Now let’s imagine that everyone’s social network is built as inevitable realization of the probable coincidence and that all these personal networks are interconnected and interact. What evolves is a highly fluid environment with extremely strong gravitation, where people and ideas which have something in common are mutually drawn together and find one another pretty quickly.
The environment’s activity is always greater than the sum of blogger activity. Connections between nodes add a quality that cannot be described by the characteristics of the nodes themselves.
With Internet sharing, the entirety of conscious humankind will be drawn into the web, meaning all (or almost all – excluding the inevitable neo-Luddites and hermits) people who are capable of rational social interaction. The entire volume of social interaction will be accessible so that this magical transformation of virtual quantity into social quality can occur. Thanks to its comprehensive coverage, any possible connection between people will not only be probable, but it will be inevitable.
The principle of the statistical inevitability of the probable can be formulated as such: where there is a sufficient body of responses, any wish will come true. With reference to the Internet: the acceleration of interaction drastically reduces the “sufficiency” threshold.
If, given sufficient web participants, a probable coincidence between any interests becomes inevitable and results in real social transactions, what does this mean for society and for media in particular?
From the coffee example what is already clear is that it offers a new platform for using coincidences. Timepooling services, using the same principle as PickupPal, but built within personal friends circles, offer a promising direction for the future design of social media.
Matchmaking services have already developed further along this path than any others. (As an aside, matchmaking services with enough reach would be one hundred percent effective if people didn’t lie in their applications). Different types of time-pooling will create new businesses, communities and even political movements, as was seen, for example, at the peak of the Russian protests in the Winter of 2011-12. If something coincides with people’s interests, it will do so in greater proportions and with ever-increasing frequency, not only generating online discussions, but also offline social interaction.
Any means of personal engagement becomes accessible. For example, volunteers also frequently look for “fellow travellers” – someone to take something somewhere. With enough reposts, fellow travellers are always found. In the most random areas. Any probable engagement becomes inevitable.
Any leak of closed information will occur. Wikileaks is not the brainchild of Assange or the special service (if you believe the special service version). It is an inevitability. If there are forbidden subjects that potentially coincide with subjects that someone is interested to disclose, they will certainly open up to satisfy said interest.
Any content that is of interest to me will reach me. If my personal network is big enough, it is inevitable that my interests will coincide with the interests of someone who has seen an article of interest to me. It’s not just that “I may get it” – I can’t not get content that is of interest to me. News, an article, analysis and so on. It will be delivered to me without fail.
Incidentally, this transition from the probable concurrence of interests to the inevitable delivery of a concrete text to a concrete “me” generally entirely undermines the idea of paid content. Paid content has no future not because people don’t want to pay or because there are no effective micropayment services. The reason is far deeper and more hopeless: the idea of paid content, at its very essence, contradicts the logic of network interaction. Paid content presumes the most valuable things should be closed. The web presumes the most valuable things should reach whoever they are of relevance to. Should and will.
Any subject that is potentially meaningful for society will be written about. With sufficient reach, the sphere of probably/inevitably coinciding interests will unearth everything. Specially allocated functions (that is, mass media) are no longer needed for this. Yes, journalists can also participate in the process. But with such a high volume of probable/inevitable network coincidences (and considering there is free access to publishing), we can already get by without them. At the same time, the subject’s complexity is irrelevant. The professionalism of the information miners and handlers is also irrelevant. If professional coverage is probable, it will also certainly happen – coverage of an important subject will attract eye-witnesses, professionals and specialists alike.
The elaboration of these ideas thus far reads like a kind of spell – they are so incredibly difficult to take on board. But they reflect the logic of a new state: the broader the web’s coverage, the more certain it is that each of its participants will find their interests or events coincide with those of others.
Tools expand man’s opportunities in the physical world. But the best tool for man is, of course, other men. Man is the supreme tool for man. In this sense the web offers the supreme instrumental technology, crowning and completing the entire previous history of technology.
Thanks to the web, man expands his own world not via a stone hummer or an airplane, but via another person. We enter a society where every one of us becomes an easily employed tool for somebody else. In full agreement with McLuhan’s ideas, the web, consisting of others, becomes for each of us an expansion of our own nervous system to global proportions.
The qualitative perception of the web does not explain the essence of what is going on. We are not dealing with a multitude, but an organism, the likes of which we have never before seen. The connection of everyone with everyone else creates a world where absolutely any probable interaction becomes inevitable. Will there be harmony? Or will society implode with the sheer volume of possible interactions?
Or perhaps some new limitations will arise, replacing bygone physical difficulties of interaction.