Data is generated everywhere we go nowadays. From what temperature it is outside, to the friends we meet to what kind of stuff we buy with our credit cards. Our behaviours and environments are increasingly mapped more and more and then stored away often somewhere where few have access.
In some sense data is amongst the most valuable things in todays society. It’s like the ore of yesterday, you have to mine it from somewhere. After the data has been mined you have to extract it and make into more useful information. Then after the information has been combined and recombined you get precious knowledge.
I would argue that there is essentially two forms of data. The first form is generated from the natural processes that occur around us. Most people would consider this normal. It is something that we have done for ages, to measure and refine our methods.
The other form of data is of social nature and generated from the various social interactions that happen everyday. One of the reactions to personal or rather social data is that it intrudes on people’s privacy. Another argument is that the data you generate should in fact be for you to decide what to do with, similar to the rights you have with a written text of yours. There is even a draft of a social network users’ bill of rights that goes more in depth and proposes fundamental rights for how data and similar issues should be handled.
At the core is of course that you should be able to decide over your own data. There are two aspects that I particularly want to highlight. First the value of data more often than not lies within the social connection. Therefore the other party should have an equal right in the decision of how the data is handled.
Secondly, is the that the decision-making process in how data should be handled is crucial. The current standard procedure when joining any social network or site that handles any type of data is that you get Terms Of Service at least 10 pages long. Most people don’t speak legalize and would not even bother reading it. The solution here, I believe, is having visual symbols communicating to what extent you would like to share your data footprint with the world.
I envision something similar to the Creative Commons approach with their visual symbols communicating what you may and may not do with the content. The person that generates the data can then in a clear and concise way give permission to how it is being used and to what purpose.
To some extent I still believe that even personal data should be encouraged to be shared. But not on any premise. The data that facebook is harvesting for instance is only used for their own gain, solely used to market things back to the users. Since there has been a lot of people participating and contributing to the data it kind of seems natural that this data should benefit everyone and not just a select few. This should of course be a choice as well. Much like you can choose to use the non-profit badge in Creative Commons I think there should be choice to leverage your data to be used for more than profit purposes. So in a sense a kind of information common would be created specifically helping social good.
This could potentially be one of the things that could set the norm as well as giving companies focused on bettering society in different ways a competitive advantage over companies focused solely on profit. The only thing that needs to be done is creating the architecture for it.
As I mentioned in a former post there seems to be a downwards trend of capitalism. At least in how the word is used nowadays. But looking at current events, such as the rise of social entrepreneurs, open source and environmentalism capitalism seems to be changing. On facebook a person made a comment about the last article saying that “maybe capitalism is declining but Capital is still running the world”.
Maybe, just maybe, there is even a decline of Capital. The yellow line above shows that the use of the word Capital has been declining since the 90’s. This does not really mean that the actual use of Capital has been declining. But it _do_ show that Capital as a concept is declining.
I also find the rise of human capital, the red line, in the 60’s interesting. It was during that time human resources was coined as well. The emergence of HR and human capital conceptualizes the human being as an important part in making companies and societies more efficient and productive. The bottomline was of course to increase the return on investment.
But then came the rise of social capital, the blue line, in the 90’s which is in a sense human capital in aggregate form which shows all the trust generated between the persons. The emergence of social capital puts the focus on the value these connections bring. The difference between human capital and social capital is that human capital is much easier to retain and confine geographically. After all as long as you nurture your employees or fellow human beings they will provide value back to you, thus retaining and growing human capital.
Social capital on the other hand becomes more valuable the more connections there are. Connections from the inside-out in a company could therefore be as valuable as connections within a company.
A real world example of this is the eco-system of different third-party apps that formed around the twitter platforms. These connections made the twitter platform as well as the third-party applications much more valuable than themselves alone.
But to come back to the start of of this post. Is there a decline in the use of Capital? I would at least say there is a shift of perception towards other types of value other than monetary value. These kind of value depend more on what social capital brings.
I’m there there are many things that I’m missing here, so do fill in the comment field.
Today’s most popular and used social networks are by far Facebook and Twitter. These two social networks are quite different nature. Both in terms of the connections as well as in their architecture.
When it comes to connections these two platforms offer it can be divided as in the picture above, between an interest graph and a social graph. On Facebook you probably know all the people already. You care about what they think and how they feel. All the “friends“ you make on Facebook are mutually reciprocated. In other words there is a social bond between you and that other person. However weak or strong that may be.
Twitter on the other hand is formed around the interest graph. You start to follow people because you think they say interesting things or are interesting in other ways. You don’t necessarily care how they are doing on a personal level but take great interest in what they know on a professional level which also mean they might not follow back because you aren’t interesting to them. In other words there isn’t necessarily a social bond between people on Twitter.
One of the most common misconceptions around twitter have been the question of why would like to read about a bunch of people posting what they ate for breakfast. This is essentially applying the logic of the social graph on a platform that mostly centers around the interest graph.
For instance if a close friend or family would write that they are going to the hospital it would be of great interest to you. But if that same status update came from a person you knew next to nothing about you probably would not bother.
That is not to say that you could try creating your interest graph on Facebook and have your social graph on Twitter. But because of the difference in architecture in both of these platforms there it is easier to form your interest graph on twitter whereas on Facebook it’s easier to form your social graph.
In the end it comes down to how the relationships are formed. On Facebook every relationship has to be reciprocated which means you will more likely only reciprocate people you know in one way or the other. It’s like inviting the friends you care about to your living room for a cup of tea.
On Twitter the dynamic is slightly different. Anyone might start following you and anyone might start a conversation with you. So Twitter in that sense is more like going to a party and striking up conversations with those interesting and thoughtful people out there. Because of twitter’s open nature in this respect the status updates tend to spread far faster and wider on twitter than on Facebook. The open nature also allows newspapers and other media to pick up the trends and talk about it. Something that would never happens to updates on Facebook.
Another crucial architectural difference between Facebook and Twitter. The degree of transcience in the messages sent. On facebook a popular message will always stick around for a fair bit longer than twitter messages. Partly because of their default setting, top news, which shows the most liked or commented objects. But also partly because of the notification system that is clearly visible at the top. This makes facebook status updates in a sense more valuable from a marketing perspective. But it also allows people to a have a discussion that is coherent and easy to follow on Facebook whereas that is more difficult on twitter.
So both have networks has its merits and demerits. I myself prefer the open nature of twitter and how it is centered around the interest graph. But I certainly miss a feature to have better and more engaging discussions which I would say is facebook’s hallmark.
This very image shows the decline of capitalism (the red line), or at least it shows a quite dramatic decline in the usage of the word capitalism. There is no doubt that the world around us is changing. Faster and faster for every day that passes. There is no doubt that capitalism is changing as well.
There is more and more talk about social entrepreneurs, taking responsibility, the importance of social capital and making sure that the environment stays as well as gets healthier. As our economic system is changing, it is inevitable that there will be a change in how we also perceive and name the changing economic system.
I’m curious, what are the examples you have stumbled upon that describe the change that is happening? After all the words we use matter and in some ways form the future.
A while ago Polly Higgins argued in Guardian that companies are currently committing ecocide and getting away with it. In the comment section after the article there are a lot of angry voices upset with what Polly writes. The general tone amongst the commenters was that these eco-fascists should just keep their mouth shut.
To be honest, I’m not very surprised. In the first four paragraphs she is making the analogy that corporations are as bad as the Nazi regime and that activists who are trying stop these corporations are martyrs doing the right thing. Not only does this paint a very black and white picture of the situation but she also manages to invoke Goodwin’s law from the very beginning of her argument. I would say that this isn’t a very good start on a discussion.
It is equally true however that corporations are at this very moment destroying our common environment. Is it ok for them to do so? I’m sure that most people don’t think this is ok, if they start thinking about it. People might even be willing to have a legislation against this kind of destruction. However, I think that would depend how you frame the discussion.
The concept of ecocide looks at this problem from a very ecocentric point of view. The plants, animals and ecosystems are as priceless as human beings and can’t be expended. To some extent I agree, our ecosystem should be revered and treasured after all without them we would not be alive. However most people have a more anthropocentric view which puts human beings at the center of IMPORTANCE. These two world views aren’t compatible with each other unless you try to find a bridge between them. The argument that Polly makes fails miserably in making this bridge.
This is how I think you could start building this bridge between these two worldviews.
The notion that polluter’s should pay for the environmental damage that they cause has been around for the better part of 20th century. Since it has become an accepted part of our society that polluter’s pay this could be a successful route in further pushing the edges towards more stricter principles.
The property rights we have today was introduced as a concept in the 17th century by Locke. This is one of the rights that are quite deeply founded within our culture. By conceptually stretching these property rights to our commons one could argue that our environmental wealth is being robbed by corporations that are destroying the environment.
The argument could then go along the lines for how robbery is normally being treated and why this should not be an exception to the case because it is something that we all depend on as each person depend on his private property.
But at the same time it is important to acknowledge that companies are contributing with wealth to society and that there are companies on the path towards creating a shared value for all.
Legislation needs to be taken in steps. If there isn’t a general consensus around the issue the laws can’t be enforced since they aren’t backed by society. A perfect example of this is filesharing which is widely accepted by society but not in law which essentially makes the law worthless. Therefore the argument should be used to build understanding and support.
Polly Higgins certainly had a very clear point of view in the discussion. But her way of arguing forces the reader to make the same conclusion. This makes you almost compulsively take the opposite stance.
People are generally intelligent and if you let people make the their conclusions the discussion will be much more productive. Of course not everyone will agree with you, but that’s ok. In fact, if everyone agrees with you haven’t pushed the edges far enough.
Is there anything else that you could help in bridging the divide between eco-centric and anthropocentric people in this issue? We are all in this together after all.
Today’s society is a consumption society. We are bombarded with messages of things that we ought to buy to make our lives happier and better. Haven’t we all felt that dazzling intoxication holding that new thing which you have been aching for. It might be that perfect computer that just works or that special dress that just fits. It’s that sense of happiness you feel at the time you buy the article or when you first unbox what you have just bought.
In extreme cases you collect so many things throughout the years that you feel locked in. Who hasn’t a cabin full of stuff that might be useful sometime in the distant future.
In parallel to this consumption society where you are expected to receive what is being produced. As well as squander your money and the world’s resources. In the middle of this something else is emerging. Maybe you could call it a customer society.
A customer relation is reflected by a more equal relation between the buyer and the seller. Compared to 20 years ago today’s customer is more careful in what product to buy. Maybe a search on the internet is done or you check a couple of reviews and other opinions before you buy it.
Above all, social networks will play an ever more important role in contexts like these since you’re always connected to the people you care about and who might know a bit better than you in certain areas. There are a couple of good examples of companies that has mismanaged customers or their stakeholders also get to taste the wrath of the customers. Examples range from the Swedish context (Boxer) to the international context (Nestle). To avoid misshaps like these it gets increasingly important for companies to be in dialogue with the customers and listen to what is important.
If the product is in focus in the consumption society, it is the social interaction that is in focus in the customer society, even though a product is being sold in this case as well. I think that this customer related model that is emerging will advance the development towards a society where … and conversation is more in focus. I hope, as a result, that the importance of constantly consuming will therefore lessen.
As Micco Grönholm, brand strategist, wrote a while ago: “We will, I believe, prefer the best persons”
This is Allan. I met him outside the Tube one day in London. He is homeless and I would like to tell his story. I hope that you will stay long enough to hear what he has to say. It’s not a very empowering story. But it could be if we help him.
Allan, please tell me a bit about yourself.
I have been on the street since I’ve been 15. I’m going to get 36 on 1st of july. So I’ve been on the streets for twenty years now. For five years of my life I was a boxer, I’m proud of that because it was something in my life that I had, y’know. It was good. During that time I had 32 fights. It was 29 knockouts, 1 disqualification and 2 draws.
When were you a boxer?
When I was 16 until I was 21. I wasn’t on the street then because I had my club everyday. But I had nowhere to live. The club was my home y’know. I left home, like I said when I was 15. Boxing was the only thing that kept me going, y’know. They didn’t know that I was on the street. I kept it from them, which was hard.
Then I had two illegal fights which my mother asked me to do. That’s when I lost my license. The second fight was the end of it. After my mother had been paid she, like disappeared. The police raided the place and I went in front of the boxing federation and they said that we’re going to take your license off you.
Everything started go wrong from there. I started taking drugs. I got hepatitis C. Kidney failure. Two and half years ago I found out that I got a blood clot from my groin to my knee. My heart valve don’t work properly. When I was addicted to drugs and that, I was lying to people. I didn’t care. I mean I did care, but noone else cared about me so. Why did I care being nasty to them. But then I learned after 5 years of being on the street like that you can’t lie to people. It’s better to be honest than to be a nasty person.
I’m not addicted anymore y’know. I have been clean for a year and a quarter. Since I got this MRSA. It’s a disease that you get from hospital. It eats your flesh, your muscles and your nerves. It eats everything away on the limb it’s on. My leg is the part that I used to take drugs and that got a blood clot from my groin to my knee.
How did you manage all those years?
You just have to, don’t you, y’know. When your famiily treat you all bad. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like … you have to build strength. If you don’t. You’ll end up dead. And a lot of my friends have, y’know. Believe me, I have built up a lot of strength. I’m not giving up for noone. Not at all.
You just have to cope, like the people in africa. I’m having a party compared to them. People in this country. They spend, like, 8 pounds on a little piece of cheese. They don’t realize how lucky they’ve got it. They don’t. Not at all.
My friend came back from south africa after five years and he showed me a video, a dvd. No homeless person in this country can complain what they’ve got compared to over there. You can eat and drink almost everyday. There they are lucky if they can eat 2-3 times a month. Not every homeless person is like me. But I don’t like that people got nothing. At the end of the day, homeless people in this country got nothing to worry about. But in South Africa you can end up dead because you starved to death. This is what this Dvd made me realize.
When did you become clean?
When I was in the hospital I got the opportunity given to me by the doctors. They said to me: “If you don’t get clean you’re gonna die”. So in the hospital I got clean. I was in that hospital for nine weeks and in another hospital for six weeks. Since that time I have been on the streets. Having to cope with my leg, the pain and the MRSA.
Four days ago, someone said they found me in the middle of a path screaming in pain. I don’t remember. They carried me up and put and put me in the ambulance. I said listen, what’s the point in me going to the hospital they are just going to put me off anyway, and they did. I knew they would. They made me wait from half past five in the morning till three o’clock in the evening and they didn’t give me no bandages, no antibiotics, no nothing.
All they did in the hospital was touched my hand a few times. They said “can you feel this?” and I said “no”. “Can you feel this?” I said “no”. The last bit which was the top of my hand by my wrist they asked me if I could feel it and I said yeah. He asked me: “If we need to amputate are you happy with that?” I said that I can’t use my arm no more, so yeah, I am. I have had this MRSA for a year and a quarter now. With no treatment and no bandages, no nothing. He then went to speak to his boss. After he came back he basically said that they couldn’t help me. They said they would send me to St Thomas and see a plastic surgoen on the 1st of June. After I’ve seen the plastic surgeon that’s when they’ll deal with it they said. But I don’t think they will. Out of eight hospital appointments they say I should go see a plastic surgeon. I don’t think they will deal with at all. I can’t understand that someone that has half of their arm missing and a hole in their leg and pain all the time and that they don’t give you bandages, nevermind antibiotics.
What would you like to do with your life if you got healthy enough?
If I last to that point. Then I’d like my own place. I’d like to work. I’d like to get respect. I’d like to work with charities. People don’t realize how lucky they are. People need to realize how lucky they are. They spend stupid amounts of money on the stupidest things and it annoys me. Because they don’t know how lucky they’ve got it.
Is there anything else that you would like to say?
British people and everyone else that got money should get up from your fat arses and start helping people that got nothing. You don’t need to give ‘em money. You can buy them things. Send them food or whatever. Do something! Stop being lazy! Stop being tight. It’s not about money, it’s about being human.
This is the story of Allan, I have helped him a bit with money to cope for the day. The least I ask of you is showing him a bit respect. Write something in the comments and I will convey it to him. He also said that he would like to tell his story more thoroughly in a book. If there is anyone who could help him with that he would appreciate it a lot.
I’m a big fan of sharing stuff if there is an opportunity to do so. But that’s not really possible when it comes to kindle books, is it. First of all they use DRM-locked software making your kindle books effectively locked into your kindle forever. Secondly you can’t lend them to anyone (I know that you can lend kindle books in the US, but not anywhere else in the world). For these two reason there were quite some hesitation on my part before starting to use the kindle app.
More often than not, you get more out of sharing than you put in when you decide to share and who wouldn’t want to get more in return than you put in? Besides the joy of sharing is beyond anything that you keep by yourself.
So how do you share your kindle books?
It’s quite simple really, since any kindle or kindle app connect to an amazon account all you need to do is to let your friend use your contact details and connect to your account. Voila! In that instance your friend also has access to all your kindle books in your library.
The merits with this is
If you think this sounds interesting I invite you to join in creating a small kindle book club with me. It will only be available for 10 persons, more than that and I imagine highlights and notes might become too busy. The only thing I ask is that you gift me a kindle book as a contribution for the library that our small bookclub will share.
Fill in this form here and I will contact you and give you the account details once you have gifted me a kindle book.
You’re probably curious what I currently read. The recent books I’ve read, which I also own as kindle books are: Inside Wikileaks, Nudge and Poke the box. The kind of books that usually poke my interest is books about humans (and how they work) and sustainability. I also read a lot of fantasy before, but not so much anymore. So if you read things similar or dissimilar, don’t hesitate to volunteer your interest!
The reverbation of today's society through the eyes of a person deeply in love with planet earth. The transformation of today's society is going on in front of our very eyes, I'm striving to be one of the persons to tell the tale of how it was done.
I think at the core of a happier planet and happier persons is community, sharing and telling stories.