Are internet use patterns creating divisions in society?

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by ska invita, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    I think it's far too soon to tell what the overall effects of the internet are and will be. My reservation about this sort of claim is that I suspect people probably made it about the distribution of pamphlets when printing first became widely available.

    I agree that the whole accusatory/insular mob culture of parts of the internet are horrible, but a lot of that may turn out to be a passing fad. We've never had the opportunity to mob total strangers without repercussions before, so people are trying out how it feels. I can see many people getting sick of it in a few years when some of the young people who help drive it grow up a bit. I'm not too worried yet that these patterns we see now are in any way permanent.
    Kaka Tim, trabuquera and Poi E like this.
  2. J Ed

    J Ed Follow Back Pro Expropriation

    Young people who help drive it? Like the President of the US? Modi? Duterte?
  3. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    I think you'd be giving them too much credit to suggest they are responsible for online cultures. They are clever enough to ride them, that's all. Social media is dominated by young people now. As those young people grow up the whole scene will mature, and lots of people with experience of various online fashions will change their views on what is good and bad about social media.
  4. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Is it?
    Sunset Tree, J Ed and seventh bullet like this.
  5. twentythreedom

    twentythreedom Seagulls are cunts

    Just been listening to James O'Brien on LBC 11-12 about this Facebook specifically but relevant to all social media - well worth a listen. (Available on catch up on their app)
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  6. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

    The irony of this is we're discussing it on an internet based open forum, which essentially, is social media one way or the other!

    I've been posting on forums since the late 90s, well before the birth of facebook or even myspace.
  7. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    I've now got a few minutes to come back to this.

    I think you might be interested in Nick Dyer-Witheford's Cyber-proletariat (2015, London: Pluto Press), especially chapter 9, Cascade.

    "The reappropriation of such technologies in struggles therefore circulates news quickly, but without building trust; enables the fast start-up of struggles, but also their ephemeral fragmentation; can give an extraordinary visibility to anti-capitalist militancy, but also subjects it to omnipresent surveillance. Wide in scope, weak in ties; fast but evanescent; unstoppably viral but surveilled; these cybernetic properties mean that proletarian movements can and must use such systems even while working against their bias to develop the longer term strategies, solidarities and safety that cybernetics tends to nullify". (p167)

    He later concludes:

    "The 2011 cycle of struggles contributed to a renewed discussion of the ‘communist horizon’ (Dean 2012), and also some revived advocacy for the Leninist party. Yet the strongly horizontal tendency of contemporary struggles makes it unlikely any vanguard group will hegemonize their myriad molecular components under some molar organization. This horizontalism is strongly associated with network practices. We agree with Rodrigo Nunes (2014) that any kind of contemporary ‘party’ organization would have to emerge from within the network setting. This setting is very unlikely to generate or be hegemonized by classic vanguardism. What may be feasible is a ‘becoming party’ of multiplicitous movements which learn, in the course of struggle, an increasing selfdiscipline, prioritizing objectives and coordinating operations around gradually developed common goals. As Nunes suggests, the real dynamics of such complex network systems is far from being strictly horizontal, always in actuality involving leadership forms – hubs of communication and influence that move to the fore and recede in particular times and contexts in a sort of rotating vanguardism which is also a divestment of the claim by any single organization to totalize the revolutionary project. However, as was discussed in Chapter 7, the accelerated, de-contextualized and surveilled nature of digital communication means that this networked process cannot be solely a form of cyber-activism, but has to be accompanied by slower, localized and secure processes of solidarity formation, negotiation and planning. In this sense, and in this sense only, we might say that while in the era of the mass worker the party constructed the cells, in that of the global proletariat the networked cells must create the party, an organization as far from Leninism as contemporary military organization, with its all-round battle-spaces and mobile fronts, is from vanguards." (pp202-203)
    yield, Graymalkin, ska invita and 2 others like this.
  8. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    sounds very well researched...there are a couple of his lectures available online, will check out - might be a bit more accessible to me that way. The first bit of the quote (cascade) I think is bang on.

    The bits in his conclusion about horizontalism and anti-vanguardism match my experiences. Im not sure if its a trickle down of trad anarchist ideas, or a way of thinking formed by interacting with the structured horizontalism of social media...or perhaps a bit of both. I do think this has become default for the young generation, and that can only be a good thing (unless you're a vanguardist).

    My experience of being part of horizontal groups is that it works great when everyone gets on and broadly feels and thinks the same way about things, but gets much harder when the groups is more ideologically diverse. Some people can handle the difference and are happy to defer and generally pick their battles. Some cannot handle not getting their own way and end up leaving the group before long. For more varied groups to survive they usually go through their own de/re-selecting process to get to a group shape that functions.

    With that in mind its not surprising that the separating out of people into tighter groups happens online. The same happens in the real world, just that the scale of a pool of people as can be formed on Twitter or Facebook is so much greater. My point being, beyond scale I wonder how different this is to life in a pre-internet era? Its really hard to say anything about that without resorting to romanticism and guesswork.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  9. trabuquera

    trabuquera Modesty Bag

    Creating such divides, no - the root causes are social not technological - but aggravating, sharpening and possibly hardening them - definitely.
    ska invita and Rutita1 like this.
  10. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    ...on the other hand the internet and social media does bring people together in the real world and in a lot of unexpected ways, not all shallow, or at least it can do for people who are up for that.

    i wonder how much of this is teething pains... This is the first generation exposed to the mechanics of it and the information /opinion overload that comes with it. hopefully future generations might be a bit less reactionary? There's a lot to react to.
  11. J Ed

    J Ed Follow Back Pro Expropriation

    The direction of travel is towards a much more closed internet, I suspect that the present period will be looked back on as a period of unprecedented freedom online. Well, until the Earth can no longer sustain human life which is not very far in the future if the present trajectory continues or even improves somewhat.
    seventh bullet likes this.
  12. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    "The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw."

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