It’s the transparency stupid!
So cold coffee in San Francisco … not good too milky … but even worse you can’t escape the news anywhere. Pictures of bombs and images in the UK made their way within 5 minutes to West Coast and rest assured at 2am Hargreaves was still working hard. Then in the papers on the way back reading cc TV pictures of burning jeeps and people it occurred to me that this frenzied media overload is another factor of society 2.0. It’s less about the technology than the transparency that results, the 24 hour monitoring of everything.
This means you can’t hide things anymore and you can’t just say how it’s going to be without some kind of backlash whether it’s the decision to go to war or an Olympic logo. Now while this good and all democratic I am wondering whether it just makes life too stressful. I mean once upon a time people were paid to design or make war and they were the expert and the rest of us had a sense of respect. Today this transparency means we are all expected to have a view, so is Society2.0 a world of critics? And is this truly a good thing? A critique would be welcome …
Jordi Ballera adds his two penneth..
Of course it’s a good thing. That is what we call the social construction of meaning. Both transparency and collaborative technologies help to promote ethical standards and moral values through dialogue and interaction. Maybe this is making life stressful… I don’t know. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to participate or not. But don’t forget that there is no citizenship without participation.
Simon Collister (blogger extraordinaire) also views his opinion…
Agree entirely with Jordi.
The social construction of knowing or meaning is creating a major change in the way we produce and consume knowledge. ‘Experts’ have grown traditionally through our construction of knowledge and knowing which has relied on filtering and sorting information to help us get a grip on the most ‘important’ bits. To decode the ‘important’ bits we needed a top-down process where ‘experts’ made the important decisions for the public (David Weinberger also argues this was a highly political way of evolving knowledge as power was inherent in the process).
As more and more people get the chance to impart their own, personal expertise, traditional power structures of business, politics, etc must adapt to this openness/transparency in order help shape knowledge and understanding. This may be stressful but partly because it is such a sea-change in the way we – as an industry and society – work.
Always one for self-promotion I posted a little bit about understanding the need for genuine transparency (the type Jordi notes is vital for participation in civil society) last week here. I would also definitely recommend reading David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous).
An argument with myself … so I agree with you both BUT I also disagree. A-political societies don’t have a means of resolving arguments and often tend to chaos that leaves a vacuum into which emotions and extremism replaces rational debate and expertise. See Noelle Neumann’s book Spiral of Silence that looks at this process in Weimar Germany and the rise of Nazism. My midnight fear is that this a-political process could occur in Society 2.0 …
Simon finally adds a final thought:
You’re right again, Jonathan….. but Noelle-Neumann’s Spiral of Silence specifically addresses public opinion as manipulated through media as a mass communication channel. I would argue the internet is a network used by individuals – do traditional media/mass communication theories still apply (I don’t know by the way!).
Perhaps apolitical societies traditionally fell into chaos leading to the rise of super-elites (Nazism?) because individuals didn’t have access to a platform allowing debate…. but… wait for it… doesn’t the internet provide just that?
All good debate… shall we organise a series of briefing events/workshops to explore these issues? Kind of a New Media Academic Summit for the UK/Europe… 😉