Digital Self-Consciousness?

Signal:  New Fear of Intimacy (Paul Kedrosky uses this phrase here)

Rob Horning (who spends his time thinking about concrete and abstract aspects of consumerism) recently wrote:

I have this feeling that people are going to become more and more wary of direct face-to-face attention because it will seem like it’s wasted on them if it’s not mediated, not captured somehow in social networks where it has measurable value. I imagine this playing out as a kind of fear of intimacy as it was once experienced—private unsharable moments that will seem creepier and creepier because no one else can bear witness to their significance, translate them into social distinction. Recognition within private unmediated spaces will be unsought after, the “real you” won’t be there but elsewhere, in the networks.

What?:  Rob and Paul both point to a new kind of digital self-consciousness people are experiencing when in relationship with others.  The risk is that this that might get in the way of intimacy, or lead to new forms of “fear of intimacy.”

So What?:  This is not quantitatively validated yet, so this is a weak signal, but if it becomes true, new relationship paradigms and mores will probably emerge to try to combat it, so products and services that can be in harmony with those mores will be well-positioned to make this transition.

Impact Areas:  connecting products & services, technology designers, people in relationships (broadly defined)

-Rachel Hatch

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About Rachel

For 6 years and counting I have been a researcher at Institute for the Future. We study & interpret long-term (10+ years) trends and disruptions. Local community is important to me, so I write a column for the local paper & organize events like TEDxRedding and #Hacking Redding.

2 thoughts on “Digital Self-Consciousness?

  1. Besides the “fear of intimacy,” it seems that these emerging views of the Self and the Other will shape different systems of communication values. Is it possible that in the future digital and especially social networks will increasingly add axiomatic value to what is expressed within them? Will everything that is not said in that sphere sound suspicious unless differently proven? If so, the role of scientists and state representatives, within those networks, is likely to become more active in the future.

  2. Pingback: Future of Disconnecting: digital detox and network purges | FutureOfConnecting

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