Symbolic Violence and Social Media


Published on

My Ignite Talk about Sociology and Social Media.
More infos:

Pictures by:

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • \n
  • My name is Luca Sartoni and I work at 123people. Every day, I find ways to integrate social media into a corporate environment.\n\nA few weeks ago, I got a special request from a customer and that got me seriously thinking about and analyzing how social dynamics affect the business of companies.\n
  • This guy was asking us to violate one of the rules of our customer support, a very basic one, just because he had "200K followers on twitter". Of course we refused to satisfy the request. However, I asked myself:\n\n"Why would someone do something like that?"\n
  • Why would someone force a restaurant to put up this sign?\n\nAn anthropologist friend of mine suggested that I research the studies of Pierre Bourdieu, a French sociologist, who came up with a very fascinating theory about people and society, in the 70s.\n
  • \n
  • He extended Marxist theory about capital, whereby people's capital is split into four kinds: Economic, Social, Cultural and Symbolic.\n\n
  • Economic Capital is easy: money, time and production tools.\nSocial Capital is the number of people we know; our social circle.\nCultural Capital is what we know; our education and culture.\nSymbolic Capital is the set of symbols recognized and legitimated by other people: job titles, study degrees, uniforms.\n
  • An interesting fact is that we can use one kind of capital to generate another kind: We can spend money to obtain education. We can use the people we know to find a job. We can use a specific knowledge to meet new people.\n\n
  • But even more interesting is the fact that people tend to generate symbolic capital as quickly as possible. As such, we buy an expensive car or an iPhone: status symbol. Or we represent and claim the size of our social network to show off our popularity.\nWe also like to be recognized as authority, or being called "experts" in a specific topic.\n
  • The reason for that is very simple, especially online. Online, people are represented entirely by symbols: avatars, reputation, popularity, credibility.\n
  • At the same time, Bourdieu's theory highlights the tendency of symbolic capital to be expressed by forcing these symbols upon other people, that is: symbolic violence.\n
  • This purpose of this violence, let's say the pressure to show off symbols, is simply the need for preserving one's status quo. In other words, it is an attempt to keep the achieved power as well as trying to increase it.\n
  • We have very compelling evidence for this trend:\n\nThe first comes from a study called "Cultivated Play: Farmville" states that "Farmville players keep on playing the game not because of the engagement of the game but because of social pressure to keep on playing". Social Pressure equals Symbolic Violence. \n
  • That can also be evidenced in the huge amount of videos on youtube about unboxing procedures. What is interesting about unboxing a brand new iphone?\n
  • It is nothing special, unless you are the first one in the world to do that. But it is all about showing off your status symbol.\n
  • The third evidence is the huge growing trend in a very special market: Virtual Goods. +40% per year. Only in the US the market volume is estimated to reach 2.1B$ in 2011.\n
  • Do we really want companies that will only listen to us if we are popular on twitter, or services that work better only for those who shout more loudly? I don't think so.\n
  • Companies aiming at professionalism have to serve each and every customer in a fair way. Fair treatment does not necessarily mean that "all are treated the same". Instead, it means "equally good". A professional CS department will not rank people according to the number of their followers on twitter.\n
  • Thus, as a user, if you indeed want to obtain assistance from a Customer Service Department, ask questions, then show that you care and require them to be professional. Claim your rights in a clear way because they owe you a service, independently of your popularity.\n
  • Thank you very much.\n
  • Symbolic Violence and Social Media

    1. 1. Symbolic Violence and Social Media @LucaSartoniPictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    2. 2. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    3. 3. Beware of my followers!Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    4. 4. by: Teymur Madjderey
    5. 5. Pierre BourdieuPictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    6. 6. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    7. 7. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    8. 8. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    9. 9. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    10. 10. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    11. 11. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    12. 12. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    13. 13. Cultivated Play: FarmvillePictures by: Teymur Madjderey “Farmville is popular because it entangles users in a web of social obligations.”
    14. 14. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    15. 15. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    16. 16. 2.1B $ * 2011 (US only) 0 % +4 ds o o a l G ir tu VPictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    17. 17. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    18. 18. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    19. 19. Pictures by: Teymur Madjderey
    20. 20. Thank You! @LucaSartoni by: Teymur Madjderey