Social Space Redifined

A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (Educator, Activist, World Citizen)

“The King of Pop has died”

This was the headline that flooded the media just over two weeks ago.  Since that time, Michael Jackson’s death, and in some ways his life, has transcended “the intersection of what we might simplify as technology and society” (Latham and Sassen 2005 p 1).  While Latham and Sassen (2005) may have been looking more to political structures being blurred by the lack of traditional boarders in the technological sphere, this case does clearly exemplify many of the points they are attempting to articulate.  Further, the reciprocal relationship that Sociologist C. Wright Mills (2000) first introduced in the 1950s and discussed indirectly by Latham and Sassen (2005) is ever-present as the world looks on, participates in, and feels a connection to a greater social structure than they had been before the death of Michael Joseph Jackson on June 25, 2009.

Humans are re-scaling the space of existence within the non-borders of the cyberworld.  Every day new images surface, new text emerges, all coded and stored for future use, as well as those immediate ones.  People seek out stories and develop ways to participate simultaneously with other Michael Jackson fans, hoping to feel connected in some way.

Whether the fan-dom or the technology is driving the interaction, one may not know for sure.  The very structures, digitized in the world of the Internet, clearly “exhibit dynamics of their own that derive from technological capacities that enable specific patterns of interaction” (Latham and Sassen 2005 p 5).

But wouldn’t the interaction be as expansive without the Internet and technological domains?

Possibly, but likely not.  There was an instantaneous spread of the information through multitude of technological channels.  Ultimately, the availability of (inter)connectivity through these technological channels has changed “the relationship between information and a broad range of entities and conditions” (Latham and Sassen 1005 p5).

The world, or the people in it, simply is not the same as it once was.

People are connected in an electronic space across the globe, an idea some have trouble grasping its full meaning and implications.  It is about the merging of the physical world in which one lives and the virtual world in which people are most likely to operate.  There is an “expansive range of realized and potential relations and actions that can unfold in and across such environments” (Latham and Sassen 2005 p 10), creating a place where a new social existence is created, an existence taken out of time and space as once was understood.

No longer are social interactions limited by the physical space in which they reside.

At the same time, however, there is a push to maintain a connection to the real world.  In the case of Michael Jackson, the virtual world has been flooded with people trying to sell tangible connections to the physical world.  A perfect example of how society, even with all the needed technological advances, cannot seem to exist without connection to the past and the physical world.

The social and the technological world are indeed interdependent.  In the world today, existence without one or the other would be difficult, if not impossible.

References

Latham, Robert and Saskia Sassen. 2005. “Digital Formations: Constructing an Object of Study,” in Digital Formations, pp 1-33. Princeton University Press.

Mills, C. Wright. 1959 (2000). The Sociological Imagination, 40th Anniversary Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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4 thoughts on “Social Space Redifined

  1. I love the title of this article. Michael Jackson was, for sure, the king of pop. I feel he laid the path for many new artists to further their own careers in the music/entertainment field. Connecting Mills to the article is simple. Everyone, (well almost everyone) has memories to at least one of Michael’s songs. People listen to Michael when they dance, cry or are just relaxing Michael played a variety of music for all different reasons. But the main reason I believe, was to touch a special part of someone, one song at a time. I know when I hear a song by him; I get chills all over and really “feel” his music. C. Wright Mills wants us to see the bigger picture, and that picture here is that the king of pop has died, but his music and moves live on in many people on this Earth all over the world, everyday! While using today’s technology and natural world, society has now come to a point were this wonderful, talented Michael Jackson is always going to be remembered everywhere, and at anytime.

  2. With this article what I like about it is how the internet plays a huge role on info for telling society on how things come about; where it can be true or false; where it can fool society on believing anything; where the headline for Michael Jackson’s death read “the king of pop has died.” Now with that headline saying that would catch my eye to open in and read that article to figure out how. With his death it was everywhere on TV, internet, newspapers, and at school. Where I actually found out for myself was online. Anyway, with the article I agree with it that our world is a physical world and is operated by a virtual world to tell us everything that we need to know.

  3. I do believe humans are re-scaling the space of existence within the non-borders of the cyber world. Without this technology we would not be able to connect with people from all over the world. The news about Michael Jacksons (MJ) death would not spread as quickly and create such a cultural shock. Also, in the cyber world, people are allowed to speak their opinions on situations such as the death of MJ by making documentaries on youtube.com to honor or hate MJ. As Bonniejean said, “humans are re-scaling the space of existence within the non-borders of the cyber world.” There are not too many boundaries in the cyber world and information can be spread quicker then a disease.

  4. Different countries lined with satellites telecommunication services and it only take second to reach the all over the world. The advanced technology shrinks this world in to some small ball. It seems like men are overtaking the territory of this world. Michael Jackson’s death news spread just like that. He was great king in the world of music. The truth is he died but the rhythm he contributes to the music world is just wonderful. But his memories never ever die within us because I grew up by seeing him and listen to him. That big pop star’s death flashed as breaking news in all the medias around the world. And with in second everybody started to talk about the pop king’s death. People could not welcome the news. My some of friends even cried. “Social Space Redifined” title is interesting to explain how networks and technology connect this huge world. And that brings information from all corners of the world to our houses with in seconds.

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