I'm here to argue that the future has already happened - its effects areeverywhere, from the most mundane interactions in our daily lives to the sphereof geo-politics.Social media may look like "just the web" to an outsider but to those of us on theinside it's the sharp end of change.
What it is
I want to frame this keynote in terms of man versus machine, in a senserecycling a very familiar theme - Blade Runner, I- Robot, 2001, Star Wars and Terminator have all played with this too. But I believe that in this case themachine has already won, that the matrix has already been installed and we'venot fully realised this, and are not operating it to its full potential.Rather than clever web sites I like to think of social media as machines. Highlysophisticated, global digital machines that present a simple interface to theirusers.We're all familiar with the simplicity of the Google start page yet beneath is aclever machine that can find the information you're looking for from billions of items content worldwide, in a few seconds. The seeming simplicity of machine'scontrol panel can be very deceptive. Take this quote from
Age of Absurdity Michael Foley.. With the growth of communication technology, the machines doing the work are often no longer visible, but somewhere out inthe ether, as intangible and mysterious as the mind of God. All that remains is the interface, the screen. So image triumphsover content, presentation over understanding, description over analysis. There is no longer a beneath, there is only thesurface; no longer a complex machine, only a bright interface"
Lets take a social media machine we know- Digg.com - and understand why it's amachine.