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

Research Director Rachel Hatch's interests focus on how people will nurture their inner lives and their relationships with others, looking ten years ahead. Her essay, Already-Not Yet on new media and religion has recently been featured in Yale's Reflections, a magazine for theological and ethical inquiry. She is also a participant in the Relationship Economy Expedition, a conversation about how relationships will be a key asset in the economic transformation that is underway. Upon joining IFTF in 2008, Rachel discovered a passion for catalyzing online community and ideation spaces. She gamemasters for many of IFTF's massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), including public games like Ruby's Bequest (2008 with AARP and United Cerebral Palsy), Foresight Engine: Smart Grid (2011 with IEEE), and MMOWGLI (2011 with the US Office of Naval Research). Also gamemastering online games with corporate groups, including Signtific Lab (2009, 2010) and Stack-It! (2011) she has distilled 4 Lessons From Gaming in a Corporate Context. Rachel enjoys working with both corporate and non-profit organizations. She holds a M. Div. from Yale Divinity School, a M. Phil. from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and a B.A. in religion & psychology from St. Olaf College. Rachel is originally from Iowa and is Irish; therefore, Iowish. She delighted to serve as co-curator of TEDxRedding.

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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