Bad, bad blogosphere.

I have long believed that the blogosphere can be a force for bad. The most dysfunctional, bullying behaviour I have see...

March 28, 2007

I have long believed that the blogosphere can be a force for bad. The most dysfunctional, bullying behaviour I have seen as an adult has been enabled by ICT.

IMVHO…the social embedding of ICT has negative consequences for human decency:

We are living in a new ‘power of 5′ era of “Anytime, Anyplace, Anyhow, Anything, Anybody” communication.

Until the 1980s, the principle benefit of communication lay in its ability to enable ‘anytime’ communications over distance. Let’s face it, the “Communications Anytime” revolution initiated by Alexander Graham Bell (and accelerated by Marconi) was limited and predominantly benign in its impact.

In the last two decades, ICT has added new four multipliers of complexity decades. Our societies and personal psychologies have not adapted to the new rule of engagement.

To the “Anytime” contact of Bell/Marconi, the late 1980s added “Anyplace” with its socially disruptive development of mobile telephony, bringing the telephone into intimate public and private spaces.

In the late 1990s we added “Anyhow” dimension to this list, with the advent of new protocols and devices – SMS and Instant Messaging as messaging technologies, making conversation asynchronous and context-rich removing the ‘social brake’ of instant feedback and consequences.

The current Millennium brought us the “Anything” multiplier, bringing virtually any digitisable information asset under our personal control, delivered via a proliferation of devices: (Gamecubes, PSPs and iPods) as new media delivery points.

And finally, and this is the killer, the advent of the fully-searchable “Web 2.0” or “The Antisocial web” which has given individuals both the means of multi-media production and the ability to discover one another’s interests on a global basis.

Web 2.0 evokes and then distorts deeply embedded rules of social reciprocity on a previously unmanageable scale, creating almost unmanagable layers of social entanglement. Ultimately though, trackbacks and hat-tipping are no substitute for real respect. Ultimately this productises relationships and erodes our humanity.

Link love is no substitute for the real thing.

Together, these ‘power of 5′ factoers have created a potentially dangerous spiral of virtualised interactions. Like some selfish meme, ICT only nurtures itself. It is parasitic on actual human beings and the societies which they compose.

A power of 5 world is likely (certain I would say) to lead us to higher and higher levels of ICT dependency and ultimately, in the right circumstances, high potential for addiction…and the social dysfunction that accompanies it.

In that context, it’s no wonder that this stuff happens ! Nada Kakabadse, speaking at lift this year suggested some solutions to this mayhem…