menu

Pop Culture Guru Believes Social Media Creates Local Movements Not Global Ones [Social Media Week]

Pop Culture Guru Believes Social Media Creates Local Movements Not Global Ones [Social Media Week]
Advertising

Best-selling author Douglas Rushkoff, shares his thoughts about how Facebook and Twitter spark local movements rather than large-scale ones -- in the kick off to our Social Media Week coverage.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 11 february 2012

In preparation for PSFK‘s upcoming presentation on The Future of Gaming at Social Media Week (SMW), we will be interviewing a number of keynote speakers and panelists presenting at SMW who will be discussing the global impact of social media and its role as a catalyst in driving cultural, economic, political and social change in developed and emerging markets. Douglas Rushkoff is the author of ten best-selling books and three award-winning Frontline documentaries on new media and popular culture. His commentaries have aired on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s All Things Considered, and have appeared in Time magazine and The New York Times. Douglas lectures about media, art, society, and change at conferences and universities around the world.

Please tell us a little about your presentation at Social Media Week. Is it clear that technology has facilitated the speed, ease, and strength of social mobilization and protest? Do you think it’s fair to draw comparisons between the Occupy Wall St. movement of today and protests of the 1960’s?

I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be saying. Depends on what happens over the next few weeks, I suppose. There’s a cultural weather that seems to determine a whole lot about the way people respond to ideas, so what I say may look different depending on what’s going on in everybody’s world. The underlying message will have to do with patience, and the ability to engage in an Internet era movement. As I see it, 21st Century activism is fundamentally different from the spirited movements of the 60’s or the whole last century. Instead of following a charismatic leader on a narrative journey, movements like Occupy or even Anonymous are about changing the present rather than the future. They are patient and incremental rather than driven and apocalyptic. I don’t think it’s so much about social media making things easier to organize, as social media reversing the top-down environment of corporate media.

We have noticed that people with similar interests, hobbies and needs can get to meet today through smart services that use a mix of social, location and demographic data to match profiles. Networks are looking at their members profiles on their site and across the social graph and link people up based on interests, needs, location.  How has this seamless interconnectivity affected civic movements? What kind of opportunities does it present for the future/future collaborations around shared purpose?

Well, I think the marketing frame you’re using could very well spell the death of this wonderful emergence of social activism. The social web has rekindled local ties that aren’t easily understood or over-simplified. Social media has not led to big global movements as much as lots of local ones. The kids on the streets or in the jails of Oakland right now have a common interest to the ones in Zucotti Park, but they are a different population. These things aren’t as easily branded, and that’s good.


In other words, I think it’s a mistake to look at one’s social activism through the lens of brand affiliations and other mediated alliances. This is the opposite thing happening.

What else are you looking forward to at Social Media Week?

I’m not sure, really. I have no expectations. I hope I run into some interesting people, and that people who come to my talk are changed by it.

Thanks Douglas!
Douglas Rushkoff

Advertising
Trending

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Work
Syndicated Yesterday

What Could The Highway Of The Future Look Like?

As technology for automated vehicles improves, there’s a sharper focus on building a ‘smarter’ infrastructure where they can thrive

Design Yesterday

Plastic Wind Trees Are Bringing Sustainable Power To Residential Homes

These French-made turbines are offering a small, aesthetically pleasing approach to affordable personal energy

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Home Yesterday

Dyson’s Wi-Fi Connected Fan Purifies, Cools & Heats The Air

The new luxury home appliance aims to be an all-in-one device for the connected home

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

Advertising Yesterday

Brewing Company Turns Car Emissions Into Ink

Tiger Beer has created a sustainable process to transform air pollution into supplies for street art

Design Yesterday

Space-Saving Sofa Has Extra Furniture Hidden Inside

Living in an apartment with limited space? This three-in-one bed transforms based on your needs

Culture Yesterday

Browser Extension Blocks Any Pages That Make You Unhappy

The software can detect your facial movements and prevent content that brings up negative emotions

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Automotive Yesterday

Reserve Your Parking Spot Before You Even Get Behind The Wheel

A new Ford app allows drivers to select and arrange for a space in a garage to be available at the end of their journey, so they can travel worry-free

Work Yesterday

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: The Desk Is Becoming An Ecosystem Of Satellite Workstations

Our Future of Work vision is an app that frees employees from the tyranny of a static desk

Food Yesterday

A Tiny Amount Of This Powder Could Block All The Bitterness In Food

A new substance made from mushrooms can bond with taste receptors on your tongue to overcome unpleasant flavors

Asia Yesterday

Whimsical Dental Clinic Design Aims To Calm Patient Fears

Cheerful colors and a nod to the comforts of home are design elements tactfully aimed to help people relax

Mobile Yesterday

Messenger Service Only Delivers You Updates Three Times A Day

Formal is a new app designed to help people ignore the constant stream of texts from their phone and focus on what's in front of them

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Design Yesterday

Movable Vacation House Constructed Using Concrete Boxes

The 4,000 square foot building is made up of modular frames so it can be relocated if needed due to coastline erosion

Design Yesterday

Redesigned Electric Fan Collapses For Easy Storage

Conbox can be kept in pieces and packed away when not in use

Ai Yesterday

LawyerBot Is Now Helping Homeless People Qualify For Government Housing

This robot helps people get out of parking tickets and provides free legal advice to those in need

No search results found.