Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Structural Cyberbullying

In “Critical Mass, how one thing leads to another”, Philip Ball says, “I want to suggest that, even with our woeful ignorance of why humans behave the way they do, it is possible to make some predictions about how they behave collectively.”

Bullying. Cyberbullying. Structural cyberbullying. The situation where the revolutionary new network society is structurally opposed to equality, and is relatively stable and thus unlikely to change, or to reach a tipping point without radical measures.

“The network society is less inclusive than the mass society. You may be a member of some part of the mass society by birth or ascription. In the individualized network society you have to fight for a particular place. You have to show your value for every network. Otherwise you will be isolated in, or even excluded from, the network. In the network society, you have to stand firm as an individual. You are not that easily taken along in solidarity by proximate people.” (Van Dijk, 2006 p 36)

“By specifying precisely how connected systems are connected, and by drawing explicit relationships between the structure of real networks and the behavior (like epidemics, fads, and organizational robustness) of the systems they connect, the science of networks can help us understand our world.” (Watts, 2004, p303)

Barabasi believes that we are not far off a scifi-like ability to predict and influence human behaviour. Will this be used for the good of mankind?

Perhaps that depends on who is doing the coding.

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