The Cloud is coming. It will darken, even if passingly. An unprepared community might panic, breakup, and war among itself. Community is important to us human beings. We cannot survive well on our own. It’s possible to go it alone, but our travels only go so far that way. The transmission of our culture from generation-to-generation demands connection. Connection powers community. Sooner or later, we all need connection and live off of community. So, in the age of mass connection, do we have a bright future? Or does something dark await us?
It’s hard to say where the proliferation of social media will take us. Entropy says that the project of social media is doomed to degenerate into a mob-fest, a tyranny of ourselves against each other. Evolution via natural selection, however, indicates that successful adaptations might arise out of the chaos. Who knows for sure how mass connection will evolve?
THINGS SOCIAL MEDIA NEEDS TO GET RIGHT
If we are to get mass connection right, there are certain key ingredients we need to mind. Getting these right isn’t sufficient, of course, but they probably are necessary. Here are some off-the-cuff factors we’ll need to work out:
- Reinforcing in our youth the importance of integrity, discipline and focus in using social media
- Ensuring adequate security, accountability and reliability of what we put into the Cloud
- Considering the consequences of how we use social media
- Establishing a workable solution to the problem of online identity
- Solving the problem of abundance of data versus scarcity of meaning
- Maintaining awareness of our relationship with technology
There are many more things for our social media projects to get right. We’ll need to grow the list.
TECHNOLOGY…OUR DEEPENING RELATIONSHIP WITH IT
The Cloud will probably darken one day. What happens when all of our fluid data enters the Cloud and spins into a virtual hurricane of informational torrents? We could be living in an informational tyranny: a rivalry of ourselves against each other.
There are many bright prospects to our increasing adoption of social media tools. Friends and businesses can keep in touch; share experiences and discoveries; and enhance their relationships. Strangers can meet and exchange ideas, maybe develop personal and professional relationships.
All of our electronic interactions, however, are through media not around them. We aren’t really interacting with each other, are we? We are entering a new kind of relationship with technology. Our online interaction with each other is illusory (a useful illusion perhaps). It’s this more seamless, often hidden, relationship with the technology we develop and adopt into our lives which perhaps poses one of the greatest threats mass connection poses.
THE DUSK IS COMING
Paradoxically, we aren’t interfacing with each other as much as with the technology which connects us. What’s generally true of our primal behaviors between each other is simultaneously diminished and augmented through the technologies we are adopting.
The technologies of social media can amplify our mutual anger. When we get angry at each other, we don’t consider the technology. Perhaps we need to learn how to be mindful of our relationship with technology. If we can acquire that understanding we have a chance of surviving the storm clouds.
It’s not all doom and gloom. I’m hopeful that sunny days are ahead. I’m also pretty sure that the Cloud, however it forms, will darken. Whether it will darken by the command of a few cunning manipulators or through the lure of our own mimetic desires depends on the adequacy of our preparation.
What am I missing? Do you think we’re prepared? Can we even be prepared?