Nokia’s IdeasProject on social media, social progress and authority

Two new interviews on Nokia’s IdeasProject:

Social media may have unforeseen limits
John Jordan, a pathbreaking tech consultant and academic, measures social technologies in terms of the notion of ‘network externalities,’ which posits that the value of a technology improves as it reaches a critical mass of users. He has nevertheless observed a phenomenon of diminishing returns among platforms like eBay and Craigslist, where user behaviors – scams, unreliability and false representations – have begun to undermine the functionality of the service.

A multifunctional Web platform will enable major social advancements
Tech-investor and blogger Jeff Clavier sees a platform combining the functionality of search engines, the nimbleness of micro-blogging, and the breadth of YouTube as a way to bring communities together to accomplish goals. By combining these functions on mobile phones and computers it’s suddenly possible to draw in people who share a common passion, but might not have met otherwise, from a massive network of potential members.

An editorial by Valerie Buckingham, Nokia’s Director of Technology Marketing, discusses the topic of authority in the context of recent developments in communications, particularly the social and democratizing elements of the Internet in the last 15 years, and the sheer number of new content creators:

“Amidst all this, Larry Keeley‘s musings (video) on how young people learn to make decisions about what is true is particularly interesting to me. In this new world of communication types and authors, how do any of us decide which voices are worth considering? What kinds of standard assumptions ought we to be making about the intentions of authors? […]
Keeley suggests that there is a lot at stake in questions like these – that the future of our democratic culture may well be tied up in how young people learn to negotiate these dynamics for themselves. […]
Keeley’s words remind us that even as the technology changes, the need to bring a level of critical thinking to the implications of all new communication modes certainly does not.

And perhaps, as Andreas Weigend suggests (video), in his earlier contribution on about the role of metadata in the future of communication, technology has an important role to play in bringing clarity. Perhaps when individual reputation, expressed as reliable metadata, can more readily be connected in all communication, we’ll at least be on the road to providing better tools for the next generation to separate the truth from the crap.”

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