schadenfreude online

I watched a film last night that disturbed me enormously, so much that I had a sleepness night. It all roots back to a term that the English seemed to have pinched from the Germans “Schadenfreude“. A New York Times article in 2002 cited a number of scientific studies of schadenfreude, which it defined as “delighting in others’ misfortune.”

The wonderful thing about online communities is that the provide a watering hole of many of us irrespective of race, gender, age, etc., to share common interests that generates positive energy and exeplifies the beauty of human nature. Unfortunately as with everything there is the other ‘darker side’ and this is the pull of a minority of people (or at least I would like to think it is just a minority) to schadenfreude, and how this can cause serious damage in our society. The newspapers publish based on this hunger. This is what I found disturbing about this film. The core theme was based on this, a base hunger to see misfortunate targetted at someone else online. Sound far-fetched? One of the film reviewers seem to think so. My research todate does not see it far fetched at all, just very sad.

Now link this in to how important is your privacy and imagine the damage that could be done to those of us that do not protect our privacy now and in the future.

Contextual search results

I just came across this search service, Silobreaker, that is quite interesting, it places into context search results. Silobreaker is an online search service for news and current events that delivers meaning and relevance beyond traditional search and aggregation engines. Its relational analysis and explanatory graphics provide users with unparalleled contextual insight into the news stories of the day.

Take a look at what I found on my book “Virtual Shadows” for example.

Changing parameters of communicatoin in business

You know that I’ve been studying an MBA? It has got me thinking on a whole load of stuff, things I sort of knew because I’ve been around, lived and worked in quite a few countries. It is good to see that what I have been thinking about, i.e. the dynamics of how businesses work based on the old scientific theories just don’t work anymore. It ties in well to what I have been researching, globalisation of communication. In my book I have written mainly about the social networking space and how to take control of your identity, and of course a whole load of other stuff too. However I have not linked this into the business context….

U.S. vs. Lori Drew MySpace suicide

This case is pretty interesting and sad. It is viewed in legal circles as a landmark in Internet law as it is said to be the first time the federal statute on accessing protected computers has been used in a social-networking case. This is a case of a 49-year-old Missouri woman who is accused of taunting a 13-year-old girl on the Internet to the point where she committed suicide. Although the case is about whether Drew violated the terms of service of the MySpace social networking site, not about whether she caused the suicide of Megan Meier.

On MySpace you can be who you wish, and this is what Drew did, she used a pseudonym of a teenage boy to lure Megan into an online romance driven by not so friendly motives that ended in suicide.

We collectively have the power!

After 8 long years of Bush – a fresh start. Visit the World in Action. People around the world are seizing this historic and hopeful moment to send a flood of global messages to Obama for peace, concern for the climate and for collaboration. The voices of the many have potentially the power to influence policy makers around the world.

In fact “we each of us have a voice irrespective of gender, geography, creed, education etc. and in the information society these voices can influence policy makers in our world, and help them to make decisions that favour the majority as opposed to the minority.”

Do you trust your government?

A very interesting article concerning the use of the government as a ‘trusted third-party’ in private sector transactions, e.g. proving that you are 18 or 18+ online. Vikram Kumar works for New Zealand’s State Services Commission on the All-of-government Authentication Programme. As he puts it, “… that means my working and blog lives intersect….” In this discussion of the Third Law of Identity, he argues that in New Zealand, where the population of the whole country is smaller than that of many international cities, people may consider the government to be a “justifiable party” in private sector transactions.

You know I wonder if the same could be said of Sweden with just a population of 9 million? I find -after living here just 5 years- that the trust that the Swedish individual has in the government is amazing when compared with countries such as the UK and the US. For example Swedes really can’t understand the fuss being made about the British ID scheme, In Sweden children are born with a personal ID number -you know, in addition to 5 fingers/toes and the bare necessities for survival ;-). In Sweden I believe that Vikram’s arguments are almost plausible, almost possible to work……Although as a Brit myself I find this a bit scarey…