The Fun Features of an Atomised Society (long read)

Atomised society 1

Atomised society 2

Atomised society 3

Atomised society 4


  1. I think you're being too mindful of appearing negative, to really explore the themes that you've written about - all of which are excellent observations and ideas about the impact of social networking.

    I think you should have gone 'to hell with the negativity', and explored many of these themes a lot deeper. I think you'll find there's positives to be gained in just doing so.

    Your observation of these things trying to attract millions of eyeballs, in a see of others trying to drag you attention is mostly correct, but you've also discussed how people are able to seek out micro-communities at a distance of other people with similar ideas. In fact, I think in a way social networking has allowed micro communities to form, who then communicate and trade ideas under the radar of public discourse which would have never happened if it wasn't for the community development of social networking.

    I see social networking as the tip of the internet iceberg. It is what we see, and what we've been allowed to see that is only a minor part of who we are - but it is enough to understand that there's more beneath the surface.

    Anyway, Just some thoughts.

  2. I agree with Scott.

    The first step is acknowledging and removing the denial surrounding a problem. Followed I suppose by a serious discussion into why it is so. It is very easy to say that social media is destroying cultural values etc. But why en masse are we allowing this to happen? We, collectively, are in a privileged position and allow apathy to erode awareness. Because if the consequence is a step or two removed or if it isn't instantaneous in its effect, or there is no perceived negative to the action, there is little need to change. This applies to most things.

    I dispute your claim re: selfishness and self-indulgence. Creativity, research, technological advances can thrive when the motive is purely selfish. As they can under selfless motivations. The question therefore is why we would prefer to be a predominately selfish person rather than one who is more selfless would be the question to ask. Could be Darwinian if it isn't a cop out to blanket a biological rationale over the issue.

    A little too negative for my liking, but I guess that was the point, and as I mentioned, I'm (like many) from an entitled 'majority' and I feel disinclined to complain about peak hour traffic and Facebook notifications, no matter how banal, because as you said, there are people in situations much worse; Manus or Kiev or Bangkok. Very interesting read nonetheless and was it cynicism that drove the need to 'warn' the reader that they may be in for the long haul with your title?

  3. thanks for the insightful comments all. Agree on point of selfish/selfless, and also about going eviscerating deeper. And that I'm a hyper-priveledged western male with clearly too much worry about this.

    I notice ths is the third whinge on what's wrong/bad lately. And probably need to clarify these come reactively so they don't interfere with some other work I'm doing.

    But damn it, there's so much wrong with connection & crisis in AU today - the insanities and doublespeak and patent cruelty of our gov't on refugees etc etc, and all the hypocrisies they imply, that I can't help pegging them to a bigger picture which is both connected to and mingled and implicit in its media culture, hence social media, hence rambles on selfish complacency.

    But I am convinced that small acts/habits of selfishness (and narcissism) collaborate into a larger, socio-cultural selfishness, like a spreading gestalt. Which then has its political openings etc.

    The problem is, saying that and speculating that is fine, but to try and prove it is to untangle things that also have positives, benefits etc. It's the damnest rich tapestry.

    And also that smarmy disineguous culture of online chatter and comment, gee I hate that.

    Anyhoo, onward and forward witht he suspicions, and the larger work.



Nice comments are welcome!