Digital Solidarity

BibTex

BibTex

BibTex

@book{Stalder2013Digital,
annote = {Extracted Annotations {(Sat} Feb 1 15:30:16 {2014)"At} the core of the most advanced technological, scientific and cultural processes we can observe a growing tension between the social character of production and the private character of appropriation." {(Stalder} {:12)"On} the one hand, there are new institutional and cultural forms emerging to support such complex webs of interaction and production, often based on the notion of a shared resource, a commons, and focused on the particular requirements necessary to develop and protect that one resource. They offer a chance to remake society in a particular way, through reinventing social solidarity and democracy, be it in the digital networks of informational co-operation or in the common appropriation of physical spaces." {(Stalder} {:14)"On} the other hand, attempts to privatise information and knowledge have been radicalised to a point where they not only threaten to undermine their own productive basis (shared knowledge and culture, access to education, freedom of research), but are also coming into direct conflict with the core principles of liberal democracy itself, such as freedom of speech, transparency of legislation and due process, presumption of innocence, or protection of privacy." {(Stalder} {:14)"Contradictions} can be resolved, or tamed, in ways which can lead to an expansion of new freedoms, or to a hardening of existing exclusions." {(Stalder} {:15)"We} can see this in the ubiquitous rise of liquid surveillance techniques, which are equally suited to produce {\textquoteleft}care{\textquoteright} (in the form of personalised services) and seduction as much as control and repression." {(Stalder} :15)"{\textquoteleft}the protocols of communication are not based on the sharing of culture but on the culture of sharing.{\textquoteright}" {(Stalder} {:15)"The} personal experience of the knowledge economy or knowledge society is, to a large degree, the experience of not-knowing, of not being able to solve a problem oneself." {(Stalder} {:16)Compare} Koolhas generic architecture. (note on {p.17)Are} cities also becoming these mutable immobiles? What does that do with the traditional aesthetical and empirical evaluations of cities? (note on {p.17)"Data-centres} {\textendash} giant warehouses full of servers that provide much of the computing power for the public internet and for private corporate networks {\textendash} being the most pronounced example. While they are, indeed, heavy built environments with very long term trajectories {\textendash} located following the classic industrial logic of cheap energy and good (data) transportation links {\textendash} nevertheless, they can support any process that can be embedded in software." {(Stalder} {:17)"Data} centres consist mostly of highly standardised, commodity infrastructure, running globally interoperable protocols. Yet, on top of these, highly specific, proprietary services can be built. They are part of new globally distributed, standardised infrastructures, which also include supersized airports and shipping ports that produce flexibility, even if they themselves are not particularly flexible." {(Stalder} {:17)But} enough eyeballs is always $\infty$-n (note on {p.18)The} question is if we are always adding new ways of collectively solving complexity to a fixed amount of maximum complexity or is we are constantly adding complexity (including by coming up with collective ways of solving it) at a higher rate than it is being solved. In other words, are complexity-solving practices {\textemdash} which is always solving local complexity {\textemdash} adding or subtracting complexity from an imagined totality of complexity in the world or in society. Or, to pose the question in another way, is there a quantifiable totality of complexity or is this always the quantification of complexity within some already known local horizon. If the local horizon shifts {\textemdash} which it always does and especially by solving complexities {\textemdash} will the local solutions to complexity turn out to increase complexity on some higher systemic level? Would a complexity scientist then react to a statement such that {\textquotedblleft}infomratino technology and scientific advancements are great because they help us solve more complex problems{\textquotedblright} by says {\textquotedblleft}that is true, however you are at the same time creating more complexity on a higher systemic level{\textquotedblright}. If we see a relative calmness now regarding the use of information technology (although on a much larger scale than before) this is only because there is a strong normative external force making sure only some of the potentialities of the technology is realized. This can easily change. (note on p.18)"{\textquoteleft}given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow{\textquoteright}" {(Stalder} {:18)"In} relation to the ever expanding issues we are facing, one might say that each of us is becoming less intelligent individually, because individually we can understand their complexity less and less. Yet we are becoming more intelligent collectively because we are developing ways to connect partial understandings productively on a new scale." {(Stalder} {:18)"The} social, communicative, complex and networked dimensions of the production process are mutually reinforcing, thus creating dynamics that are so strong that they can break down existing organisational boundaries and expand into the social." {(Stalder} {:18)"Thus}, production expands from the economy in the traditional sense to society at large. A new kind of public sphere {\textendash} the sphere of social production {\textendash} is emerging, even as the old public sphere {\textendash} the sphere of democratic debate {\textendash} is eroding." {(Stalder} {:19)"Production}, rather than being purely commercial (or public) is becoming social as well. That is, it comprises very heterogeneous actors, each pursuing their own goals, according to their own agenda and interests, but through a shared resource to which they contribute and from which they can take." {(Stalder} :19)"aspects of production take place outside the market in a co-operative manner, even if some outputs from this production can be re-translated back into the market and into relationships of competition." {(Stalder} {:19)Compare} with Latours argument about plug-ins. Something more connected in stronger actor-networks acquires a stronger individuality. Individuality is not a process of disconnection but of assembling. This also, as I{\textquoteright}ve seen, applies to thesis-writing. (note on p.20)"processes of individuation and of disconnection are being articulated in relation to this primary experience. This sharply differs from the previously dominant (liberal, bourgeois) conception of subjectivity that begins and ends in the private sphere." {(Stalder} :20)"the foundation of individuality is shifting from the private realm to the network." {(Stalder} {:20)"While} the emphasis on individuality does not change, the very character of individuality is changing as is, inevitably, its relation to the state." {(Stalder} {:20)"In} practice, this atomistic and radically individualistic notion has been tempered by two opposing political projects. The conservative view saw traditional collectivities and their particular social structures as the primary locus of the social, and was thus opposed to the corrosive effect of liberal individualism. The socialist view focused on the new forms of collectivity which were to be created in order to overcome historic divisions and structures." {(Stalder} {:21)"This} absorption of neoliberalism by the centreleft was possible because it was animated by some of the core values of the social movements of the 1960s: flexibility, creativity and expressiveness." {(Stalder} {:22)"While} the neoliberal vision is still politically operative, it{\textquoteright}s no longer a promise (that animated the {Blair/Clinton} project), but a dogma and coercive force." {(Stalder} {:22)"This}, however, has not affected the appeal of flexibility and individuality as social values. Rather, they are being freed from their neoliberal framing, developed further and connected to new political projects. Thus, they are in the process of finding new expression in forms of sociability that emerge on a mass scale, pioneered by internet-mediated communities." {(Stalder} {:22)"In} order to create sociability in networked, communicative environments people first have to make themselves visible, that is, they have to create their (re)presentation through expressive acts of communication." {(Stalder} {:23)"In} order to connect to such networks, a person also has to be suitably different, that is creative in some recognisable fashion, and abide by the social conventions that hold a particular network together." {(Stalder} {:23)"Thus}, there is a particular type of individuality emerging. One must combine the expression of differences and the acceptance of certain types of conformity." {(Stalder} {:23)"In} a context where information can be easily copied, networks gain value by connecting differences to one another, thus realising the promise that resources one does not possess can be found within the network. But these differences need to be of a certain kind; they need to respect, even actively reproduce the protocols, both technical and cultural, that make the connecting and exchanging of flows possible in the first place." {(Stalder} {:23)"There} are both negative and positive drivers to making oneself visible in such a way: there is, on the one hand, the threat of being invisible, ignored and bypassed and the promise of creating a social network that really expresses one{\textquoteright}s own individuality, on the other." {(Stalder} {:24)"Traditionally}, establishing trust between strangers has been viewed as impossible, since they cannot rely on past behaviour or the prospect of future interactions. Under these conditions, game theory predicted non-cooperation.28 In digital networks this problem has been solved in practice because of the easy availability of some kind of track record of interests and projects that each person creates by publishing (voluntarily and as an individual) information about him/herself; what he or she is interested in, passionate about, and investing time in. In other words, being expressive (about anything!) is the precondition of creating sociability over communication networks, which, in turn, comes to define people and their ability to create or participate in projects that reflect their personality." {(Stalder} {:25)"Since} establishing and maintaining rules is never a friction free process, Ostrom points to the need to monitor compliance from within the commons and establish a system of graduated sanction, so that small violations can be sanctioned lightly, whereas substantial violations can trigger substantial consequences that can go as far as the expulsion of a person from the commons." {(Stalder} {:34)"Many} of the problems within Wikipedia, for example, can be related to the fact that there is no functional way to resolve conflicts. They are often simply resolved by the fact that one party is more enduring than the other, or through decisions, such as banning certain contributors, that can appear extremely arbitrary." {(Stalder} {:34)"Ostrom} highlights that commons are untouched by markets or states, but remain a means to engage and confront them and to force them to operate, or at least regulate, differently." {(Stalder} :35)"today since we are confronted with a neoliberal downsizing strategy that has opportunistically seized upon the concept of the communal self-reliance, named big society in the {UK} or resilient communities in the the {US}, it is important to add two more {\textquoteleft}design principles{\textquoteright}: adequacy of resources and a shared cultural horizon. The first means that within the community the material resources to organise a commons should be available. It is cynical to demand self-organisation from communities where the preconditions to do so are not available. So, in cases where the resources are not adequate to begin the process of commoning, one needs to ask how state and markets need to be transformed in order for resources to become adequately available to the commons. This, again, points to the need to engage with the state more explicitly." {(Stalder} :36)"as soon as rules are seen as being imposed by a majority vote rather than being generally agreed upon, the costs of monitoring and enforcement are much higher. The group has lost quasi-voluntary compliance and must invest more heavily in enforcement to gain compliance." {(Stalder} :40)"the rejection of voting in online communities is not related to the increased cost of monitoring compliance, but to the danger of the defection of contributors. Thus, there is a strong incentive for all participants to reach some form of consensus that ensures that the maximum number of contributors remain in the project." {(Stalder} {:41)"Clay} Shirky identified three main requirements that must come together for such loosely organised cooperation to emerge: promise, tool, and bargain.55 The promise is the call for action. It need not only to be relevant to a critical number of people but also credibly attainable. The tools are the resources and strategies available to work towards the promise. Today, tools to co-ordinate the efforts of volunteers are readily available online and different tools, such as online forums, wikis or chats, are capable of sustaining different social dynamics on all scales. The {\textquoteleft}bargain{\textquoteright} points to conditions one has to accept when entering the collective space of action. Only when the three dimensions match for a large number of people {\textendash} the promise being attractive, the tools available, and the bargain not too onerous {\textendash} does co-operation get underway." {(Stalder} {:43)"Due} to their immense popularity, weak networks are setting a new baseline of what (inter)personal communication means today and they shape the new {\textquoteleft}common sense{\textquoteright} about social interaction. They are the new normal." {(Stalder} {:44)"Managing} very extensive networks used to be a privilege of the elites who commanded a very expensive infrastructure for this purpose which included international meetings, conferences, clubs and support staff." {(Stalder} {:47)"In} most weak networks, on the contrary, the tension arises from the deliberate congruence between two architectural designs (horizontal for the users, vertical for the owners of the infrastructure) and two value orientations (social value for users, commercial value the owners)." {(Stalder} {:49)"This} multiplicity on an individual level leads to a greater capacity for diversity on the macro-level of the collective or social movement. The new social forms are not expressions of unified life projects, rather they are ways to act in the world with varying horizons. And thus, what they require are not comprehensive ideologies and commitments, but pragmatic experimentation with finding and developing ways to act within situations and advance the desires animating each of them." {(Stalder} {:54)"Singularity} is a precondition of becoming visible in networks and being part of a larger network is a precondition of developing particular aspects of one{\textquoteright}s person. Insisting on privacy, in this context, is unsuccessful as a strategy to protect the core of individuality and carries the danger of making a person invisible, thus leading to self-selection and selfexclusion." {(Stalder} {:57)"So} is this all wishful just thinking? The result of particular filter bubble that makes it hard to keep all the things that are suddenly visible in proportion to all the things that have been rendered invisible?" {(Stalder} {:58)"As} Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri remind us, that there are many {\textquoteleft}corrupt forms of the commons through which a desire for solidarity is channeled into practices of exclusion, expression and exploitation.{\textquoteright}" {(Stalder} {:59)"David} Lyon and Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Surveillance: A Conversation, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013." {(Stalder} {:63)"Manuel} Castells, Communication Power, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009," {(Stalder} :63)},
author = {Stalder, Felix},
date-modified = {2014-02-03 11:08:45 +0000},
keywords = {information, ontology},
publisher = {Mute Publishing},
title = {Digital Solidarity},
volume = {6},
year = {2013},
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Key Ideas.

This book describes four new modes of 'digital solidarity – Commons, Assemblies, Swarms, and Weak Networks – and outlines how subjectivity and collective action is transformed in them.

These four modes are both undermining the dominant (increasingly privatized) mode of production but also challenge the fundaments of liberal democracy, such as”freedom of speech, transparency of legislation and due process, presumption of innocence, or protection of privacy”. p. 14

Highlights (13%)

At the core of the most advanced technological, scientific and cultural processes we can observe a growing tension between the social character of production and the private character of appropriation. p. 12

On the one hand, there are new institutional and cultural forms emerging to support such complex webs of interaction and production, often based on the notion of a shared resource, a commons, and focused on the particular requirements necessary to develop and protect that one resource. They offer a chance to remake society in a particular way, through reinventing social solidarity and democracy, be it in the digital networks of informational co-operation or in the common appropriation of physical spaces. p. 14

On the other hand, attempts to privatise information and knowledge have been radicalised to a point where they not only threaten to undermine their own productive basis (shared knowledge and culture, access to education, freedom of research), but are also coming into direct conflict with the core principles of liberal democracy itself, such as freedom of speech, transparency of legislation and due process, presumption of innocence, or protection of privacy. p. 14

Contradictions can be resolved, or tamed, in ways which can lead to an expansion of new freedoms, or to a hardening of existing exclusions. p. 15

We can see this in the ubiquitous rise of liquid surveillance techniques, which are equally suited to produce ‘care’ (in the form of personalised services) and seduction as much as control and repression. p. 15

‘the protocols of communication are not based on the sharing of culture but on the culture of sharing.’ p. 15

The personal experience of the knowledge economy or knowledge society is, to a large degree, the experience of not-knowing, of not being able to solve a problem oneself. p. 16

Data-centres – giant warehouses full of servers that provide much of the computing power for the public internet and for private corporate networks – being the most pronounced example. While they are, indeed, heavy built environments with very long term trajectories – located following the classic industrial logic of cheap energy and good (data) transportation links – nevertheless, they can support any process that can be embedded in software. p. 17

Compare Koolhas generic architecture. p. 17

Data centres consist mostly of highly standardised, commodity infrastructure, running globally interoperable protocols. Yet, on top of these, highly specific, proprietary services can be built. They are part of new globally distributed, standardised infrastructures, which also include supersized airports and shipping ports that produce flexibility, even if they themselves are not particularly flexible. p. 17

Are cities also becoming these mutable immobiles? What does that do with the traditional aesthetical and empirical evaluations of cities? p. 17

‘given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow’, p. 18

But enough eyeballs is always ∞-n p. 18

In relation to the ever expanding issues we are facing, one might say that each of us is becoming less intelligent individually, because individually we can understand their complexity less and less. Yet we are becoming more intelligent collectively because we are developing ways to connect partial understandings productively on a new scale. p. 18

The social, communicative, complex and networked dimensions of the production process are mutually reinforcing, thus creating dynamics that are so strong that they can break down existing organisational boundaries and expand into the social. p. 18

The question is if we are always adding new ways of collectively solving complexity to a fixed amount of maximum complexity or is we are constantly adding complexity (including by coming up with collective ways of solving it) at a higher rate than it is being solved. In other words, are complexity-solving practices — which is always solving local complexity — adding or subtracting complexity from an imagined totality of complexity in the world or in society. Or, to pose the question in another way, is there a quantifiable totality of complexity or is this always the quantification of complexity within some already known local horizon. If the local horizon shifts — which it always does and especially by solving complexities — will the local solutions to complexity turn out to increase complexity on some higher systemic level? Would a complexity scientist then react to a statement such that “infomratino technology and scientific advancements are great because they help us solve more complex problems” by says “that is true, however you are at the same time creating more complexity on a higher systemic level”. If we see a relative calmness now regarding the use of information technology (although on a much larger scale than before) this is only because there is a strong normative external force making sure only some of the potentialities of the technology is realized. This can easily change. p. 18

Thus, production expands from the economy in the traditional sense to society at large. A new kind of public sphere – the sphere of social production – is emerging, even as the old public sphere – the sphere of democratic debate – is eroding. p. 19

Production, rather than being purely commercial (or public) is becoming social as well. That is, it comprises very heterogeneous actors, each pursuing their own goals, according to their own agenda and interests, but through a shared resource to which they contribute and from which they can take. p. 19

aspects of production take place outside the market in a co-operative manner, even if some outputs from this production can be re-translated back into the market and into relationships of competition. p. 19

processes of individuation and of disconnection are being articulated in relation to this primary experience. This sharply differs from the previously dominant (liberal, bourgeois) conception of subjectivity that begins and ends in the private sphere. p. 20

the foundation of individuality is shifting from the private realm to the network. p. 20

While the emphasis on individuality does not change, the very character of individuality is changing as is, inevitably, its relation to the state. p. 20

Compare with Latours argument about plug-ins. Something more connected in stronger actor-networks acquires a stronger individuality. Individuality is not a process of disconnection but of p. 20

In practice, this atomistic and radically individualistic notion has been tempered by two opposing political projects. The conservative view saw traditional collectivities and their particular social structures as the primary locus of the social, and was thus opposed to the corrosive effect of liberal individualism. The socialist view focused on the new forms of collectivity which were to be created in order to overcome historic divisions and structures. p. 21

This absorption of neoliberalism by the centreleft was possible because it was animated by some of the core values of the social movements of the 1960s: flexibility, creativity and expressiveness. p. 22

While the neoliberal vision is still politically operative, it’s no longer a promise (that animated the Blair/Clinton project), but a dogma and coercive force. p. 22

This, however, has not affected the appeal of flexibility and individuality as social values. Rather, they are being freed from their neoliberal framing, developed further and connected to new political projects. Thus, they are in the process of finding new expression in forms of sociability that emerge on a mass scale, pioneered by internet-mediated communities. p. 22

In order to create sociability in networked, communicative environments people first have to make themselves visible, that is, they have to create their (re)presentation through expressive acts of communication. p. 23

In order to connect to such networks, a person also has to be suitably different, that is creative in some recognisable fashion, and abide by the social conventions that hold a particular network together. Thus, there is a particular type of individuality emerging. One must combine the expression of differences and the acceptance of certain types of conformity. p. 23

In a context where information can be easily copied, networks gain value by connecting differences to one another, thus realising the promise that resources one does not possess can be found within the network. But these differences need to be of a certain kind; they need to respect, even actively reproduce the protocols, both technical and cultural, that make the connecting and exchanging of flows possible in the first place. p. 23

There are both negative and positive drivers to making oneself visible in such a way: there is, on the one hand, the threat of being invisible, ignored and bypassed and the promise of creating a social network that really expresses one’s own individuality, on the other. p. 24

Traditionally, establishing trust between strangers has been viewed as impossible, since they cannot rely on past behaviour or the prospect of future interactions. Under these conditions, game theory predicted non-cooperation.28 In digital networks this problem has been solved in practice because of the easy availability of some kind of track record of interests and projects that each person creates by publishing (voluntarily and as an individual) information about him/herself; what he or she is interested in, passionate about, and investing time in. In other words, being expressive (about anything!) is the precondition of creating sociability over communication networks, which, in turn, comes to define people and their ability to create or participate in projects that reflect their personality. p. 25

Since establishing and maintaining rules is never a friction free process, Ostrom points to the need to monitor compliance from within the commons and establish a system of graduated sanction, so that small violations can be sanctioned lightly, whereas substantial violations can trigger substantial consequences that can go as far as the expulsion of a person from the commons. p. 34

Many of the problems within Wikipedia, for example, can be related to the fact that there is no functional way to resolve conflicts. They are often simply resolved by the fact that one party is more enduring than the other, or through decisions, such as banning certain contributors, that can appear extremely arbitrary. p. 34

Ostrom highlights that commons are untouched by markets or states, but remain a means to engage and confront them and to force them to operate, or at least regulate, differently. p. 35

today since we are confronted with a neoliberal downsizing strategy that has opportunistically seized upon the concept of the communal self-reliance, named big society in the UK or resilient communities in the the US, it is important to add two more ‘design principles’: adequacy of resources and a shared cultural horizon. The first means that within the community the material resources to organise a commons should be available. It is cynical to demand self-organisation from communities where the preconditions to do so are not available. So, in cases where the resources are not adequate to begin the process of commoning, one needs to ask how state and markets need to be transformed in order for resources to become adequately available to the commons. This, again, points to the need to engage with the state more explicitly. p. 36

as soon as rules are seen as being imposed by a majority vote rather than being generally agreed upon, the costs of monitoring and enforcement are much higher. The group has lost quasi-voluntary compliance and must invest more heavily in enforcement to gain compliance. p. 40

the rejection of voting in online communities is not related to the increased cost of monitoring compliance, but to the danger of the defection of contributors. Thus, there is a strong incentive for all participants to reach some form of consensus that ensures that the maximum number of contributors remain in the project. p. 41

Clay Shirky identified three main requirements that must come together for such loosely organised cooperation to emerge: promise, tool, and bargain.55 The promise is the call for action. It need not only to be relevant to a critical number of people but also credibly attainable. The tools are the resources and strategies available to work towards the promise. Today, tools to co-ordinate the efforts of volunteers are readily available online and different tools, such as online forums, wikis or chats, are capable of sustaining different social dynamics on all scales. The ‘bargain’ points to conditions one has to accept when entering the collective space of action. Only when the three dimensions match for a large number of people – the promise being attractive, the tools available, and the bargain not too onerous – does co-operation get underway. p. 43

Due to their immense popularity, weak networks are setting a new baseline of what (inter)personal communication means today and they shape the new ‘common sense’ about social interaction. They are the new normal. p. 44

Managing very extensive networks used to be a privilege of the elites who commanded a very expensive infrastructure for this purpose which included international meetings, conferences, clubs and support staff. p. 47

In most weak networks, on the contrary, the tension arises from the deliberate congruence between two architectural designs (horizontal for the users, vertical for the owners of the infrastructure) and two value orientations (social value for users, commercial value the owners). p. 49

This multiplicity on an individual level leads to a greater capacity for diversity on the macro-level of the collective or social movement. The new social forms are not expressions of unified life projects, rather they are ways to act in the world with varying horizons. And thus, what they require are not comprehensive ideologies and commitments, but pragmatic experimentation with finding and developing ways to act within situations and advance the desires animating each of them. p. 54

Singularity is a precondition of becoming visible in networks and being part of a larger network is a precondition of developing particular aspects of one’s person. Insisting on privacy, in this context, is unsuccessful as a strategy to protect the core of individuality and carries the danger of making a person invisible, thus leading to self-selection and selfexclusion. p. 57

So is this all wishful just thinking? The result of particular filter bubble that makes it hard to keep all the things that are suddenly visible in proportion to all the things that have been rendered invisible? p. 58

As Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri remind us, that there are many ‘corrupt forms of the commons through which a desire for solidarity is channeled into practices of exclusion, expression and exploitation.’ p. 59

David Lyon and Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Surveillance: A Conversation, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013 p. 63

Manuel Castells, Communication Power, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 63