Saturday, November 29, 2008

Governance and Social Media (Digital Superstructure pt. 1)

I was picking through two old posts, one about the disembodied nature of empire and the other about the shifting nature of political/economic/social authority on a global level, and I started to think about how to apply my older thoughts on such things to my current interest in social contract theory and the growth of the "digital superstructure(s)" that are increasingly front-and-center in our lives.

In this case, being a contributor, or at least a mildly active participant in one's own "digital life" (since you've got one even if you're not online!) is a better idea than sitting back. The benefits (real or perceived) of being plugged in are simply higher than staying out. Pragmatism, not popularity, is driving us onto the internet - into the diffuse, sometimes highly-selective networks that are changing the speed of news, connecting consumers to producers, or even helping people.

We have absolutely no idea what is coming next, but we know that when things change, or when something big happens, there will be reflexive, collaborative and, above all, supportive networks in place for dealing with whatever it is. Best of all, these networks are, to a certain extent, self-regulating. We are governing ourselves by a loose set of rules that become more and more codified as time goes on. I doubt we'll ever have a "Blogger's Bill of Rights" or anything like that, but things are progressing, whatever that means.

For an interesting look at what might be coming around the bend, take a look at Teilhard de Chardin's Omega Point Theory, but instead of viewing it in terms of true global consciousness, put it in the language of social networking and the internet. Doesn't sound quite so far-fetched now. Or does it?

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