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Synthesis 27. < !------- test block: issue=Synthesis id=731 sec1name=Overview imagetmplt=3893 ---------->
Synthesis
                 1969-1984
731/3728

January 2019    Dennis R. DuBe'     731/3728


Musings on Social Media, Material Conditions, Contractual Obligations, Pragmatism, Rights, Intent and Determinism.
     TD is not so much a "force" in the past as it is a behavior in the present
           #3728   Created 10/20/2014   Updated 02/06/2018

0. How to describe the pieces?

1. Social Media

Social Media is a production system that aggregates and makes available the attention of users (3.4 billion social media accounts worldwide 10/2014, about 50% of planetary population). This aggregation is accomplished by users who produce content about themselves for online storage, and also consume and interact with online content from other users.

In order to participate, users must have internet and/or cellular access and equipment, for which they may incur equipment and communications charges.

The collective, in-the-moment attention of users provides an enormous secondary market opportunity for the production and distribution of advertising content, which can be instantly fulfilled through online purchases.

2. Material Conditions

The structures of media shift, and consumer behavior shifts accordingly. Or, consumer behavior shifts, and the structures of media shift accordingly. Either way, the market allows for the exploitation of new capabilities and affordances in the communications infrastructure as they enter the marketplace.

Robert Gehl's very interesting analysis of social media software .....

The emergent trend in social media runs counter to the traditional producer-consumer relationship; the separation between production and consumption is blurred, and the economic value shifts away from the "meaning" of content and back toward holding the attention of media users.

This fundamental change does not necessarily represent a shift in the the "material conditions of workers", because it is embedded in the larger cultural and economic capitalistic context. Billions of media users daily provide billions of minutes of "voluntary labor" creating social media content, and in so doing become harnessed to the marketing mechanisms of cyberspace. They are compensated in-kind with the ability to consume content created voluntarily by other users, or by publishers and advertisers.

The amount of time spent on social media sites or devices may represent a significant fraction of waking, productive hours for the individuals involved. Cell phone users in North America and Europe can spend up to 8 hours per day using their devices, much of that time overlapping on traditional employment intervals.

3. Contractual Conditions

Contracts and agreements engage consumers in relationships that provide current services and set future expectations. Consumers regularly agree to terms -- often without reading them -- that regulate the use of web sites, credit devices, computer and mobile devices and software, application software, social media services, cellular communications networks, internet services, and all forms of purchases, among others.

Do these contracts and agreements make descriptions, commitments or promises about the provision of performance in the future that are based on the assumptions of continued technological advancement?

Do the contracts and agreements support the marketing claims made in advance of the programs?

Is there a separation between technological advancement and market advancement?

Are there aspects of market development which can be considered as technological advancement?

How do you define technological advancement? "Incremental improvement in the known methods of production." (foot:http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/technical-advance.html#ixzz3HNTgCuV)

"A technological advance is incorporating, by means of experimental development, a characteristic or capability not previously existing or available in standard practice, into a new or existing process or product that enhances a product's performance. Novelty, uniqueness, or innovation alone do not indicate a technological advance."

(Canada Revenue Agency CRA's Information Circular 86-4R3, "Scientific Research and Experimental Development".)

"Dewey came to believe that a productive, naturalistic approach to the theory of knowledge must begin with a consideration of the development of knowledge as an adaptive human response to environing (stet) conditions aimed at an active restructuring of these conditions. Unlike traditional approaches in the theory of knowledge, which saw thought as a subjective primitive out of which knowledge was composed, Dewey's approach understood thought genetically, as the product of the interaction between organism and environment, and knowledge as having practical instrumentality in the guidance and control of that interaction. Thus Dewey adopted the term "instrumentalism" as a descriptive appellation for his new approach.

does the answer lie in pragmatism?

"So (William) James offers his pragmatism as a technique for clarifying concepts and hypotheses. He proposed that if we do this, metaphysical disputes that appear to be irresoluble will be dissolved. When philosophers suppose that free will and determinism are in conflict, James responds that once we compare the practical consequences of determinism being true with the practical consequences of our possessing freedom of the will, we find that there is no conflict."

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pragmatism/

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3.5 Rights

Do these agreements strip consumers of natural and constitutional rights of to their works, actions and products? Do they encourage the revelation of personal financial, social, physical, legal and geographic information? Does this media recreate identities as secondary reconstructions in cyberspace?

4. Content

Content is being re-positioned in the social media age. Content previously was valued as the purpose, as well as the object of attention, in media. Structural changes have shifted content from the focus of attention to the result of attention. Content is generated as a by-product of human activities within the online environment. Social media partially re-positions content from a product to an activity.

5. Intent

All parties in a relationship bring intent. People interact in relationships through social media in a unique bargain that simultaneously provides users the ability to see, and to be seen. Privacy is shredded as users voluntarily reveal themselves through postings, likes, shares, uploaded digital photos, cell-phone usage, GPS tracking, and more.

In the media relationship, the intent often shifts with the economic exchange. Whereas content is often sought as the object of exchange, content can also be an inducement to some other exchange, or an accessory to an exchange. The user-posted content of social media is available at no significant cost to other users, but the attention those users "pay" to their screens fuels the commercial opportunities. As a result, the intentions of the creators of content are subverted by the injection of data-driven commercial messaging in the interface.

All the participating parties in social media have at least one common intent: to create an effect on other users through content. Publishers, users and advertisers all seek audience response on the social page.

It is not argued that such content is without effect. However, it is worth considering that neither the creation of social content, nor its consumption, are generally connected in any meaningful way to the generation of revenue. Yet, meaningful revenue is, in fact, generated through the association of advertising with these phenomena.

6. Behavior

Your usage becomes your profile. Who you are becomes constructed by what you do. Usage of the mechanical and software structures of social media generates content about the status and behavior of the user, which can be cross-referenced to who are in the physical world through your data-generating behavior in official interactions, purchases, payments, movements through camera fields, agreements, violations, and penalties.

"Trends" are a way of seeing the effects of structural change. "trends" are changes in behavior caused by alterations in the structures of media.

7. Technological Determinism

TD is not so much a "force" in the past as it is a behavior in the present, behavior by humans who use the language of technology to solve problems in the future.

This long-standing practice is (or may be, hopefully) embedded in the relationship between the commercial services that create, deploy, and maintain the hard and soft components of telephone and cellular communications, online services, social media, entertainment media, communications networks, and the advertising, manufacturing, and distribution industries.



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