Is Anyone Local Anymore
News websites, social media, apps, and immersive environments have increasingly become places that extend one beyond their physical geography. Therefore, places like local parks are becoming evermore important in their ability to connect people of all ages, in all weathers. These spaces create opportunities to play, converse and share real-time interactions which ultimately promotes social familiarity, and the social building blocks that help re-enforces trust, kindness, manners and tolerance.
Whilst the explosion of digital connectivity and the media has had huge undeniable benefits, social scientists are only now beginning to identify some of the widespread side-effects. The decline of traditional social structures mixed with an unparalleled access to technology has uprooted the traditional notion of community. People have been left to self-define their identity through reference to a myriad of media and technology driven sources, often detached from their physical whereabouts. We appear to be in danger of h become disconnected from our places.
Perhaps it is important to regularly remind ourselves that media has become the primary way of accessing debates about the acceptable cultural parameters of how we live, it offers a national and international platform for the negotiation, production, circulation and consumption of meaning. Because the media so strongly define the public sphere in modern societies, they guard the points of access to and privilege within wider circles of social power. In the sense that they provide the major pathways for communication in complex societies, the media are the primary machinery in the promotion of both social cohesion and social conflict (Curran et al. 1996). If we are not careful, we will lose autonomy and the confidence to explore social dynamics on our own.
image by: T.NOWAK