"Exhibited in the Global Digital age" by Hans Geser (University of Zurich)

by Laurent François


Hans Geser shares online a great report about our digital identity and social relations right here.

Here are his conclusions:

“To summarize: Social Network Sites represent a paradigm for collective participation in the digital age. Traditional institutions and associations plagued by declining membership and voluntary activity have to look to these platforms in order to learn how todays’s youth can be motivated for collective action or even be mobilized for various forms of civic and political participation (Valenzuela et. al. 2008). On the downside, however, these far-reaching gains in creating bonds and exploiting social resources have to be paid with considerable sacrifices in three respects: 1. They contribute to a leveling of social life by obliterating more subtle nuances between different types and qualities of human relationships (e. g. by propagating undifferentiated notions of “friendship”), by encouraging the revival and conservation of older “primordial” relationships (instead of opening up to new acquaintances) and by excluding negative and conflictive aspects of interpersonal relations. 2. They integrate individuals into settings of increased supervision and social controls (caused by losses of privacy, enlarged “front stages” and the desegregation of roles). 3. They reduce personal autonomy in self presentation by propagating publicly visible personal profiles and biographical records. Thus, the future of Social networking may be critically dependent on the implementation of software schemes that allow everybody to define his personal equilibrium between public accessibility, grading of social distances and individual control.”

This is a pretty balanced and relevant paper proving 2 ways:

  • citizens definitely need a better understanding of the new environment they live in. We can call it literacy
  • citizens become more and more public personalities: they need to fight for their digital identites, because it’s now part of their “real” reputation and in the meantime to keep a relevant balance in terms of privacy

A MUST-TO-BE-READ!

(photo: Sunside)

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