Groundswell: the “great wave” of social networks


Talking today about social network, without repeating something already wrote or said, is extremely difficult, yet everybody emphasizes it now as a mass phenomenon, a truly new social dimension that till a few years ago was considered a lowest substitute of culture and human communication. Non institutional tools designed for chats, intended to give incomplete or even wrong, non academic information, plebs that have nothing else to do but wasting their time online.
Very few saw web and social tools at their true potential, a potentiality from which sprung the “tsunami”, our debate topic of this article.
Social networks broke an unwritten rule: the presentation of contents to public had to be carried out only by eminent figures and experts in the field such as journalists, scientists, professors, constitutionalists, institutionalists and so on.
The political social events, narrated by “the bottom up”, I quote among many the Arabic spring and the monks’ revolt in Burma, not only visible by means of social networks but also thanks to these, have shown the social importance of this type of contributions as testimony but also as “driving force” of the event itself and as stimulus toward the international public opinion.
But, at a certain point, something changed, the media, even though on the second place, (the first ones had been the web’s consumers, the true protagonists of social phenomenon), realized how the new tools were determining a global impact, they understood that putting the truth online was not only faster and immediate, but also more veracious, they saw the “great wave” coming.
Today, institutions and the most prestigious personalities participate in this phenomenon, there is no presidential office that doesn’t use Twitter to quickly send communications all over the globe, nor cultural gathering without “virtual” analogous online, there is no any…
Transnationals university groups of research were created in order to exchange online information, as well as virtual groups of reading and T-groups, close examinations and debates along with events in streaming whose argumentation takes place online, or on cell phone or tablet.
Thanks to internet it is simple now for an individual located in a retreat on top of the most inaccessible mountain road, a retreat obviously wireless, to participate in new groups, know new people, share interests, report cruel injustices or speak about himself.
There is a new “social” society parallel to the existing one that allows the creation of concrete, complex and dynamic social relationships. Each of us has the possibility of bringing his own contribution to web, whatever his competences are. But on what leans this new harried “social” society? Is there a solid base? Is there the presence of true elements of innovation or are we before a “bubble” of global dimensions?
Let’s try to focus on the main axioms on which the “social” society leans, assuming that a completely virtual component can indeed lean on something.
The first one is the absence of a hierarchical structure, net is reachable to everyone and everybody can participate or even do the net.
The second important axiom is the aim. Often, the production made online doesn’t have a direct economic/political goal. This point is particularly important because distances this new dimension from the twentieth century production, century in which the production of events, opinions or mass tendencies had often clear cut the aim of the material production of that “something” and also the capital or power accumulation by protagonists, consequent to the proposal of that “something.”
Social networks generate situations and collective behaviors but, as we all know, both groups real and virtual, are quite different from the mere sum of individuals, so the third axiom is the fact that social networks are collective and mass tools, in some occasions even able to create unthinkable impulses and dynamics.
The fourth axiom is based on the inherent originality arose on net. Internet is not the faded image of the real life, it is not the bland copy of the traditional cultural forms. Internet expresses on its own way contains, tendencies, art and culture. Social networks are the tools used by internet people.
The fifth one is the reactivity and the inherent ease of use. Social networks are easy to use and they consent the immediate publication, the so-called “in real-time”, of what had been thought and produced. With a simple click they permit the rapid creation of new social aggregations. The Filters, the supervisions, the censorship as well as the approvals are reduced to the minimum.
The sixth one is only a matter of numbers, if billions of people communicate using social tools with collaborative dynamics 2.0, everyone else will have to deal with it/accept it.
But social networks are above all “Groundswell“, in other words a “wave“, a “tsunami” of technological tools that allow the great mass of people to satisfy their own needs, to interact, communicate and participate, to be present and share their thoughts.
It is an absolutely new model on a global scale, very different from the previous models of participation on “a large scale” for too long unidirectional, non interactive, non reactive, strongly hierarchical, exclusive, elitist, oligarchical and propagandist.
Today, the social network’s opponents tweet all their dissent against these new forms of culture, announcing the end of culture suffocated by technology and technicians. They despise the “2.0” that, in their opinion, it has or has not arrived or at worst, it is already ended long ago, according to the type of instrumentalization that they intend to do.
They didn’t even notice, for instance, the creation and evolution of new forms of collaboration such as Wikipedia, or more generally the Wikis, based on a hierarchical model but at the same time receptive, participatory, attentive to evolution and work of each individual. A model, according to my humble opinion, that can also be applicable in many contexts of the real life, social and political, where the lack of elasticity, collaboration and merit evaluation is by now a chronic illness.
These new forms of socialization have had, in this embryonic stage, a remarkable impact on our personal space, on our “daily life”, I am convinced, conviction of type 2.0, therefore absolutely devoid of institutional or scientific foundations, that in one decade, as from yesterday or the day before yesterday, the political system, the social structure, business sector , will be overtaken by this phenomenon.
It is unbelievable how many of the greatest protagonists of our epoch didn’t realize by now its importance, maybe because they are too self preoccupied to see the “wave” coming.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s