So cold networking

The cold cold heart of the Web 2.0

Brilliant column by William Davies in The Register.

Cold Cold heart of Web 2.0 - William Davies

Illustration : Keith Haring
Source :

A very interesting article on the Social Network applications trend to rationalise everything in our social life. It tends to show that while we expand the use of the internet from our profesionnal life to the social parts of it, we also expand professional habits such as efficiency concerns.

In short, efficiency gains are no longer being sought only in economic realms such as retail or public services, but are now being pursued in parts of our everyday lives where previously they hadn’t even been imagined.

The most impressive bit :

Web 2.0 takes the efficiency-enhancing capabilities of digital technology and pushes them into areas of society previously untouched by efficiency criteria.

Politics Vs Economics

Comparing french and US journalists/bloggers I’ve always been shocked by the difference between the underlying philosophies these culture vow allegiance to : in France it’s Politics, in US the Economy.

I’m not a big fan of politics, especially the way we do it in my country (France).

I thought the US approach consisting in putting the Economy right in the middle of the problem whenever addressing Web 2.0 issues was pretty handy and pragmatic, more appropriated than ours.

There still were these two aspects that famous US marketing bloggers promote that I really dont feel comfortable with though : “brand yourself” and “use any methodologies (such as GTD) to be more efficient”.

Constraints, accidents and meanings

I guess you could not have such an article written by a US blogger. You have to be European to think twice on the danger of such efficiency based approaches, turning ourselves into living processes. As Davies put it, there really is something we are missing somewhere down the wire :

Outside of the economy – and very often within the economy too – we find that the constraints and accidents of everyday life are the basis for enjoyable and meaningful activities. (…)

When we vote, chat to neighbours, browse through a record shop we are not seeking some outcome in the most efficient manner available. We are engaging in an activity that we find valuable.

This is a very good reminder that we have to be careful with the electronic Vs real life balance.

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