The history of social movements have demonstrated the human desire for independence while the “portals of power” have always tried to make people dependent on the power structures.
More and more people are becoming dependent on social networks for multiple purposes. These dependencies are flying in the face of the basic human desire for independence. Consider the resent Robert Scoble story about being banned from Facebook.
E-Week reports: Facebook on Jan. 3 reinstated Robert Scoble’s membership one day after banishing the high-tech blogger for testing a Plaxo tool that imports contact information from Facebook to the Plaxo Pulse service.
Facebook’s servers detected the automated script, which a representative told Scoble resembled the same type of script used to commit malicious attacks and send spam and shut the account down earlier Jan. 2.
Scoble promptly blogged about how he was cut off from his 5,000 Facebook friends, triggering an outcry from supporters in the blogosphere that is renewing the debate about who has the right to control data on a social network—its users or the network.
Facebook has very clear rules that the data on its network is under its purview; users would like to export their data to other social sites so they don’t have to re-enter data on multiple social networks. When Facebook banned Scoble, it provided a reason for users who want to control their data to reignite the fire.
While the historical conflict of dependence vs. independence has been between the people and the powers that govern the people there is now an evolving conflict between the people and the technology. The intersection of the matrix.
Doc Searls wrties: “Independence is a value that has run like a river, not just through the Open Source movement, but through the Independent Developer movement, the Free Software movement, and through hacker culture for the duration. Its origins are in value systems that recognize the transcendent virtues of personal freedom. Including the freedom of assembly that results in social groupings — especially those that are inherently elective. To be free is to opt in, not just out.”
“Scoble should be able to take his personal data, his social data, and his business, anywhere he likes. Our ability to associate and communicate and work out “social networking” should be independent of Facebook, LinkedIn, or any company’s walled garden.”
“The problem is, we have not framed what we want, and what we invent, sufficiently in terms of independence rather than dependence. We have not started with ourselves and worked outward and otherward from there. Instead we’ve waited for the Facebooks and Orkuts and Friendsters of the world to prototype our “social networks” for us. Which is fine, as far as it goes. But that’s like letting AT&T or Apple some other company contintue to define operating systems for us. With BSD and Linux we stopped doing that, and started making for ourselves.”
“We need to do the same with social networking. We can choose to serve as batteries in the Matrix that is Facebook (and every other “social network” that serves as a world-like habitat). Or we can choose to be free. That’s it.”
The battle between the people and the technology is just beginning. As Doc says, we can choose to depend on the matrix and thus become dependent or we can choose to be free. The choice is ours and if history repeats itself we’re in for a battle regardless of the choices we make.
Independence actually has a set of dependencies. The dependencies are at the conversational intersections between and among people. One to one to millions. The power of these dependencies is when the conversations become united and stand together on common principles that enable independence.
Facebook reinstated Robert Scoble’s membership because the people spoke up in swarms but did they change the rules of the matrix?
What say you?