Ten commands for a digital age
This is a response to Douglas Rushkoff’s, Ten Commands for a Digital Age, because I think he got some of them wrong.
The original set are (and follow the link above)
1. Time. Thou shall not be always on. We are turning an asynchronous net as always on. He encouraged saying “My time is mine.”
2. Distance. Thou shalt not do from a distance what can be done in person. Using long distance in short distance situations. Don’t use distance learning in localized context.
3. Scale – the Internet is biased to scale up. Exalt the particular. Not everything scales, should scale or needs to scale.
4. Discrete – everything is a choice. You may always choose none of the above. Sites like Facebook promote forced choice, you have to choose from a set of options.
5. Complexity – the net reduces complexity. Thou shalt never be completely right.
6. Non-corporeal – out of body. Thou shalt not be anonymous. Rushkoff says “work against tendency of the net to promote anonymity.” Anonymity encourages becoming part of polarized mobs with no sense of consequence, it side steps prejudices. It is liberating to promote yourself online.
7. Contact is king (not content). Remember the humans. “Social marketing is an oxymoron.”
8. Abstraction – as above, so not below. Print abstracts text from the scribe. Hypertext takes it a step further.
9. Openness. Thou shalt not steal. When there is no social contract, openness can continue until there is no one left to give things away. Nothing is free.
10. End users – technology is biased toward consumers. Programmed or be programmed.
I think these are more productive, and more accurate:
1. Time. Thou shall not be always on. Though shall not always be off. Finding people who are never available synchronously is pretty irritating. Having people who demand synchronous communication is too. People can’t stand that I have no work phone. Why should I when it means you can phone me at any time? Skype goes on when I’m ready to be called, and goes off when I’m not.
2. Distance. Thou shall not do face-to-face what you can do at a distance. Why travel to a meeting when you can videoconference? It’s a waste of time and petrol. Sometimes it’s worth it, but not every time. Get to know my avatar (he’s better looking than me anyway).
3. The long tail. Being online is about talking to the particular, not everyone. Help them find you, learn to find them.
4. Personalise. Get to use the features and tech you want, and try not to get sucked into the stuff you don’t. No I will not work on your farm.
5. Complexity. The net increases complexity. There are more opinions and more information than you know what to do with.
6. There is no rule 6.
7. Be master of your own identity. Use the privacy settings. Embrace pseudonymity, create multiple identities. Try not to mix them up.
8. Contact is king (not content). Remember the humans.
Elearning is not just dumping your lecture notes in Blackbored.
9. Openness. Thou shalt not own. Property is theft. When everything is given away there is no-one left to steal.
10. Program or be programmed. The 20th century was a battle between those who resisted technological change, and those who wanted the technological age. The neo-luddites lost. Deal with it.