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I have seen that Tom Hodgkinson's article on Facebook (With friends like these…) written in 2008 is more alive than I thought. The students -digital natives- who hang around Facebook or Tuenti as if they were at home, are shocked to read that social networks are a social experiment induced by neoconservatives, neocapitalism and even that Donald Rumsfeld and the military would be behind this issue.
Sharing the subject, some friends and colleagues point out to me that perhaps this position still affects an important part of the intellectuals and politicians of the left. If so, the issue is even more worrisome ... and perhaps it is convenient to contribute some reflection on this matter.
Apparently there is still a sector of the European left that thinks that everything that comes out of Silicon Valley or some Harvard students (case of facebook) is inserted into the superstructure and it is closely linked to neo-conservative interests. With this being the case and with this type of analysis, it is not surprising that this part of the left is self-arming through habits and languages unable to connect with the vast majority of young people.
Blogs, the social web right and left
It comes to my memory that it was the conservative The Heritage Foundation the first to identify the power and impact of blogging in the political arena in the United States in the time between George Bush's two elections. In confidential analyzes, he identified the democratizing capacity of blogs and their impact on the large oligopolies of the large media groups that exist in the world today.
Today after the election of Obama and the role of social networks - in a very special way Facebook - and when we know that a news blog, The Huffinngton Post, surpasses the Los Angeles Times in audience and is on its way to catch up with The New York Times … There is little room for doubt.
He recently argued in a blog that Facebook could die of success despite its 400 million users (there are already more). Despite that laboratory of capitalism that is Facebook, according to Tom Hodgkinson, its business model is not yet assured and its predicted IPO by Hodgkinson himself has not come to fruition.
It is difficult for 500 million people from many countries, cultures, ages to be wrong. The left, like the company, big or small, has to start with very open attitudes towards the new social phenomena linked to the Internet. It is the only way to make a correct diagnosis in relation to these issues, to be able to delve into these types of phenomena and use their potential strategically.
Even today it is observed how the left - and also a large part of the conservatives - go to social networks or other 2.0 instruments with very simplistic recipes that come to highlight the skepticism and the mechanistic attitude with which they face them. Even so, it is not a bad indicator that they at least use them ... The worst thing is to ignore or reject them. In the Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Public Administrations, a colleague told me that speaking with the now former Vice President of the Government, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, he suggested that even if it was only to give a minimal image to the country, or provoke a little "demonstration effect ", the ministers came out with a laptop (“even if it was made of cardboard”) - now it would be a i pad- under the arm.
The subject is not trivial. Many small companies perceive guidelines and signals from public administrations that they easily accept or assimilate. We are on the way otherwise. That is, cooks -by the way very skilled in these practices-, housewives and other very diverse groups reproach ministers for their digital illiteracy.
And believe me that in some cases the topic is not anecdotal and goes far beyond the painful digital canon. At this point there is little doubt that the development of the information society in Spain has occurred despite governmental limitations in many policies carried out in the last fourteen years. And the worst thing is that, in my opinion, there are no prospects for change ...