Subcultural Generations of the Tech-Savvy

There was a dream of techtopia where knowledge and networks would become one in a free democratic new media liberation for all; as users defied the Dotcom entrepeneurs in the 90s and p2p ‘pirates’ still exploit network pathways today to share in the world’s stock of entertainment and educational resources. This is a fantasy from a viewpoint at a particular time that is now forgotten, dismissed by the infotainment deluge. Usability is  now synonymous with freedom (if Apple can make it shiny and animated and Google displays it on the first page then it’s the best way), but I think this is just the new kind of normal – and like from the sterility of the 50s,

our children will again break free of it.

It cannot last; (“chaos is not a business model,”) like the artists and bohemians move further from the inner-city of Melbourne to find refuge from the increasingly bloated commercial uptake that infect the city’s cultural institutions and local businesses. The networks of open-minded power deprived on-line societies will do the same and flee to new substratum of the technoscape. i.e they will innovate over to the next outer-lying mode of technology to again participate in the usual avant-garde away from the predatory sight of market research and yuppy hipsters.

The retaliation I mentioned above could be likened to the the 50s/60s dropped-out and 70s youth that fled to Woodstock, Christiania, Nimbin, Pemberton, and many other remote havens across the Western world to avoid the oppressive norms of their time.

I wished that it wouldn’t be necessary to flee again, that the mainstream would lose much of their xenophobia or whatever holds them back from embracing one another as the wider family that humanity is. Education hasn’t transformed us completely or is it that it’s been partially hijacked for corporate interests? This will possibly be the subject of my next post. Specifically analysing technical skills in the next generations of ‘diginatives’ after my own (perhaps the first generation of us).

Present commercialisation of resistance itself makes me reconsider the whole idea of counter-culture; that it is inevitable, or that some knowledges and movements have to actively reject the attempts of other larger groups to incorporate them into a totalled social identity and from that social action derive in part their own identity. I am suggesting that this is a characteristic of human identity building; and further that the moral or value based differences that subcultural groups claim as their distinguishing attributes are mostly for that active purpose or derived from its results.

I envisage a technology future of modulated design functionality. Make your own gadgetry, basically. No DRM, less disposed units due to outdated parts, no closed OS or corporate convergence. If univocity is to occur at all in my dream, it will be in streamlining the ability to communicate between divergences. Not one framework language that drowns the others but one-world translation that actively preserves authenticity, rejects business exploitation and encourages meaningful communication among and across disparate groups that wish to remain that way. This is where this post breaks into the current topic: I want to maintain a transparent interface!

A big part of what I request above is preserving the technicalities from ownership – but even hacking is becoming part of the mythology and marketing (as Goggins (2009) points out of iPhone 3G hacking: “…it could be argued that these unauthorized adaptations… played into the mythos of the device.” As well as the paid crowd lining up to help line the pockets of very wealthy business-persons and large stockholders. It isn’t my sole intention to black-wash any particular company, for one, there is too much happening and interspersed to equalise  – I also don’t want governments to regulate with more rules than wisdom. It’s the innocence of cultural groups in our and next generations (if I can please reclaim this from the telcos) whose exuberance for existence can more directly benefit all and not just the glutinous businesses of yesterday. We can embrace the energy of youthful identity building by educating for dynamism instead of social control.

[Supplemental – TO: The marketing/pr and advertising, business modellers of the near future: I say, serve yourselves if you like; try to figure out who you really serve while you’re at it, but you like me will die shortly. Unless you really need it to hurt, and that is fine, but there isn’t a need to cut yourself promoting your favourite brand.]

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