4 Dec 2008

How can we integrate our self into the network?

The interesting talk I heard from professor Norbert Bolz leaves me with a couple of questions. If our economy is increasingly determined by our networked self, then how can we carry out the rest of our lives?

After all, people are born in families and the first thing they learn is how families work. Of course, some families don't work and perhaps the adults from these fragmented relationship childhoods are the best positioned to cope with new social networks. If they manage to create their own social skills, that is.

Our traditional image of a family is very much influenced by the nuclear family, parents and children in a house. The reality today is very different, and perhaps more the way African families work (if you take away the typical isolated context). Divorce and separation are common, so children often have more complex relations with adults. The moment we stop seeing this as detrimental to kids, perhaps we can work out a new ethics of the networked individual.

So am I saying this is good or bad? Far from making moral statements, I am trying to understand and share what the future demands from us. What I am convinced of, is the divide which will become deeper. Between rich and poor, obviously, but also between successful and mainstraem.

People who manage to create a working social network will be the most proficient. But they will also have to live a life. Enjoy things, not necessarily the supposedly wonderful simple things a lot of people grew up with. Many of the fine things in life will be more complicated. All of us will have to learn how to enjoy this, not fear it.

I am hoping to get an answer to this question in one of the later sessions on simplexity, so stay posted.

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