Talk about ‘Six Spaces of Social Media’ at Thinking Digital

ITConversations has posted the audio from a talk I gave at this year’s Thinking Digital conference in Gateshead earlier this year. The talk expands on the themes in my ‘Six Spaces of Social Media‘ post, and starts to open this up into an argument about how the public realm doesn’t exist as a single space anymore, and we need to rethink our political and social language about private and public space, particularly when we are designing policy or projects for these spaces.

I’ve given variants of this talk a few times this year, and feel that there’s something missing in the argument that I can’t quite put my finger on yet. I think the end of the 20th century concept of the public realm is something that we need to address more directly at the level of policy – at the moment, its mainly being discussed in terms of technology or secondary social effects. I’m more interested in interrogating how we use the word ‘public’ in political and social contexts, and suggesting that it no longer means what it did to many people who are the subjects of policy.

As we live in a world currently having to re-engineer its core economic and political philosophies after boundaries between ‘public’ and ‘private’ were catastrophically obscured, I think we need a more nuanced vocabulary to replace the traditional private/public binary opposition, as this has elided into series of nuanced, dynamic spaces along a line from personal to social. I’m not politically well-read enough to articulate this in terms of hard politics, but I’m trying to take the issues that broadcasters are facing in redefining ‘public value’ media in a digital world as an analogy for broader issues we will have around redefining the ‘public’

Also, listening to this again, the joke I make about being ‘unfortunately’ a Spurs fan has, sadly, only got funnier…

One comment


    Terrific thinking here. I think the point about helping public broadcasters get beyond their incumbent ‘ego’ is well put. As an advertiser, getting big monolithic brands to do the same is the order of the day.

    Couple of questions

    1 – what kind of space is Second Life ? It’s clearly a public sphere, but there is no organizing passion to rally around nor goal to achieve as such. Some are building private spaces with their own firewalls, others are using to explore identity or sociability, some to earn a living in Linden dollars that will pay the rent in the real world…

    Which leads to

    2 – Give the fluidity between public/private spaces, do the 6 spaces overlap, if so, have you thought about what the venn diagram would like like?

    Thanks for sharing via IT conversations.

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