Social media and socio analysis


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Paper presented at ISPSO Symposium, Melbourne, 16 June 2011.

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  • Transaction costs are costs of communicating, overheads for admin, HR, coordination systems
  • Social action now achieved through electronic communication:Facebook campaignsFlash mobsWikipediaWikileaksBorders closed this week
  • French banned the words
  • Life on the screen
  • Life on the screen
  • The second self
  • Social media and socio analysis

    1. 1. Organizational challenges of social media: A socio-analytic perspective <br />Dr David Patman<br />
    2. 2. Questions<br />Social media are increasingly present – are they changing patterns of social relations?<br />If so, what are the effects on individuals and on organizations?<br />How might we understand (and work with) these changes from a psychoanalytic perspective?<br />Are there implications for the nature of consciousness and the ‘private’ self?<br />Will the psychoanalysis of organizations and psychoanalytic organizations need to adapt or evolve with the technology?<br />What might a socio-analytic ‘app’ look like?<br />
    3. 3. Socialmedia applications<br />Plus: email, texting, phones, internet chat, etc<br />
    4. 4. Social media use <br />Over 50 million people using Facebook<br />About 65 million tweets posted on Twitter each day <br />About 2 billion video views each day on YouTube<br />More cell phones than people in Australia<br />3 top news items today involving social media!<br />
    5. 5. Social media fantasy?<br />For business: Promise to increase productivity and profits:<br />Low cost communication <br />Crowd-sourcing innovation<br />Marketing distribution and dialogue<br />For government: Involve citizens in policy-making and civil life (e-democracy, Gov 2.0)<br />
    6. 6. Social media reality?<br />Gartner: <br />“Social media offers tempting opportunities to interact with employees, business partners, customers, prospects and a whole host of anonymous participants on the social Web” <br />“However, those who participate in social media need guidance from their employer about the rules, responsibilities, 'norms' and behaviors expected of them, and these topics are commonly covered in the social media policy”<br />
    7. 7. NSFW?<br />
    8. 8. Social media reality?<br />Lampe et al: <br />“Goals like increasing interaction, fostering new connections, and encouraging stakeholder contribution are all goals aligned with the features of social media”<br />“However, the nature of social media is grassroots interaction between users, with the organization only acting as another type of user in these cases. Simply broadcasting messages, not responding to contributions of stakeholders, over-prescribing topics and overly specific goals may all hinder the success of social media projects in the public sector”<br />
    9. 9. Organizing without organizations<br />Clay Shirky (Here Comes Everybody):<br />Organizations emerged as most efficient way to coordinate group work (transaction cost lower than individual entities negotiating with each other - Coase)<br />Social media dramatically lowers transaction costs so they are now more efficient<br />Barriers to entry low – no professional membership required<br />Example of stolen phone<br />
    10. 10. Organizing without organizations<br />Shirky: Traditional organizations increasingly irrelevant, changing:<br />Traditional print and broadcast empires dying<br />Social media has significant political effects (eg. WikiLeaks, flash mobs, citizen journalism)<br />Institutions struggling to cope with challenges (cyber-attacks, political bloggers, etc)<br />So what happens to the ‘social defence’ (Jaques and Menzies) function of organizations?<br />
    11. 11. Cyber-insecurity?<br />Organizational anxieties manifested through:<br />Lack of uptake / use of social media<br />Perceived loss of control / discipline / authority<br />Social anxieties manifested through:<br />Cyber-crime, cyber-bullying, cyber-security<br />Felt moral danger – respect, decency<br />Perceived breakdown in cultural values – eg. literacy<br />Ill health, addiction, obesity (no conclusive evidence)<br />
    12. 12. Social media and psychoanalysis<br />How has psychoanalysis understood and worked with dynamics of social media?<br />Individual-centred theories – the internet regression, simulation of intimacy, eg. Holland, Turkle<br />Group-centred theories - the internet as a (very) large group, eg. Weinberg)<br />‘Virtual’ practice, eg. Virtual Large Study Group, meeting in Second Life<br />
    13. 13. The internet regression<br />
    14. 14. The internet regression<br />Individual-centred approaches, eg. Norman Holland (Free Associations, 1996)<br />Tendency to flaming / flirting more so than in ‘real life’<br />‘Openness and freedom characteristic of regressed idealized state of being<br />Potential for creativity<br />
    15. 15. Simulation of intimacy<br />
    16. 16. Simulation of intimacy<br />Sherry Turkle:<br />As internet emerging, saw virtual worlds as transitional spaces to play with identity - Life on the Screen <br />Machines now increasingly substituting for authentic interactions between people (eg. robot pets, carers) – Alone Together<br />Social media promise closeness but actually keep people apart (eg. texting, Facebook, etc)<br />
    17. 17. Narcissism<br />
    18. 18. Narcissism<br />Sherry Turkle:<br />Social media provide a means for getting attention – to ‘broadcast your self’<br />Obsession with idealized self reflected in one’s profile, avatar or blog<br />Number of friends or followers experienced as validation – ‘popularity’<br />
    19. 19. Robot love<br />
    20. 20. Robot love<br />Sherry Turkle (The Second Self) – pre-internet:<br />Interested in interaction between humans and machines<br />Machines invested with human properties via projection – we talk to computers as if they were human<br />Can be perverse, immature, regressive<br />Analytic frame is individual psychology so dynamics of the social / system not considered<br />
    21. 21. The internet as a (very) large group<br />
    22. 22. The internet as a (very) large group<br />More recent interpretation (eg. Weinberg)<br />Vast number of users and possible connections produces overwhelming anxiety<br />Large group dynamics occur, eg. as described by Turquet – splitting and projection, ‘flaming’ - also idealization of leader<br />However, Internet dynamics characterised as a ‘small world’ phenomenon – network of highly connected nodes<br />Large group assumption may need further thinking?<br />
    23. 23. Small-world dynamics<br />
    24. 24. Virtual psychoanalysis?<br />
    25. 25. Virtual psychoanalysis?<br />Recent opportunities to explore online psychodynamics:<br />Virtual large study group (VLSG)<br />ISPSO planning meetings in Second Life<br />Attempts to translate psychoanalytic methods into online media didn’t work ‘as expected’<br />Unexpected moments of insight / learning associated with ‘letting go’ and playfulness<br />
    26. 26. Understanding media<br />Marshall McLuhan, pre-internet media theorist<br />Relates form of media technology to psychic and social organization<br />Seen as ‘technologically deterministic’ but theories have parallels to psychoanalysis:<br />Media as extensions of consciousness<br />The medium is the message<br />The global village<br />
    27. 27. Understanding media<br />“The printing press, the computer, and television are not therefore simply machines which convey information. They are metaphors through which we conceptualize reality in one way or another. They will classify the world for us, sequence it, frame it, enlarge it, reduce it, argue a case for what it is like. Through these media metaphors, we do not see the world as it is. We see it as our coding systems are. Such is the power of the form of information.”<br />
    28. 28. Media as extensions of consciousness<br />
    29. 29. Media as extensions of consciousness -<br />Communications media not just mechanism for transmitting information<br />Media extend and amplify one or more of the physical senses (hearing, touch, vision, etc)<br />Social / cultural patterns correlate with dominant media and associated sensory experience<br />
    30. 30. ‘Ear’ culture and the Tribal Voice<br />‘Tribal’ culture dominated by oral (and tactile) media – story-telling, music, carvings<br />Ear culture: immersive, close-knit <br />Subject/object not distinct <br />Authority provided by voice / sound<br />Groups small, organized by villages, webs of kinship<br />
    31. 31. Splitting sound: An eye for an ear<br />Discovery of phonetic alphabet correlates with a shift from ‘ear culture’ to ‘eye culture’ <br />Unlike hieroglyphs or characters, alphabet splits up sounds, and arranges in sequence)<br />Unidirectional rather than immersive<br />Enables transmission of ‘voice’ via writing<br />The written Word becomes authority<br />Authority can be exercised at a distance via roads<br />
    32. 32. Eye culture and the printed Word<br />Discovery of mechanical printing speeds up visual/written culture socially:<br />Splitting up and linear sequencing allows development of machines<br />Taxonomies, maps, plans, laws become prevalent<br />Expansion / explosion creates colonial empires <br />Organization by centralized authority, hierarchy, and written delegation<br />Specialization of skills and knowledge<br />
    33. 33. Eye culture: the point of view<br />
    34. 34. Eye culture: The plan view<br />
    35. 35. Eye culture: Delegates authority<br />
    36. 36. Eye culture: Central city<br />
    37. 37. ‘I’ culture: Central cortex<br />
    38. 38. ‘I’ culture<br />Discovery of mechanical printing also speeds up visual culture psychically:<br />Subject and object are split<br />Objectivity associated with authority<br />Authentic / real split from imagined / fantasy<br />‘Self-consciousness’ and one’s ‘own mind’<br />Individual ‘point of view’ and individual ‘rights’<br />Privacy and private ownership<br />
    39. 39. The medium is the message<br />McLuhan: Nature of the medium – not its content - which is important:<br />Oral traditions correlates with immersive, small-group cultures, authority given by Voice and sound – roles rather than function<br />Mechanical printing correlates with colonization of social and psychic realms by visual patterns – eg. splitting and expansion, specialization, hierarchy<br />Media provide a ‘container’ for experience<br />
    40. 40. The medium is the massage<br />McLuhan: Discovery of electric media technologies (telegraph, telephone, radio, TV) reverses the effect of visual print media:<br />Electricity operates at the speed of neural impulses, effectively extending central nervous system in space<br />We become immersed in the lives of ‘others’, always ‘in touch’, experiencing their pain, joy, fears, etc as our own <br />Boundaries of self dramatically extended<br />
    41. 41. In touch with the web<br />McLuhan: New electronic culture is ‘implosive’, reflecting a kind of ‘re-tribalization’: <br />Motif is the mosaic or web<br />Similar to pixels on television screen – viewers must ‘fill in the dots’<br />Experience in depth, soft-focus, low-definition – encourages projection, immersive involvement<br />Interplay of senses: tactile and audial as well as visual produce a sense of being ‘in touch’ - surfing<br />
    42. 42. Tribal web<br />Bush Seed Dreaming woven by Janice Collins<br />
    43. 43. World Wide Web<br />
    44. 44. Tactile web<br />
    45. 45. Touch screen mosaic<br />
    46. 46. The Matrix<br />
    47. 47. Global village<br />
    48. 48. Global village<br />McLuhan died before internet popularized, but coined phrase ‘global village’:<br />Awareness extended beyond the boundaries of the private psyche<br />Identity collectivized<br />Authority decentralized – based on knowledge rather than position in hierarchy<br />Role becomes prominent rather than function<br />De-hierarchization (eg. CEO reachable by phone)<br />
    49. 49. Shock to the system<br />McLuhan: New electronic culture causes ‘shock’, eliciting narcissistic response (‘auto-amputation and numbing’ of self-projection)<br />Denial<br />Nostalgia / romanticization<br />Celebrity culture and broadcasting the self<br />Splitting and idealization of ‘real’ versus ‘virtual’?<br />Perhaps new electronic culture creates experiences which are ‘too real’<br />
    50. 50. Publicizing the private self<br />
    51. 51. Private – keep out!<br />I am he, as you are he, as we are all together<br />John Lennon, 1967<br />Stop callin’ stop callin’<br />I don’t wanna think anymore<br />I left my head and my heart on the dance floor<br />Stefani Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga), 2011<br />
    52. 52. All by ‘my’ self<br />‘Private self’ and privacy bound-up with visual / mechanical culture:<br />Derives from Latin privatus – to separate<br />Spatial concept – home is castle, invasion of privacy<br />Laws to protect privacy and private property<br />Anxieties about what is felt as an attack on privacy in and by electronic culture (Google and Facebook)<br />
    53. 53. Exposing my private parts<br />Publicizing the private is scary:<br />Sexting – ‘private parts’ exposed<br />Release of ‘private’ information<br />Identity theft<br />Cyber-bullying<br />Wikileaks<br />‘Over-sharing’ – irritating self-indulgence<br />Death of romance, decency<br />
    54. 54. Privatization of experience<br />Social institutions and organizations in visual / mechanical culture privatize experience<br />Create and maintain individual boundaries and hierarchical relationships:<br />‘Nuclear’ (atomistic) family structure<br />Private citizens, private property<br />Professional/ functional (not inherited) classes<br />Institutional breakdown undoes privatization<br />
    55. 55. Social applications reorganizing experience<br />Social applications provide new social and psychic organizing principles:<br />Leadership distributed across many – no ‘leaders’, only ‘followers’ (roles not functions)<br />Authority based on knowledge (eg. Wikipedia)<br />Affiliation based on interest, passion, ‘like’<br />Mobile, self-organizing, multi-platform<br />Small group / tribe based<br />
    56. 56. Social applications – the new ‘organizations’?<br />Social applications are replacing organizations:<br />As a more efficient way to co-ordinate collective action (Shirky)<br />As a new way to collectively contain anxiety <br />As a way to adapt to and cope with the shock and anxiety associated with the effects of ‘retribalization’ such as ‘publicization’ of the private self<br />
    57. 57. Social applications and organizational challenges<br />Some questions and challenges:<br />What happens as traditional organizations ‘de-generate’ – how to ‘re-generate’?<br />How to manage the anxiety associated with ‘de-privatization’ in a conscious and creative way?<br />How help people experience social applications in ways that are not felt as persecutory and to enhance their capacity to promote connectivity?<br />I don’t have the answers, but…<br />
    58. 58. Socio-analysis and social applications<br />Socio-analytic tools may offer a way forward:<br />Understands the unconscious as located in groups and organizational forms, and works with these<br />Employs various media – drawings, speech, writing, video (evolving practice around matrices – SDM and shared photo matrix)<br />Encourages play and exploration<br />How to engage directly with social applications (eg. Second Life)?<br />
    59. 59. Socio-analysis and social applications – approaches?<br />Possible approaches:<br />Use theories to analyse social applications (eg. Turkle, this paper)<br />Use existing socioanalytic tools to explore applications <br />Use existing social applications as platform to conduct socioanalysis (VLSG)<br />Develop new ‘socioanalytic’ social applications<br />
    60. 60. Socio-analytic applications: possible objectives<br />New socio-analytic applications could:<br />Continue to develop forms of practice based on matrix arrangements, rather than hierarchy, consistent with the web or mosaic pattern of relationships which characterise social interaction online<br />Use multiple-media to assist people to explore what a given social formation feels and sounds like (and smells and tastes like?) as well as looks like<br />
    61. 61. Like taking a bite out of a chilli…<br />
    62. 62. Like a bowl of noodles…<br />
    63. 63. Like a ball of plasticine…<br />
    64. 64. Socio-analytic apps: design specs?<br />Socio-analytic applications could:<br />Help to discover what is collectively projected into the new forms of social organization (eg social applications and electronic communication protocols like texting) allowing this to be recognized and changed. <br />Assist people to understand and tolerate the experience of ‘de-privatization’ of thoughts and feelings, and to respond in ways that are creative rather than defensive.<br />
    65. 65. Socio-analytic apps: design specs?<br />Socio-analytic applications could:<br />Encourage development of emotional connectivity (keeping ‘in touch’) as well as technical connectivity<br />Explore the significance of technological breakdown (the ‘glitch’) and whether there is an emotional counterpart<br />Socio-analytic applications would allow and encourage a combination of face-to-face and electronic interactions<br />
    66. 66. Socio-analytic apps: design specs?<br />Socio-analytic applications would:<br />Allow and encourage a combination of face-to-face and electronic interactions<br />Be organised using mosaic/matrix relationships rather than hierarchies<br />Include multi-sensory interactions: touch, taste and smell, as well as sound and sight.<br />
    67. 67. Inspirations <br />Drawing the internet<br />Virtual choir<br />'I am‘<br />We Feel Fine<br />