Stowe Boyd @ Futuresonic ’09 – Live notes

Today opened with a very interesting talk today by Stowe Boyd. Here are my live notes – also available on the original Google docs, where the table at the end is actually properly laid out.

Stowe Boyd – A Well-Ordered Humanism

Society used to be full of ‘Centroids’ – mass identity – mass affiliation to large organization

Now: Defection from mass identity,  rise of the ‘Edgelings’

Social media = me first

Primary place you get information is through your contacts, your friends. Is this the beginning of a new kind of tribalism? Ultimately we’re switching away from larger identities (national, etc.) to more localized ones.

An example: Shift from e-mail to other comms forms like microblogging

Microblogging: the future dominant mode of communication –> the stream model.

With IM and microblogging – there’s a layer of presence information there.

“Everyone has three lives – a public life, a private life, and a secret life” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Email is secret. When you send email, no one knows. Chat is inherently private. Microblogging is a fully public mode, by default.

Context: email is a close relationship with your inbox. It’s the equivalent of having a filing cabinet. Most people dislike this experience. The best thing about it is when it’s empty. The best thing is – it’s over!

Chat: You’re in a room. potentialities controlled by the person who invited you. Asymetric relationship.

Microblogging: a stream model. No groups to join. Overlapping and non-exclusive networks. Subtle shifts, but they’re intense.

Email is dying – kids don’t use it. Instead text message, instant messaging.

“Get used to doing things publicly, it can have huge benefits. The great majority of things people are doing, when they’re public, open up opportunities for random people showing up and helping, being influenced – synergy, serendipity.”

“We will be shaped by social media the way rocks are eroded by water over time.”

Transition from centroids to edgelings:

Work and Politics top down, authoritarian vs. bottom up, egalitarian

(but these kinds of orgs are very very conservative and resistant to change)

Belonging Hierarchies vs. Networks

Family nuclear vs.  post-nuclear (tribal)

Political Scope nationalism vs. glocalism

Media mainstream vs. participative – e.g. social television

Environment exploitative, unsustainable vs decentralized, sustainable

Religion centralized, dogmatic vs. decentralized, enigmatic

“What people do on the web – it’s not motivated by the people they talk to, or what they’re talking about – it’s about defining who they are.”

World, Life, Self – a well-ordered humanism, an ethos for a new age.

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