Alex Gibson

Art, Collaboration & Social Media

Future of Media 2008 Summit (via Twitter)

This blog is a compilation of ideas and annotations from the Future of Media 08 ‘#fom08’ tag on I did not attend the summit but followed the #fom08 tag and tried to condense the information contained into useful annotations for Social Media researchers.

stilgherrian: Jenny [Williams] “It’s very close to being a revolution,” like the Industrial Revolution. “Close”? “CLOSE”? WTF?!?!?! #fom08

This sentiment is indicative of the nervousness about the rapidity of change undergoing in culture since the the early 1990’s and was most brilliantly announced by the popularity of the Internet and mobile phones. The frustration by stilgherrian also shows how early adopters are annoyed by the conservative denial of the cultural shift that is prevalent in contemporary practices.

mpesce: “As significant as the transition from feudalism to capitalism” #fom08 opening thoughts

I am assuming this quote is also from Jenny Williams, but it’s unclear. It contains a common belief, that Social Media is also significant shift in economic organisation. This idea is notably developed by Yochai Benkler in ‘The Wealth of Networks”. While the issue is contentious because it is early days, it is hoped that we may find a more equitable system to replace capitalism that is not as susepitble to corruption and despotism as communism.

mpesce: “iPhone data usage is about 50 times higher than any other mobile handset” – AT&T #fom08

The shift from fixed desktop networking is undergoing incredible development as mobile phones become 3G and wireless capable. This is fulfilling a desire by people to network in more fluid, flexible and ubiquitous ways. It is also having deep affects on the sociality of knowledge, information and culture. Crowd sourcing, mass coordination and leaderless organisation being just a few examples of what has emerged as trends for culture.

stilgherrian: Ross is talking us thru the Future of Media Report, PDF at #fom08

The FOMR08 PDF is focused on business strategies and seems to miss the deeper point, that this is changing all aspects of society, not just business. The quantitative approach is interesting but less than half the argument. Its typical of industrial capitalists to try and frame the shift in their terms, but is not going to help the transform with the shifting environment.

mpesce: Should the advertiser target a community? Or rather should the community be so in love with the advertiser they do the spruiking? #fom08

This point goes to the heart of Internet commerce.

trib: To the question – all advertising *is not* spam. I will take ads for free use (as @chrissaad said). But I would prefer relevance #fom08

A good point about the changing role of advertising and business communications. If advertisers can get their heads around this then they will make a lot of money and hopefully will stop pissing everyone off.

A final note… Public broadcasters have a huge advantage in the Social Media landscape, because they are already inherently social organisations. Could social media force the antisocial behaviour of corporations and their satellite companies to play nice?


July 15, 2008 Posted by | techology, web 2.0 | , , | 2 Comments

Changing Climates and Societies



“We must live simply so others can simply live” ~Meenakshi Raman

There are a few things in life that are inevitable; Death, tax *and* change. Climates change and societies change. Humans are causing climate change, perhaps we can cause social change too.

Contemporary society often falls prey to technological determinism. Often you will hear calls for technological interventions for socio-political problems, as though the car controls the driver. This technological interventionist approach will only lead to further totalitarianism and ignores the origin of cause and effect.

There is an interesting historical narrative that describes the case for climactic adaptation, technological determinism and social change. The story goes that the Peruvian civilization of the Moche were a proud and prosperous people until a natural mega-El Nino event caused 30 years of rain followed by 30 years of drought. The culture of ritual human sacrifice used by the social elites to regulate climate wasn’t working. Their false-consciousness regarding the technology of their pyramids and culture was made apparent by the inability of the leaders of the society to prevent the problem. This lead to social mistrust by the so called ‘lower classes’ and the society fell into civil war, eventually undoing the totalitarian grip of the elites.

This story illustrates the idea of climactic change, failed technological intervention and eventual social adaptation. A similar narrative is being written in contemporary culture. If we continue practicing the wasteful culture of late capitalist consumption, then we may experience a similar story as the Moche narrative.

July 6, 2008 Posted by | techology | , | 1 Comment

Stallman & Zizek

Caveat: These two men are people I look up to and respect… and find a little amusing.

Having said that… Do you think they are related? I mean it is scary. Or is it just me? Stallman (left) invented the GNU project and the GPL. Zizek (right) is the living heir to psychoanalysis and one the the worlds most popular living philosophers (unless that’s an oxymoron). “So what?” you may say? I just posted two blogs, one referring to each of these and then it struck me. They are very similar, not only in beard and dark ringed eyes (but that also). They are both passionate, logical and radical thinkers. Oh and they are both mad as hatters too. This is the future people!!

July 2, 2008 Posted by | techology | , | 3 Comments

Computer Fanatics

Computer Fanatics attend to their computers with a kind of religious devotion. They covet their computer with deep attentiveness and inventiveness. This digital play may appear arbitrary to the casual observer, but upon closer examination the fanatics selection for obsessive gaze are rich symbolic examples of their fantasies, ambitions and fears. Through the computer, the Computer Fanatic is able to express many taboo thoughts and desires. The computer is a subject which fascinates the Computer Fanatic. They monumentalise the potential of computing through the amassing of technical knowledge which they employ to solve any number of useful and useless functions. These monuments of fandom range from bizarre virtual cults to custom built computer operating systems.

Most computer fanatics are benign and some are quite scary. Take the irrational Mac user who single mindedly beleives that his machine has attained some kind of infallible perfection. How disappointed he must be when the inevidable crash, error, virus or whatever occurs. And the Linux fanatic. He will rant for hours and days about the virtues of open source (I plead guilty to this one) and yet overlook the obvious difficulties with usability (although Ubuntu is changing all that). Funnily enough it is harder to find a Microsoft Fanatic, perhaps that is because the products are so bad that no one wants the humiliation… or I could be wrong. Perhaps they are a secret society that I have yet to meet.

I am glad we live in a world of computers and passion is not a vice, but fanaticism may be holding us back.

July 2, 2008 Posted by | techology | , , | Leave a comment

We Are What We Want

“We are what we want, in cyberspace” ~Zizek 1998

Popular, commercial online social networks today are designed around the user. They are usercentric. The entire interface has become a digital face. The most popular social networks are completely focused on the individual user (Myspace, YouTube and Facebook). Great hours are spent adjusting profile information, changing status, tweaking settings and uploading, tagging and sharing various forms of self reflecting media. The whole program operates as a kind of fantasy mirror and a place to play dress-ups. It is a theatrical space in which we are all actors representing our various fantasies about ourselves. This doubling of self is a narcissistic act, but what is curious is the growing desire to do this en-mass. It is as if we are not content to act out our fantasies alone, in our studies and bedrooms but we must also share our experiments with identity with potentially millions of Others. Is it because we like to imagine ourselves being popular? Is this a kind of faux celebrity, or a Warholian 15 minutes? I suggest that it is much deeper. It is an example of a shift in consciousness from rigid definitions of self to more fluid ways of being and acting. These acts are not confined to cyberspace, although perhaps they may have been developed there. Or perhaps, they are acts in which we may have always engaged, but only now are we being drawn to them as the hypermodern social world becomes unavoidably visible, in cyberspace.

July 1, 2008 Posted by | web 2.0 | | 2 Comments

Social Media En Masse

“In a staggering show of how quickly broadband services are spreading in Asia, China this year overtook the United States as the largest fixed subscriber market [of Internet broadband services], according to a new report… from Dittberner Inc.” ~Michael Dinan

We are living in a new millennium. The first decade of the 21st century will be remembered for its rapid uptake of Social Media en masse. After the collapse of the NASDAQ around 2002, it seemed as though the mid-90’s fad of the Internet had died once and for all. However, since then a remarkable resurrection has taken place. Among the web services that achieved this are Google, Blogspot, Amazon, Wikipedia, Second Life, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and more recently Twitter. The network has reformed, rerouted and reproduced through a series of new strategies. Industrial tactics based on broadcast media such as one way databases and over speculated advertising banners had not succeeded. Now web pages are not just broadcasting their messages, they are seeking the user to add their voice to them. User generated content, social networking, rating systems, private messages and profile-centric home pages have come together to create the so-called ‘Web 2.0‘ and this coupled with smarter pull advertising are capitalising the Internet in a new model of economy with social production as its engine.

July 1, 2008 Posted by | web 2.0 | , | 2 Comments

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog.

This is an experiment in looking at WordPress as a blog platform. I must say, so far it is pretty good. Normally I am a Drupal person… I like to tinker. But maybe having some out-of-the-box solution will allow me to focus more on my ideas and less on the structure in which I present them.

July 1, 2008 Posted by | misc | Leave a comment