is obviously less Maoist than feudal. The “social graph” is the inheritor of the great chain of being, the new master metaphor to make everybody’s place in the world fixed and quantifiable. Everything that occurs must have its distinct plotted point in the society that has been reduced to a grid. If it can’t be plotted as data, it probably never happened. If you aren’t on the graph, you don’t exist. Those thoughts you have that don’t get shared? They aren’t real and aren’t a part of who you are in the rewired world.
We can’t buy into the productivity of limitless narcissism, the myth of our infinite freedom of autonomous identity making. The question is how to impose limits that don’t feel like circumscriptions — that is, how do we demystify the market’s promises of infinite exchangeability and couple them with limits on the self without those limits feeling arbitrary?