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Digital Agoraphobics and the Digital 3rd World

lego prison

To say that we live in a hyper connected World is a gross understatement. Some research suggests that instead of the 6 or 7 degrees of separation between everyone we have lived in, current research suggests that it may be as few as 3 or 4. But it’s nothing compared to how connected we will become. It’s not inconceivable that we will eventually be 1 degree separated from each other.

1 Computer Mediated Degree of separation.

I recently read a post on Slate talking about the last surviving member of a Brazilian indigenous tribe called The Most Isolated Man On the Planet.

He’s an Indian, and Brazilian officials have concluded that he’s the last survivor of an uncontacted tribe. They first became aware of his existence nearly 15 years ago and for a decade launched numerous expeditions to track him, to ensure his safety, and to try to establish peaceful contact with him. In 2007, with ranching and logging closing in quickly on all sides, government officials declared a 31-square-mile area around him off-limits to trespassing and development.

Can you imagine living 15 years of your life in complete isolation? Can you imagine going 15 minutes of your waking life without some sort of text, tweet, email, phone call, text or other communication?

And it’s only going to get worse. What will this increased hyper connectedness do to our society and even our psyche? We have no way of knowing but I do know something. Not everyone will be able to adjust to this change. Not everyone today can deal with the level of connectedness that we already have. Some people will build the (anti) digital equivalent of a 31-square-mile around themselves.

These are the Digital Agoraphobics.

The effects of our civilized society and the stress this causes to our body is already well documented. What kind of stress disorders will we develop when we are only 1 computer mediated degree of separation from every other person on the planet? When we moved from an agrarian culture to an enlightened World we created the asylum to handle people that didn’t fit into our enlightened World.

What will the Digital Asylum be?

And remember that 3-4 degrees of separation we live in or that 1 computer mediated degree of separation we will soon live in. That only applies to the percentage of population that’s connected. This isn’t just a problem for people who live in today’s 3rd World because a significant percentage of the 3rd World is already connected.

The Digitally Illiterate will make up the new Digital 3rd World.

This is a topic I am passionately curious about. I don’t have many answers. I don’t even think it’s something we can really do anything about. These things will happen. Call it social evolution. I just ask that we think about the Digital Disenfranchised as we race towards our digital future.

Photo credit bProfound Whatever

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://twitter.com/foleymo Micheal Foley

    Did this post spawn from @mrjohndonnelly’s Gnomedex rant about “How do we get non-geeks involved?”

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/how-will-5-more-years-of-recession-affect-social-media/ How Will 5 More Years of Recession Affect Social Media? | New Comm Biz

    [...] one but I’ve recently written two posts on the longer term affect these trends will have on a subset of the population that isn’t able to adjust to the massive changes we’ve experienced or are yet to [...]

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