Time to give technology an ASBO?
Social technology is at the heart of what I do and the stories I tell, from romantic encounters on Facebook pages, interaction with physical spaces, the power of mass texting to mobilise for public health, all the way to creating new behavioural scripts like open source or giving us the tools to change our power relationship.
But, we need to question what we mean by social technology, not just web 2.0 versus web 1.0 or social media versus mainstream media…
We’re all encouraged to be more authentic by the very technologies that take it away from us. They help us manufacture our stream of consciousness so they can sell it to the highest bidder to use to sell products and services back to us.
But it’s not the technologies, is it? It’s the advertisers manipulating them. And how do we react? Are we more likely to turn up to sponsored flashmobs so companies can sell more mobiles or stunts to get the banks not to rip us off anymore?
Are we more likely to get involved in civil disobedience crushing other shoppers to get cheaply priced clothes or on marches against companies exploiting child workers in sweatshops? Are we more likely to watch Big Brother or protest against the extension of CCTVs deep into our neighbourhoods? Are we more likely to tweet non-stop throughout the day or go for a walk with our friends?
We administrate how we order and distribute our thoughts and feelings as if they were files we had to put into particular folders. We call our social networks the new cities, we visit virtual worlds to recreate shared experiences like the record shops, bars and bookstores.
But ironically, this leads those same physical environments to shut up shop because we don’t visit them in real life anymore.