The darker side of social media

My first entry as guest weblogger has appeared at Corante’s Many to Many. A brief excerpt:


What a unique out of body experience. You can take the voice out of the body, but you can’t teach it manners.

Take a good long look at this rather frivolous first entry, because I can guarantee you that the other entries will not be light hearted, safely intellectual, or funny.

Too much about the genre of social software – the weblogs, file swapping, IM, discussion groups such as MetaFilter and Slashdot, user groups such as those enabled at Yahoo groups and Usenet, the collaborative environments, digital identities, and copyright freedoms – has been about the utopia we’re building with these new technologies. We make grand claims to ourselves as well as others about our replacing professional journalism, stopping wars, increasing both artistry and productivity, giving voice to the individual, finding truth, and ultimately, building communities.

However, as others have discovered in our past, when building ideal societies, there is no true utopia – there is only a fragile hope based on undiscovered lies.

It’s time, past time, to look at the ‘dark side’ of social software.

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