The rise of the networked society

In a world where the rivers of information flow stronger and wider than ever and the level of remote connectedness between individuals (the like of a virtual friend never met, but present in our digital social circles) is higher than ever almost making it the new normal of human relationships, the boundaries of government, control of information, and human activism are harder to draw than ever before. Government of a geography and similar culture, expanded to a modern political estate by the needs of commerce and its economies of scale, is becoming less and less relevant to the digital citizen; where their causes, interests, and micro groups of similarly minded people is all they need — granted by access to the internet.

The mini groups of people not bounded by a geography and sharing similar values and interests is the silent revolution in the world. These groups had become the most influential aspect in people lives, in a world where mainstream religion, political parties, unions and big group associations are being eroded in their membership by the impossibility of keeping them bound to a single set of ideas. For the new generations, there is just too much information, just to be bound a single set of ideas.

On the other hand, this new world of mass attention deficit disorder (there are just too many things to focus on) is not more compassionate, or more caring of causes of local nature. Interests are so fragmented, that even big events that could have been the talk of a generation, nowadays, might be just an hour of news coverage in any regular day, and tomorrow completely forgotten. We have become more insensitive to horrendous acts of evil, wars, and crimes against humanity from senseless dictators, natural disasters, and at the simplest of level the struggle to pay the bills of the neighbour next door —which by the way we might not even know.

This lack of apparent attention goes hand in hand by periods of supreme attention into a single thing. Where the world can get fixated on an issue and become hungry insatiable of any amount of details about it for longer than ever before. If you just happen to know how to ride to relevance in the networks of information distribution — no longer controlled by media moguls — there is a fair chance your issue will be discussed, debated and even might be brought to attention to the most powerful politician. Just from a single social network campaign. The new activist is a digital marketing guru, corralling attention to where he wants it to be, disregarding the cost to other causes or just the lost time in what some people called rightly “the antisocial networks — rightly because they have little of human social touch as understood by previous generations.

State laws and its enforcement agencies cannot ignore the consequences of attention fragmentation, in groups and interests. The estate was born to represent the people in the best way possible, and give way to a better system when the people required of such. The current situation is more like the estate wants to preserve itself over the interests of the people that are supposed to be protected by it. Like an artefact once made to help its creator that turn against it driven by an obsolescence threat. Repression in the physical form (Venezuelan, Ukrainian, Middle East uprisings), or repression derived from the digital form (NSA vs Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Wikileaks), are going to be met by a public opinion not questioning the individuals involved in the actions, but of a estate that has something to hide while threatening any last remaining sense of freedom.

Even the definition of estate secret and its appropriateness for digital citizens is questionable, on the grounds that we probably already connect to more people around the world than ever before, and the need for a supra-entity, “the estate”, to protect us from the unknown ways of foreign people, looks as dated as wild western movies. These days the movies we like are about the only thing that unites everybody: respect to our diversity. Of thinking, of action, of association, where the micro group is strong and the bonding does not look at frontiers.

The structural changes that need to happen in politics, commerce, and families will be less dramatic that what had been in the past.

The revolution is not coming, is already here.

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