Posts Tagged ‘philosophy

Silhouette of lovers at sunset

I got chatting to a young man, a friend of a friend, the other night. He slowly revealed to me a love affair he was in the early stages of enjoying. But insisted I keep the precise details from our mutual friend. “Because of Facebook.”

The relationship had complications- her divorce is in progress, a young child involved. The man didn’t want our friend to know about his mystery new girlfriend – not because her awareness would be difficult in of itself, but because he worried she would post light-hearted but revealing comments on either of their Facebook walls – that the soon to be ex-husband might see.

In sociological consideration of social media we often contemplate how we censor ourselves in online environments, to avoid comebacks in our professional or social lives. This phenomena arguably results in docile digital users, who temper discourse, consciously and unconsciously, in fear of those watching (with albeit an unequal gaze) who might not approve.

With the imminent switch to Facebook timeline for all users – we are more conscious than ever that what we say, and have said in the past online, may have real-world implications and consequences.

Boy in hall of mirrors

Yet another aspect of this digital/social panopticon is how we adapt our offline activity and discourse, mindful of what might appear online. How we adjust and keep the reality of our lives from social media connections in the ‘real’ world, because we worry about what they will share.

Couple at sunset image via tripadvisor and hall of mirrors via Kulturbot


Mood affects our benevolence and patience – how we create and consume media. So taking account of others’ moods is valuable when we communicate: on an individual, institutional and commercial level.

Claudio Ciborra once put it like this: “moods capture the situatedness of the actor as opposed to the situation of the action only.”

In addition to many factors that affect how we see and listen, what we say and how we say it (professional and friendship networks, personal interests, cultural positionality, prior experience and location) – mood always matters.

Yet it’s hard to tell mood online… where we usually cannot see other people’s faces. The slight raise of the eyebrow, roll of the eyes, gentle smirk. Irony, anger, sarcasm, humour can be completely missed as we send messages across cyberspace in the form of flat text. So the consideration of mood is important in social technology.. but is still a rarity.

WWF are using the Get Satisfaction platform to help capture ideas from web users – in the spirit of similar successful online crowdsourcing initiatives such as MyStarbucks Idea. WWF website visitors are presented with this pop-up as they browse the site:

A user can directly submit ideas through this – and also specify how the idea makes them feel. Each contribution then lives on the Get Satisfaction site – where others can vote and comment on it, and WWF can respond too. Interestingly you can also see, overall, collective users’ mood in relation to the idea.

In this case we have a fairly uncontroversial suggestion – about extending the annual Earth Hour event to happen more often. But we can imagine how this type of mood aggregation can, in the future, start to enable proactive, prosocial prioritization of responses by organisations and brands…

From understanding how upset people are about the imminent destruction of a particular rainforest, to how delighted they would be at the introduction of a new handbag shade, to how frustrated they are about socio-economic conditions – perhaps even if they are angry enough to riot

Moods cartoon by Candy Gourlay

“Like” culture is antithetical to the concept of self-esteem, which a healthy individual should be developing from the inside out rather than from the outside in. Instead, we are shaped by our stats, which include not just “likes” but the number of comments generated in response to what we write and the number of friends or followers we have

Neil Strauss

The history of computing is completely intertwined with the history of the military. American pro-military capitalism fuelled the development of networks and systems which were designed as platforms for surveillance and methods of challenging communist ideology. These systems were therefore politically loaded weapons. Be aware of being re-sold the same futures again and again: identifying the ulterior and ideological motives behind technological development could help us “inoculate” ourselves against disastrous repetition

Richard Barbrook via Chris Baraniuk

This future could not arrive soon enough. The smartphone that we have all grown completely dependent upon has become one of the rudest technologies ever invented. It harasses us when we have a new e-mail, text message or social network update. Technologies that are wearable and more aware of their surroundings, and therefore able to tell when it is O.K. to interrupt us, will let us wander the halls of society without our gaze turned downward and two thumbs clacking away on a mini-keyboard

Nick Bilton

A succinct quote my late-great Grandad used to bandy about was “political parties don’t win elections… governments lose them.” Google+ is great fun …dragging my nearest and not so dearest into appropriate circles feels much more like social networking should always have been. But Facebook of course, like all empires, will ultimately self-destruct

Why? As children we ask this over and over – until the answers stop coming… or we get to a point when curiosity starts being eaten up by acceptance – brokering an initially uneasy embrace of the way things are. C’est la vie.

But in this TED talk Simon Sinek argues we hang on to this query… in the sense that we buy ‘why,’ not what. We still hunger for that basic core understanding… even if reality has snatched from us the inclination to keep asking.

So for the pitch of a new idea, an innovative web service, for someone to support our little Facebook campaign… Whatever we propose we must remember to say and show why what we have to offer is important… to the new community member, the prospective partner, the potential new client, the community, the industry, the nation, the world…

This blog is about utilizing and optimizing the social web for business, pleasure and social change

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