It has been said before: companies like Apple and Google are founded on classic hippie ideals like love, happiness and belonging. These companies want to sell big for more than just revenue and profit, they want everyone, all of their users, to be part of their network and feel togetherness. Of course it is not a free ride. Inclusion goes hand in hand with exclusion and from the perspective of a commercial company one cannot be part of multiple communities at the same time. Technological promiscuity is not allowed. In that sense it is good that many people identify themselves so much with the technology they are using that it would feel like an act of treason to combine products from multiple companies.
But digital communities and identities have gradually replaced the physical ones. Less than three decades ago punk concerts were visited by kids who looked like punks, acted like punks were punks in a very real sense. Of course not all were poor, of course there were plenty who had a future, but there was a real physical community with a real physical identity and real physical contact. Now you can go to a concert, any concert, and all people look the same. The blend of people is the same everywhere with the exception, maybe, of kid events like Justin Bieber or Katy Perry concerts.
In this day and age all of our connections have become temporary, brought on by the event rather than some notion of self. The power of the connection is just as strong, the wish to belong never disappeared, it’s just that no single community is permanent anymore, we just hop from one flower to the other. We used to despise ‘best of’ type of concerts. We didn’t want to hear the same as everyone else; better to experience an obscure B-side for the first time than to listen to a collection of MTV friendly hits. That’s all gone, we now want the greatest good for the greatest many, and we want to sing along with. That’s why we beg a band like Radiohead to play ‘Creep’. We want the sing along opportunity, even though singing along with that song is a bit weird, creepy even. It’s just for our feeling of togetherness, for our moment of being one big happy family.Tweet