In their essays “The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society is Coming Online” and “The Hazards of New Online Collectivism” Kevin Kelly and Jaron Lanier present two drastically views of online collectivism. While Kelly embraces online collectivism as the beginning of a new age in global cooperation, Lanier cautions against trusting the wisdom of an anonymous online collective. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Sharing
Today’s readings include “The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society Is Coming Online” by Kevin Kelly and “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism” by Jaron Lanier. While in general, Kelly seems fascinated by the positive improvements that collectivism can offer our digital and social environments, Lanier criticizes the collectivism he calls “hive mind” for what elements he feels are lost in the transaction- our personality, our voice and even our ability to discern. Before explaining the tension between their ideas, I will first start with Kelly’s perspective.
In his article, Kelly describes the communal function of digital culture, its collectivism, as a new form of socialism. This is because the digital exchanges are centered around social interaction, not ideology as the term “socialism” evokes at first glance. Kelly terms it “a sort of socialism uniquely tuned for a networked world” (Kelly 1). It is characterized by an interaction that- as we have learned in discussing networks previously- relies heavily on a widespread connectivity of individuals; the eventual ability to “connect everyone to everyone” (Kelly 1). It is the force dubbed “dot-communism” by John Barlow in the 1990s, derived of “free agents” and a lack of owned property (Kelly 1). Since the Internet functions as a global platform, this new socialism produces a world-wide egalitarian environment. The implementation of the Creative Commons alternative copy right liscence and the proliferation of file sharing have aided this growing communal digital landscape.
Both Kevin Kelly and Jaron Lanier take on the continuous debate about the effects of open source websites in the articles “The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society is Coming Online” and “Digital Maoism”. Kelly see’s the rise of open sources in an optimistic light whereas Lanier does not. Websites where individuals are free to contribute to the overall product has become so powerful that it is beginning to re-shape the way our society operates. A few examples of open source websites are Wikipedia, Digg, and You-Tube. Continue reading →
Both Clay Shirky and Michel Bauwens emphasize the importance of the “coordinating resource” of the concept of the social web. While in chapter 5 of Shirky’s Here Comes Everyone he focuses on the impact of Wikipedia and its reasons for success, Bauwens piece on “the social web and its social contracts” aim to convey the same message – we exist in a world where participants of the internet appreciate the process of sharing and implement it as a very important social tool. Through Shirky’s chapter one can use the example of Wikipedia to understand the complex argument presented by Bauwens regarding the concepts of the sharing economy, benefit sharing, social platform owners, and the overall notion of the social web. Wikipedia itself is a social commons founded upon the basis of “collaborative production” – there would simply be no Wikipedia if those participants in the community did not make the edits to continuously improve the plethora of information available on the site.