On occasion of Twitter’s birthday …
In this lecture, brilliantly animated by the RSA, Belarusian cyber-activist Evgeny Morozov suggests that when it comes to the transformative role of the Internet, the most interesting distinction is between those socially active users he calls digital renegades and the more placid cyber-citizen majority — the digital captives.
And the former, he suggests, have always received a disproportionate amount of attention at the hands of those Internet evangelists who ascribe extraordinary powers to technology — the first to give Facebook or Twitter undue prominence when evaluating the development of political protest movements. As important, if not more telling, argues Morozov, is the role of those whose online activity does not result in any increase in social engagement or political action, which are likely to constitute the significant majority. And how the state can learn to use this group’s natural conformity.
It got me thinking about how a distinction between passive and renegade users might apply to consumer behaviour. How might a commercial corporation, managing and securing the reputation of its brands, increasingly mirror and learn from the work of the corporate states that Morozov describes? While many a corporation would gladly have us happily captive, I suspect we feel more empowered to behave as renegade consumers than rebel citizens. But I was sufficiently exercised by the notion that I had a go at my own version (right) of Morozov’s reinterpretation (left) of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (back).
* Twitter: A five-year old changing the world [ physorg.com ]