Wed 16 Nov 2016 8:17AM

Dynamic and Unfolding Processes instead of Static Solutions

RH Ronen Hirsch Public Seen by 348

Craig and I initiated a conversation that began with my response to his post on taking back social media: https://medium.com/enspiral-tales/taking-back-social-media-could-be-world-changing-35c479cc387f#.xrcs5iv2e

We would like this to be an open conversation instead of a private correspondence stored in our inboxes. Hence this space ad this thread. What follows is my response:

I too have been holding a story for a couple of years about a social dynamic. I haven't evolved it it much because I am one person (who doesn't enjoy coding) and I feel this should be a group effort (way too many decisions for a single person to make). Given that there is no group, I've been contemplating not so much the system itself but what would be a relevant first step to make it happen.

This has brought to me a realization that I believe is key to any effort to make a substantial change in our social media landscape. I believe that we need to stop seeking solutions and start creating, changing and tuning processes. I believe that a better social media future is one where there isn't one solution but diverse solutions that create an web of interactions which lead to vastly different social dynamics than what we have today. The question, I believe, should NOT be how to create a better Facebook, but how to create a different socio-technological process (that, amongst other things, creates software solutions) that would lead to something inevitably different then what we know today.

The question is then, what would be the sun, the center-of-gravity, around which such a software ecosystem could exist?

I believe that at the heart of all our social efforts lies the individual - an independent, free and accountable individual. Simply put I believe everyone should have a self-owned, open-source based, online presence. This is a basic building block which, I believe, may lead to different social-constructs. Currently, coming together has either been either designed to create or resulted in fragmentation of our online-selves. When I participate in a conversation (such as your filterburst.useresponse.com) I create a fragment of myself which someone else (in this case you & useresponse.com) can control and manipulate. That is, I believe, at the core of what gives Facebook its power. Many people who are on Facebook would like it to be different, but they have no say about that. They walk around disgruntled and carrying a misplaced sense of entitlement to a voice about the space they (wrongly) believe they own. I believe this common (unconscious?) architectural choice (individual fragmentation) has been a systemic fault in most of of the attempts (including those listed in your post) that have been made to create alternatives to Facebook.

With that in mind I would like to share with you:

I believe that many of the building blocks to create this realize already exist and that there are working examples of this. But I leave that thread of conversation for another time.


john gieryn
Mon 28 Nov 2016 4:25PM

I'm good with whatever anyone has energy for... cheers to autonomous action :)


Ronen Hirsch Sun 20 Nov 2016 5:01PM

Thank you for that @hazelashton.

Your comment send me into further reflection and discernment. I believe we can create online communal spaces around concrete needs, but we can do so in a way that leads towards individual presence. The underlying architecture I believe in can can still be applied. I have written about it a bit more extensively: http://oameni.iamronen.com/2016/11/20/if-you-have-to-start-with-community/

On a more philosophical note I want to say this. I believe that we need to acknowledge where we are today, to respect that place and to work from it. I believe we have become fragmented. Modern money-based life has undermined and dliuted much of what in the past was social experience.

I buy (or sometimes exchange) my food from my neighbor farmers. I know them and am sometimes deeply involved in their lives. If you get your food in a supermarket in a city do you have a relationship with the cashier? with the person who stocks the shelves? with the truck driver who shipped the food? with the producer? with the shareholders of the supermarket chain? We live in a world of diluted relationships.

I believe this has also undermined our ability to experience community. Though the word community is used very liberally, I believe we don't yet have a mature grasp of what it is and how it can function.

So in fact, we are fragmented AND there is a deep rooted wish in us to become communal.

Personally, I want to believe, as you say, that we are all connected. I am starting to see signs of it, but my past life experience was not aligned with that belief. I think this is true (to varying degrees) for many people and we need to respect that.

In the communities I have visited or tasted a common theme is that individuality is sacrificed for the better of the community. I believe that is a profound moral flaw. Communities, I believe, are supposed to elevate their individuals, to create opportunities and freedoms that could not be afforded to them as individuals.