Though I wouldn't normally mention something like this, because these predictions of trends are usually rather silly, futurology (it's like astrology for tech), they did mention an interesting social trend, among the pronouncements about blogging and localism and eWear (clothing with special spots for your gadgets), which is the result of technology disrupting the analog social barriers we have known in the past that keep people with differences physically further apart than the closeness they can achieve now with internet technology:
This is a "trend" that has been happening for years, where TV shows like Dynasty, got exported to poor areas of the world, where the result is often hatred for wasteful, self-indulgent lifestyles of the American's shown. More recently in the last 10 years, the internet has allowed people to get closer. An example might be what has happened with online social networks, like Friendster, where in the past few months, white-supremacists have targeted racial minorities with hate speech, and those targeted have simply jumped off Friendster (no links, this has not been reported that I know of in the media, but is something I was told from a person who is connected with the company). Other examples might be those in poor areas react to the wealth apparent in other locations with their associated internet sites, or those who are of one belief-system react negatively to those who show activities on the internet that are in conflict, resulting in discord.
Course sort of thing, this also works in reverse where those in wealthier areas see things in less wealthy areas that are upsetting. Example: when American's find out that Indians can get unlimited data through Hutchison/Orange for $2.00/mo (99 rupees/mo), they may want to place their data cell service in India, and then use their VoIP software to use their American phone number over that data connection.
In this case with phone prices, however, those who pay expensive prices for information services, and see cheaper services offered in other countries are more likely to get upset with American companies charging the high prices, than with the people themselves in the poorer countries. Whereas the Us - Them situation in the first paragraph has to do with people in one area upset with people in another, which is different and more socially discordant across regions. In otherwords, the situations between people seeing information across the internet about others, and getting upset due to this new information is symmetrical, but who they are upset with as a result not necessarily symmetrical.
The napsterization of the phone biz continues as does the disruption to the analog social barriers that kept us from finding out about each other as intimately as we can with the internet, across social groups and around the globe. While generally breaking these barriers down is a good thing, because we get more direct experiential information about things happening in other places, there is a darkside, and we need to be sensitive to this aspect.Posted by Mary Hodder at December 18, 2003 09:46 AM | TrackBack