Do you want to be in touch with the Reality?


"Succeed in journalism is based in having two studios. Succeed is based in a double life, living in a schizophrenia state. We can be news agency correspondents (…) who obey rules. But, we should keep a little place in our heart and in our mind for us, for our identity, for our personal ambitions" Ryszard Kapuściński


Publicado  domingo, 18 de abril de 2010

This late post about the subject is related with the Digital Divide because it is one of the most important topics I have learnt this year and, also, because it is one of the conclusions I acquire from this blogging experience.

The Digital Divide is defined by: The gap or imbalance in people’s access to digital information and technology including physical access, economic resources and skills. However, for me the Digital Divide is me spending two ours to change the background and my brother, a native user, spending fifteen minutes to change it.

We divided Internet surfers calling them “digital natives” or “digital immigrants” users. However, I feel that a new forgotten term should be created: “digital non nationality” users. This generation is located between the two kinds of users.

“Digital non nationality” users are kind of revolutionary users who do not want to subjugate to Internet rules. They have an anarchism way of working because they try to apply literally and without criterion the “offline” rules to the “online” rules. They only want to take the advantages that Internet apparently offers them; they do not tend to depth in other contents

These users tend to be people from seventeen to twenty three years old who grew up knowing the concept of computer but without interacting with it. These users grew up without a physical access to computer that deny them the possibility to develop operational or information skills which could lead to strategic skills nowadays.

These users tend to suffer lack of motivation because they are not able to manage the advantages of the World Wide Web. This digital divide of skills and usage access can create inequality.

This last kind of “digital non-nationality” users will acquire little by little, as they interact with the net, their own identity. As Charles Darwin said: “In the evolution the individuals who survive are the ones who better adapt to the environment, not the strongest or the most intelligent”

(image from "Comunidad Pensamiento Imaginativo", a blog)



The virtual world is quite similar to the world of face to face communication. In some way, all of us ask for our little place in the community; anthropology, as individuals, we need to feel part of a group to know who we are. Ortega y Gasset asserts: “Yo soy yo y mis circunstancias, y, si no se salvan ellas, no me salvo yo”. So as to survive, we need to interact with some “circumstances”: our family, our friends as well as people walking in the street. However, we also need to feel that we are an “I”, an individual subject who live in a neo-capitalism society with freedom traditional rights.

These “circumstances” are not equally important to us. We need the community but we prefer to have more feedback with some members than with others. Although we made a profile in a social network and we have 300 friends (for example), it is possible that we would prefer our profile to be less seen by some members. Despite being in a social online public place, we ask for privacy. As in real world we have some different “privacy levels”: there are feelings or situations that we only want to share with a selected group of people.

As it has happened in journalism, social relations in the web are not related any more with gatekeepers. In face to face communication the individual subjects are the ones who filter what they want to show; they control the information in a top-down communication model. However, nowadays, this structure is being mixed with a bottom-up communication model, where, because of internet identities, anyone could know who you are and have a certain idea of your personality, preferences and places you usually visit.

New social relations are being carried out in an equalitarian environment where all people are able to know, in the same conditions, everything you show in your profile or everything other person has seen in your profile. Individual information is not exclusive any more.

However, as I said in the previous post, a community is more than the sum of its parts, but, parts are also important. A community can not be understood without the individuals being aware of whom they are in a group. And this identity is directly related to the information that others know about us. In same way, we are what the others know or not know about our personality.

Identity can not be understand without the subject interacting in a group or without a consciousness of the information shared.

This funny video is about asking for privacy in a public place:

(The image is from "Oficina de seguridad del internauta", and the video cames from youtube)



Do you remember the Seseña’s case?

On 30th of March a thirteen years old girl called Cristina Martin de la Sierra Montilla disappeared. She was in a street market with his mother when she received a classmate’s phone call. Her mother allow her to met the girl if she came back home in an hour. Sadly, Cristina could not get back. Her corpse was found at 12.30 on 3rd of May in an abandon gypsum manufacture. The murder was the fourteen years old classmate she met.

I was in Seseña when this catastrophe happened. My house is around two minutes walking from where Christina’s family live. Lots of my friends, who live in the village, knew the girl and the murder.

When this happened, a huge activity circulates around a Spanish social network: tuenti. I received thousand of Cristina friends’ events about her case in three distinguished moments of the crime:

1. When she disappeared, lots of people create events with Christina’s photo asking people to pass it. They achieved that everyone, who does not know Cristina, has her image in their minds so as to locate her.

2. When the murder confessed the crime in the Friday questioning (Cristina had disappeared on Tuesday) her photo and her name was shown all over the social network. Lots of false profile started to create events with the photo of the still supposed fourteen years old murder with the word “murder” on the bottom of the image. They created an accusation state of opinion.

3. When Cristina’s corpse was found the previous events became “rest in peace” (D.E.P) ones, where people express their sadness for what had happened and their moral support to her family.

For a moment I felt like Howard Rheingold when he became aware of the strength of technology to create social movements. The social network flows allow people, like me, to know what was happening immediately.

The states of opinions create in the “offline” world lead to a social state of opinion in the real world. Where I was in Seseña in a popular bar I witness some serious discussions which traduce the pressure situations lived in the web. I heard people discussing about the legitimacy of sending the murder photo all over the web. Other people blame on foreign habitants because in the social network it was said that the murder was Cuban. In fact, because of the serious accidents that were happening, the mayor Manuel Fuentes said to the TV that he was worried of a possible “with hunt”.

However, the implications of the modern communication media were not just those. On 10th April, the “mob” organised a manifestation so as to ask for changes in the younger law. I received lots of events in tuenti or facebook but I also received thirteen text messages asking me for collaboration in the manifestation. This new technologies allow people to be connected and coordinated so as to create a big demonstration which leaded in a social change. The village answer to the crime has opened again the younger law debate.

I become aware that the union atmosphere around the hurt of the family, which was created in the social network, lead to an active response developed in blogs, other social networks and telephone mobiles. This also caused a demonstration which question, at a global level, the law of the younger. The crowd became a medium, a site for the generation of expectation and circulation of messages. The crowd, the social movement created, was a kind of communication power itself.

The crowd became a collective intelligence thanks of the flows created in Internet. As an organism the flows from law-level rules to higher level sophistication came out into a emerge intelligence. This collective intelligence, this “Social Mind”, is what characterised smart mobs, a new social form made possible by a combination of computation, communication, reputation, and location awareness, which made them more that the sum of their parts.

With this experience I realized that:
“A diversity of cooperation threshold among individuals can tip a crowd into a sudden epidemic cooperation”
(Howard Rheingold)

(Cristina's photo was provided by her father to the media, I took it from; the demonstration photo was provided by a Seseá's neighbourd)