I’m taking a class with Howard Rheingold, Think-Know Tools, with some fantastic folk and this is my morning’s meditation which I’ll share more widely.
I like the word reimagining….we grow by getting out of our boxes, finding new paradigms, new perceptions, new tools, new people who challenge us, but reimagining is a skill that often gets overlooked or left behind. Fundamentally it’s a different way of looking at your tool sets and convictions – all that you have left in your wheelhouse after applying the forementioned processes, and there are many others – it’s a lifelong journey of wonder and learning. You can’t help but get to a place of , not complacency, really, but a kind of compentency – where you become comfortable with your skills and the responsibilities that they entail. And then you commit yourself to 1) yourself, 2) your family, 3) your friends, 4) your community, 5) your world. And you shift along the line of being and doing and establish a kind of freqency pattern as to how you go about your business. Hopefully being grounded, and mindful, and in the moment. Having said all that, I find reimagining to be quite powerful…Both metaphorically as well as practically. I have tried to incorporate it into my morning meditations and to be open to it as I bop around my day.
So, currently struck by this one – reimagining the Internet as a mosaic of cultures:
“We mapped usage of the Internet, as distinct from its technical features. Viewed this way, the Internet is much less West-centric, and rapidly diversifying as the world’s populations engage with it in their own ways…Mapping sites based on how much traffic they share with each other revealed interconnected clusters or communities of shared Web use. These corresponded well with major geo-linguistic regions, and we called them “online regional cultures.“ In addition, there are a few online cultures that span geographic regions; they tend to include either user-generated or adult content….In general, we find that geographical regions where people speak languages not widely spoken elsewhere (such as Japan and Korea) are the most distinct online cultures; regions with geographically dispersed languages (such as Spanish or Russian) or those of multilingual geographies (such as India) less so….In such maps, the Internet is becoming more decentralized, or to be more precise, de-Westernizing, as more users from disparate cultures are taking over its topography by bringing in their own cultural identities. Between 2009 and 2013 the Web witnessed a gradual process of “de-Americanization”; the cluster corresponding to the U.S. has separated from the “global” websites such as Twitter and Instagram – primarily user-generated websites, which are neither centered in North America nor on the English language….Compared to the prevalent technological Internet maps, our user-centric maps from 2009 to 2013 challenge, rather than reinforce, the existing concept of an Internet anchored by Western knowledge, norms and activities. They encourage the (Anglophone, especially) general public to confront the narrow online world with which it is familiar. Further, the trend captured by our maps may encourage Westerners to refresh their own preconceptions by exploring the vastly heterogeneous cyberspace…Technical connectivity alone is not enough. For online regional cultures around the globe to strengthen, users must be able to build and shape the content they find appealing. For this to happen, local governments need to introduce civic, economic and social opportunities with new technologies. Left to a market dominated by West-based transnational corporations, the global South may not achieve healthy domestic Internet landscapes and online cultures.”
I curate on the sociololgy of cyberspace, within digital culture(s). Firstly, we haven’t always recognized nor reinforced different cultures….there has been an underlying assumption that the digital world(s) are shaping us toward a monoculture – but enthnology and anthropology, on the ground, teach us differently. So I am glad to see that thinking extended to the digital realms of cyberspace. And I am glad to have rid myself of that assumption. Secondly, I am wondering if I bought into that assumption due to some of the other assumptions about the Singularity. Another point where it is generally agreed by a lot of folk that we are moving towards. (btw, I do not agree with that, and it is not a polestar in my cyberfuture(s) maps. It is is some, you have to consider all the possibilities. Thirdly, whoopee, the more the merrier I say, Party on dudes! It is nice to see that the WEST does not rule in cyberspace and the western values of ripping off all the resources purely for their own capital gain and dominance have little traction there. Howard is way ahead of the curve on this stuff. Fourthly, as I am coming to realize that cyberspace does and will continue to have its own political powers that may well be gamechangers, a whole world of possible futures loom large and may well require some action on my part. I feel a bit like Kit Carson in cyberspace here. I alluded to William Gibson’s most excellent No Maps for these Territories, in a post somewhere on this site. Well, some of us have been making maps… now… where can we share them and with whom, and in what ways that they might be most effective? And there are quite a few folk in the DeepWeb worth reaching out to.
So, that’s the first pass on my meditaion re this reimagining. Much to think about. And at a grander scale I will try and bump reimagining up a notch or two in my metaphysical musings 🙂 What can I say? I’m a bit of a polymath and these things can’t be helped. This is the kind of stuff I chew on all day, I realize it may not be of any value to others, but I like these blogs to organize myself a bit better.
P.S. As we have been introduced to the historical evolvement of the NET we have seen that it generated from a small handful of folk with a primarily western-centric bias…Not fair to include the big thinkers here, like Doug, or Tim, or Linus, or JPB, etc. But after their shared visions and manifestos it was left to the underlaborers, as the British like to say, to actually build and develop the thing. And that WEB has all kinds of biases built into it, hence the movement of so many of Jah people to the DarkNet and other places no one talks about and won’t 🙂 (so don’t ask Charles). So that’s top down. But now we are seeing bottom up – a web of subcultures being built on social media platforms by the actual users. Gonna have to incorporate all this into my(our) whopper Mindmap. Nice.