Rob Kall: Now does this apply when people are posting on blogs, or commenting, or -- how does that fit into when people interact on the internet nowadays? Because you're talking about interaction, you're not just talking about being a passive recipient of information.
DC: Yeah. In some ways the participatory culture of the net (blogging, tweeting) puts us all up in the authors seat. We're all in some ways driving the story, whether it's the fictional story of a Harry Potter fan site, or the non-fiction story of our culture, our Democracy, our brands that are competing. We're all out there talking about this. But sometimes what then we don't acknowledge (or don't realize) is, "Well, what's the platform on which we're doing all this storytelling? Are there certain rules that we've incorporated? Is there stuff that we're acknowledging or not about 'what are the limits?'"
Because if you're going to be Tweeting, say, then you're all accepting, "OK, then this is communication that happens in 140 characters." If you're going to be doing things on Facebook, then you are understanding that the only way to communicate with things or to hear what people want to say is to "Like" them. Right? You can't listen to Mitt Romney or someone you might not like unless you're "Liking" them. So when everyone becomes an author, then the people with true authority over society become those who build the platforms on which all this authoring is taking place.
Rob Kall: Content management creators? Content Management System Creators? As..
Douglas Rushkoff: To some extent, yeah. If you look at the thing as Content Management Systems, or social networks, or whatever they are. Or, most people don't even understand (or aren't aware) that each of us is getting a different internet: that your Google search results are different than mine; the things your Facebook will update you on are different then the things they'd update me on. And that's all driven by algorithms that are trying to help increase our product purchases and our clicks on various sorts of things. So we're ending up -- you're in these spaces that look peer-to-peer, and level, and open, but they're actually highly controlled.
Rob Kall: OK. So - I'm going to leave that. There's so much more in that chapter. It's a very rich chapter; if you're a writer, if you're into the media, it's very valuable. You're next chapter is Digiphrenia, and you talk about "Flowing" there. Another piece of my background is Positive Psychology, and there's a whole body of research on Flow. Is that the flow you're talking about, or are you talking about something else?
Douglas Rushkoff: Yeah. It's that flow and more; but yeah, flow is the easiest way to say it - you know, the sense of continuity, and movement, and really being in "A now," and how the increased number of choices that we encounter necessarily break our flow. Even if you choose not to answer the call waiting because you want to stay in the phone call you're in, the phone call you're in has still been broken! That flow has been broken by the necessity to make that choice at all.
Rob Kall: I really like that, I like that example. You describe that as perhaps the first time technologically that we experienced that sense of interruption from our more analog connection with people.
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