Lifestream summary, week six

This has been a packed and stimulating week. I’ve appreciated the ways in which some posts have continued to track back into ‘Cybercultures’, but more have begun to reach towards ‘Algorithmic Cultures’.

A trending theme through the week has been alternative, shadow or even deviant sides of ‘community’. This was sparked, I think, be my misadventures on my MOOC, which I’ve communicated in the mini-ethnography posting. I was ‘flamed’ on Friday of last week, and only reported it to the moderators on Monday, who didn’t take any action until Thursday, so its shadow hanging over the week has – productively, I think – informed some of my trajectories.

It’s helped prevent ‘community’ being too warm and cosy a term. Instead, over my postings, it’s been the realm for hackers, cyber-warriors (human and bot alike), pursuers of truth (and false news, and all points in between), for those exploiting, and exploited by, platform capitalism and the gig economy.

‘Community’ has been vibrant, uncertain, unsteady and somewhat claustrophobic – you can’t disconnect (easily), even if you want to – not while it has impinged on all areas of life, smudging away any neat boundaries between online and offline living. In a number of posts, it’s sucked in the law, refracting legal issues in new ways – and, also, politics, culture, society, economics and even the everyday practices of the home and family life.

Clearly education is implicated in all this, both as catalyst and as reaction. Even on the relatively narrow rim on which my digital life is lived out, digital irruptions have been a daily and interweaving reality. Here, education matters – a lot. Having started the ‘Community Cultures’ block thinking “oh, that’s probably FaceBook”, and so not really me, I’d now instead say, more inclusively, “that’s life”.