Just To Keep You Thinking

“There is no more powerful force to change every institution than the first generation of digital natives. The world, including business, will hinge on a new set of principles” Don Tapscott

“The internet as a noun has become the internet as a verb. It has become a set of conversations. An era in which user-generated content and social networks became the dominant phenomenon” Philip Evans

“The self as we once knew it no longer exists, and I think that an abstract, digital universe has become part of our identity” Abha Dawesar


“Technology is the seventh kingdom of life. And we have a moral obligation to invent technology so that every person on the globe has the potential to realize their true difference” Kevin Kelly

“If you don’t treat humans as special, if you don’t create some special zones for humans – especially when you are designing [or integrating] technology – you’ll end up dehumanizing the world. And what we have done in the last decade is give information [and data] more rights than are given to people” Jaron Lanier

“The greatest task before civilisation at present is to make machines what they ought to be, the slaves, instead of the masters of men” Havelock Elis

1220HSL | Social / Status / Quo
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It is very easy to write of social media as a platform designed to leverage narcissism and invade cognitive surplus in order to generate profit – all under the guise of providing us with enhanced reach, connection, freedom, and power. It is also easy to write it off as a dehumanizing technology – forcing us to reduce our concept of person-hood and friendship so that it fits within the limitations of the software. However, social media only exists because we do. Without us it is just code. Empty. And unconscious.

So for all the negative arguments you could throw at social media we are the ones who actually breathe life into them. We are the ones at fault. Not the platform. Not the code. And in that context we are not without choice here. We are not without power. In fact we are in complete control. We do not have to fuel the machine with narcissism, mundane descriptions of trivial external events, or updates that are more for the sake of form than feeling. We can easily remove the pervasive view that people are just “its” online – simple objects to navigate around and leverage for whatever purpose we deem important at the time. We can make social media human. And it might be easier to do than we think.

We just have to be brave enough accept the risk, the vulnerability, and the nerve required for real conversation. Some advice from Jaron Lanier’s book ‘You Are Not A Gadget’ (2010, p. 21) on how to actually do this … “post a video once in a while that took you one hundred times more time to create than it takes to view, write a post or an update that took weeks of reflection before you heard the inner voice that it needed to come out, innovate and find a way to describe your internal state instead of meaningless peripheral events.”

Take the time to position yourself outside the relentless and fleeting white noise that is social media’s status quo.


Spiderbait. The Triffid. Brisbane. 26 │02 │2016.



jason harding


July 01, 2020

Written Word