Chapter V. Scale, “One Size Does Not Fit All”
1. What does the term “abstraction” mean?
- In this book abstraction is about finding new ways to market your business. It is a tool of knowing what is next and using that to create success.
2. What does Rushkoff mean when he says that “[d]igital technologies are biased toward abstraction?”
- digital technologies function to create new abstractions and want to push forward into what is next.
3. What example does Rushkoff use for highlighting the idea that the “net has turned scalability from a business option to a business requirement?”
- He uses a music shop that decided to go digital and abandon the physical space. In this example he explains how scale grows when you go to the net but if your business is not set up for that it will not thrive the same way a business that is willing to become international would.
4. What is a “vertical” and “horizontal” approach to business?
- vertical- to do everything for one industry
- horizontal- offer a service that can cover all industries
5. Why are neither vertical or horizontal approaches perfect because of digital technologies?
- Both vertical and horizontal approaches face competitors and are easily undercut by the next.
6. How did scaling up result in a loss of manufacturing, according to Rushkoff?
- You cut your cloud and become some thing to all people or all things to some people. By scaling up your product may be popular to a specific group or just an object to everyone.
7. Rushkoff writes, “What all this abstraction does accomplish here on earth, however, is make everyone and everything more dependent on highly centralized standards.” Can you give a concrete example of what he means?
- People start to become nostalgic of the things in life that are stable. Without these standizations people become lost, for example: search engines.
8. Rushkoff backtracks a bit from his argument against the biases of digital media by including all media in the problem with abstraction. He cites language as an example. Explain.
- Language is an abstraction that became standard. Once language was a new concept but once it became standard everyone was able to use it.
9. What makes digital technologies “one further removed from what we think of as reality” than other media?
- Digital Technologies are a virtual space because you can not physically be in them they are abstract.
Chapter VI. Identity, “Be Yourself”
1. How are our “digital experiences” “out of body?”
- People feel disconnected when being digital. Behavior is depersonalized and our identity is lost as if whatever is being produced is anonymous or not accountable.
2. What makes anonymity dangerous and “identity” a “liability” in online spaces?
- People lose their identity and feel that they can post what they want even if it is illegal or unethical. Anonymity can promote mob or crowd behavior. When people don’t think they need to be accountable for their actions online they become a liability for themselves and their image.
3. Give one example where someone using digital media many “act without personal consequences.”
- Trash talking someone close to them, comments on youtube videos are examples that people don’t think about their consequences.
4. Rushkoff connects conduct in online gaming environments with Asperger’s Syndrome. What is Asperger’s Syndrome and why does he connect it to this form of digital technology?
- People who struggle with Asperger’s Syndrome have a very low pick up on social cues, facial expressions, meaning of body language and tone. This is similar with online gaming and any form of online communication. There is no emotion with just text, and interpretation is open to the reader.
5. What are the “real costs” of anonymity on the net?
- Content on the net is permanent and traceable so there may be consequences. People seem to think they are not responsible if they try to stay anonymous.
Chapter VII. Social, “Do Not Sell Your Friends”
1. What does he mean by “the coevolution between people and technologies?”
- Similar to technogenisis, in How We Think by Hayles, people evolve with technology and technology with us.
2. What was the original intent of the internet and why did it catch on beyond this intended use?
- The original intent was for the defense department of the military, but scientist found them selves using it more for social purposes. They were sharing content of new ideas and discoveries. The social aspect caught on over the military needs.
3. “[C]ontent is not king––contact is.” Cite an example that makes this point clear.
- The dot-com boom crashed and people began to use the net to blog, comment and connect. Businesses that were creating content for people were not as popular. But when people could create their own content and share and respond to each other the use of the internet felt more important to them.
4. How do social media cause us to monetize and exploit our friends?
- Businesses are using people to create a larger network for themselves to be social. They are turning people into currency through likes and follows. Instead of having people in their network communicating with each other they are using people to increase their numbers.
5. What then is the driving force behind our use of social media, really, according to Rushkoff?
- The need for communication and socializing with each other. Contact with other is the driving force.