Monday, April 20, 2009

Connections are Poverty?

The buzz coming through a circuit of cool and informed people is a SXSW talk by Bruce Sterling declaring that only the desperate ( middle class to poor) need social connections -especially Twitter and Facebook. See: Let Them Eat Tweets - “Connectivity is poverty”. I love Bruce Sterling, see his point on this one, think its valid, but would like to turn the thesis on its head and say "Connection is poverty, and the wealthy may need it".

There is this Depression going on. If things slide just right -with combinations of less buying, a terrorist act here and there, failed governments, etc etc; we could see social/economic collapse in places named Florida, San Diego, or maybe the whole industrialized world.

The NYT article posits an old vision of Wealth as the privilege to not have to learn, communicate or do things.

Good work if you can get it. If the world slides just right, and a lot of things we take for granted are suddenly ad hoc, Wealth as the Village Idiot that Needs No Friends Nor Skills will be an unenviable and undesirable archetype to emulate.

1 comment:

The Serpent Lord said...

"Rich people don't need stuff."

Now that's insightful.

Most wealthy people DO need connections - either connections related to their interests (Bill Gates and technology or philanthropy) or connections required to maintain their privileges (family in a position to disinherit them for example.)

It is a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of the most boring wealthy people who are able and content to live as misers.

Middle class people need a few connections, but tend to have many more than they can use. They are pioneers in connectivity technology like cel phones and facebook because they already have extensive social networks to bring with them into the new space.

Most people are neither wealthy nor middle class. They have few connections but most of the connections they have are important to survival. When average people - the "poor" or "working class" adopt a social technology like cel phones it proves the technology is actually useful and not just a diversion for the already connected middle class.