True, I stole the title of this post from Jeremy Tanner, but I don’t think he’ll mind too much since we’re speaking on a panel together this weekend at the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas along with Steve Swedler and Todd Huffman.
How Social Networks are Killing the Revolution
I know, there’s a lot of drama in that title, but there’s a lot of drama on the Internet. For a bit of a preview on what we’ll be addressing in our panel discussion, Steve participated in an interview with Belinda Acosta in the Austin Chronicle, along with two other participants in upcoming SXSW panels, on how the Internet — or rather if — the Internet helps foster positive social change.
Some thoughts from Steve:
I think that one of the big problems we have with the Internet are expectations. We talk about the Internet as shrinking the world and creating a global economy and community, but this is simply a dream. The number of people not on the Internet still outnumber those that are. And the number of people using the Internet for purposes of connecting with the global community is far less than people would have us believe. My supposition is that the majority of online “friendships” fall into three categories: “familiar,” “validating,” and “false.” We seek out those types of relationships because they are safe and comfortable.
From the perspective of someone in communications, I can’t help but think about this in terms of new barriers. Just because web-based communication helps tear down some of the old barriers, or at least make them less relevant doesn’t mean we aren’t putting new barriers in place.
The digital divide is just one such barrier.
In the past we had geographic barriers, socio-political barriers, race barriers and/or class barriers that held people from different groups at arm’s length.
So the question I would like to pose to you is, are we creating new silos of information and relationships on the social web, or does the Internet just redefine our definition of local?
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to subscribe for regular updates!