Virtually underground

The internet is underground infrastructure for a world of thematic districts. But where there is a lot more than just busking and movement downstairs – there’s a physically safe but anonymous-to-higher-ground space where people can interact.

So people make their map, chose a colour with which to join the station dots they are interested in and move between stations to reach different thematic districts, moving to the next floor if you wish to meet in person – upstairs also has a transport system of a bus network to move between districts above land. Justin Bieber would be an interesting hybrid of station and district as well as mover between others…

… No, no, it’s more than that and different in its lack of difference to upstairs.

If people are co-locating according to theme and can reach their district via different transport methods, surely the theme is ground 0 and transport method is irrelevant, it is still the same theme and thus community. You don’t have to know everyone in the community to feel a part of it. The district is a spectrum of engagement around the common topic, whereby communication from one member may reach an unknown member due to connections between them of others in the district, e.g. a super cute Justin Bieber fan-made video of his latest song, uploaded to YouTube, shared on social media platforms, and seen by loads of others in the spectrum, but which could also be spoken about at a sleepover which initiates the development of a response video!

So if this is the case, and themes bring people together, maybe themes or communities sit above the communication infrastructure. Maybe communities are like switchboards:

But this flips everything on its head – usually it is the individual who is seen to be making the connections, not the theme or community itself.

It is a natural human instinct to anthropomorphise the non-living and be anthropomorphic of the non-living’s capabilities based on this property.

But maybe we need to revise our view of the world – there are other species and other elements more than just humanity. Without water we are nothing, but we view water in relation to us. We are but a very small element in a vast ecosystem – perhaps if we realised that and vocalised it more explicitly, the fear of the ‘virtual’ would be forgotten.


One Response to “Virtually underground”

  1. sbayne March 16, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    “Without water we are nothing, but we view water in relation to us.” I think this is a really important point – we see ‘water’ or ‘animals’ or ‘nature’ as something also separate from us, something over which we dominate or (at least partially) control from a position of externality. That’s one of the most profound messages I take from the literature which critiques ‘anthropocentrism’ – this idea that we are not beyond water/animal/machine etc so much as we are *of* water/animal/machine etc….

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