A quick thought on disintermediation

I hugely appreciated Russell Willis Taylor’s rallying cry at No Boundaries 2014 for all sorts of reasons. She is a wonderful, passionate and lucid speaker who had me cheering her words. The question of disintermediation, though, is an interesting one. I think it’s a mirage. We like to believe that social technology takes out the middleman, enabling direct and authentic communication. But technology is precisely a mediating structure. The trend towards apps and mobile operating systems locks down ever more of our own ability to shape our interactions. Communication is increasingly squished and constricted through off-the-shelf corsetry – Facebook’s depressing ‘Like’ function being a case in point. Technology does incredible things for communication across geographies and cultures – No Boundaries was a superb example. Away from these advanced set-ups though, it increases the scope and diversity of reach of communication but not necessarily its depth, quality or authenticity.

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