In addition, these new public spaces often have the brief of breathing new life into locations lacking any major architectural merit, whereas previous projects focused on iconic settings. This brief seems to be prompting certain cities to adopt rather extravagant projects, Curnier found. For example, the cities of St. Gallen, Glasgow, Copenhagen and Berlin have covered ground with red paint in order to distinguish their public spaces (see photos). Having initially been designed to stand out, these different spaces now look alike.
Nobody in Glasgow liked the Red in George Square… glad to say it’s gone now 🙂
There’s been a lot of talk among my actual friends and social media “friends” about leaving Facebook behind in favor of less data-breachy outlets. It’s hard to imagine people will want to spend time rebuilding their Facebook worlds on another platform, but I understand the impulse. We see less of our friends’ posts every day and more advertising — nevermind the whole accidental-toppling-of-our-democracy aspect of Mark Zuckerberg’s platform.
As I started seeing more “I’m logging off forever” Facebook posts, I evaluated whether one option might be a return to the start of my social media life, back before “social media” had a name. If I say goodbye to Facebook, might I once again say, “Hello, MySpace”?
Consider this a lunchtime lecture, it’s really fascinating to go back into the archives and hear they keynote panels. A lot of the Roflcon panels were archived, so well worth checking out.
Mainstreaming The Web – ROFLCon II The very final keynote panel of ROFLCon II, featuring: * moot, 4chan * Ben Huh, I Can Has Cheezburger * Kenyatta Cheese, Know Your Meme * Jamie Wilkinson, internetfamo.us * Greg Rutter, You Should Have Seen This As web culture increasingly flows into the mainstream, it becomes enmeshed in a crowded world of businesses and commentators. In turn, it becomes more easily digestible and accessible to broad audiences. What are the ethics of being a part of that space? As this process continues, what is gained? What is left behind?
Gentrification. It’s a constant cycle in the offline world. Run down areas with cheap rent attract a young arty crowd, business moves in when the area has a new hip image, and suddenly everyone wants to live there and the original residents find themselves priced out of the neighbourhood and so move on to a new place to start the cycle again.
But, we don’t just live in cities in the digital age. The internet was once a haven for freaks, geeks and weirdos, but now that everyone has poured into the same digital space, has it too been gentrified? And if it has… where can people go?
Aleks Krotoski explores how digital communities have shifted and evolved, through both the very human development of communities, and the technological changes of algorithms and automation that have like the highways and infrastructure of the physical world, have split communities and fundamentally changed how we live online. She discovers out how the cycle of progress has both helped and hurt us in the digital age, and finds out if the artists, the freaks, the geeks and the weirdos still have a place to call home.
Danah Boyd, author of the chapter, stirred up controversy once before, in 2007, by noting that during the period beginning in 2006 when teens began to flock to Facebook, teens’ preference for either MySpace or Facebook appeared to fall along lines of race and class.
Subsequent statistical analyses of the characteristics of users of online social networks by researchers, marketers and bloggers, she notes in her latest work, backed up her claims that white and asian teens who belonged to higher socieconomic strata (and who aspired to college, with which Facebook at the time was associated) were attracted to Facebook, while latino, black and working-class teens tended to opt for MySpace. Boyd notes in her chapter:
Analysts at two unnamed marketing research firms contacted me to say that they witnessed similar patterns with youth at a national level but they were unable to publicly discuss or publish their finding, but scholars and bloggers were more willing to share their findings.
Boyd’s current work argues that MySpace took on many of the aspects of a “digital ghetto” in the minds of teens who used the site, leading to “white [and asian] flight” from the site, analogous to the white flight from the city to the suburbs that took place in the U.S. beginning in the 1960’s. Boyd continues:
Consider the parallels. In some senses, the first teens to move to the “suburbs” were those who bought into a Teen Dream of collegiate maturity, namely those who were expressly headed towards dorm-‐based universities and colleges. They were the elite who were given land in the new suburbs before plots were broadly available. The suburbs of Facebook signaled more mature living, complete with digital fences to keep out strangers. The narrative that these digital suburbs were safer than the city enhanced its desirability, particularly for those who had no interest in interacting with people who were different.
Boyd argues that MySpace’s inability to deal with spammers added to the feeling of urban blight that overtook the site, leaving derelict profiles “covered in spam, a form of digital graffiti… As MySpace failed to address these issues, spammers took over like street gangs.”
Subsequent media coverage of the “death of MySpace” was a direct result of this flight, says Boyd. For example, she cites a 2009 New York Times article that was entitled “Do You Know Anyone Still on MySpace?” despite the fact that at the time Facebook and MySpace has roughly equal numbers of users.
“The New York Times staff was on Facebook and assumed their readers were too,” concludes Boyd.
Intriguingly, the comments under that news item support Boyd’s thesis:
“My impression is that Myspace is for the riffraff and Facebook is for the landed gentry.”
“Compared to Facebook, MySpace just seems like the other side of the tracks – I’ll go there for fun, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”
Boyd’s conclusion is that online environments are merely “a reflection of everyday life,” and that online communities are immune to the techno-optimist belief that the internet eliminates the deep divisions between people in real life. As Boyd notes in her own responses to earlier critiques of her work, this is either a controversial or an obvious thesis – what do you think?
The city of Edinburgh is an ongoing inspiration for its creative community, and we invited several of them to tell us a bit about the places and spaces that resonate strongly with them.
By walking in their footsteps, these Walk With Me micro-trails let you discover a small part of literary Edinburgh through the eyes of one of its writers, poets, songwriters, comedians, photographers, and more, taking you on a journey around their personal literary Edinburgh.
It’s easy to see how social media shapes our interactions on the internet, through web browsers, feeds, and apps. Yet technology is also shaping the physical world, influencing the places we go and how we behave in areas of our lives that didn’t heretofore seem so digital. Think of the traffic app Waze rerouting cars in Los Angeles and disrupting otherwise quiet neighborhoods; Airbnb parachuting groups of international tourists into residential communities; Instagram spreading IRL lifestyle memes; or Foursquare sending traveling businessmen to the same cafe over and over again.
We could call this strange geography created by technology “AirSpace.” It’s the realm of coffee shops, bars, startup offices, and co-live / work spaces that share the same hallmarks everywhere you go: a profusion of symbols of comfort and quality, at least to a certain connoisseurial mindset. Minimalist furniture. Craft beer and avocado toast. Reclaimed wood. Industrial lighting. Cortados. Fast internet. The homogeneity of these spaces means that traveling between them is frictionless, a value that Silicon Valley prizes and cultural influencers like Schwarzmann take advantage of. Changing places can be as painless as reloading a website. You might not even realize you’re not where you started.
It’s possible to travel all around the world and never leave AirSpace, and some people don’t. Well-off travelers like Kevin Lynch, an ad executive who lived in Hong Kong Airbnbs for three years, are abandoning permanent houses for digital nomadism. Itinerant entrepreneurs, floating on venture capital, might head to a Bali accelerator for six months as easily as going to the grocery store. AirSpace is their home.
Wagner James Au was great to have on the show but a nightmare to cut since so much of the interview was fascinating.
Thankfully, his blog covers everything we couldn’t possibly fit into a 30 minute podcast so go check it out, as well as continuing his second life journalism he’s got really cool stuff on VR communities and the beauty of digital art 🙂