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Neural 39 > p.3 > hacktivism
Zizi Papacharissi A Networked Self, Routledge
Joss Hands @ Is For Activism, Pluto Press
Boskoi, wilderness addiction
Boskoi is an application for Android mobiles that allows people to create a checklist of geo-localized spontaneous food in urban areas. Created by Joey van der Bie, Maarten van der Mark and Vincent Vijn the application has been recently tried in Amsterdam where people have recorded and shared online all edible herbs, fruits, seeds, tubers, mushrooms, birds and other entities found by chance in the hidden corners of the city. To join the community Boskoi, a Greek word that means "grazer" or "pastors", it is necessary to follow a kind of ethical standard for the perfect "grazer." First you have to make sure that the fruitful area found is not privately owned and that it can be used sustainably. This sort of collaborative herbarium brings out a need that goes beyond the basic human need to eat. People in the cities are missing the spontaneity and freshness of the wilderness. With Boskoi, people can fearlessly look for it armed with a smartphone, like old dowsers with their magical forked wand in search of water and precious metals. > Chiara Ciociola
Although hundreds of millions of people use social media platforms almost instinctively, the value, the meaning and the scale of what they are doing there is often missed, or, at best, only guessed at. In the context of a sort of global social experiment (which can't be disconnected from the rise of related industries), personal dynamics have to deal with a completely different dimension that does not fall neatly into the "public" or "private" categories, but one that takes place in a new hybrid place involving the self and its definition at large. This book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of social networks. It's the outcome of a one-day conference and the author’s analyses are usually critical and scientific data-driven, offering accurate perspectives. The keynote by A. Barabasi focuses on "freescale networks" (which have the basic property of potentially being reduced by up to 98 per cent without adversely affecting functionality) gives a proper frame to the rest of the book. Here there are critical analysis of virtual economies of social interactions, which start from the general frame of "self presentation and social connection" before addressing compelling concepts like "peer influence", "invisible audience", "collective narcissism" and "social capital." Understanding how the online self forms, is shared, exploited and promoted is necessary for our future relationships. Social network arenas are still to be properly unraveled, but this book seems a good start, especially for the many skeptical academics
After all the myths about the magical use of digital networks for political reasons, including the north African uprisings, and the consequent hype, it's healthy to read a book focusing on giving context and perspective to practices. Hands feels it a necessity to question what Slavoj Zizek calls "interpassivity", or the illusion of doing something (like the popular act of signing online petitions) which don't really affect the problem, and gives the agent the reassuring feeling of a better conscience without taking any risk, technically defined by Malcolm Gladwell as "clicktivism." These actions have in some cases, however, lead to successful collective strategies. Taking as a compass the three directions of activism, clearly explained (dissent, resistance and rebellion) the author is not only reexamining famous cases like the Iran rebellion or the Obama campaign’s use of social networks, but also comparing Current TV vs. Free Speech TV business models, explaining the definition of the network as a moral machine and analyzing internet protocols. He's well aware, for example, that Twitter is not, as mainstream media depicted it, the magic bullet for revolutions. But he also points out that the ubiquitousness of global capital make it very vulnerable to mobilization organized via social networks. And furthermore his vision is to push on openness (undermining surveillance), possibly making networked spaces into zones of contestations, supporting a real chance of meaningful change.