Monday, 29 November 2010

The Conformity of Crowds

In our social networking playgrounds we are fearful to be different least we offend or contravene the rules. The new heresy is not only to have an alternative perspective, but to communicate that perspective. Dispute an online fashion or a beloved digital authority and you are labelled a hater. Where is the love of argument? Why the rush to consensus? Why sign up to the utopian celebration of social media's endless updating of its possibilities without questioning our need for the service provided?

Social networking supports the contemporary myth that we each have voice a worth attending to, while simultaneously seeking to deny the uniqueness and originality of all our voices by trapping us within systems, databases and pre-ordained templates. We are free only to be the same as everyone else.

Were Descartes alive and fiddling with the ends of his moustache in the second decade of the twenty-first century, he might be tempted into a new metaphysical formulation: Others are therefore I am. What’s thinking got to do with it RenĂ©?

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