When Digital Layers Reshape Physical Social Spaces & Change Culture.

Physical Social Spaces

Before we dive any further, let’s take a moment to understand what a physical social space is, and the value of them.

The Digital Social Space

Through the use of augmented reality technology it’s now possible to add a digital layer onto almost anything, which can dramatically change the experience of a known location. Snap Inc, for instance, now allows people to place art that locked to a geographic location, so if you are in that location you can see the art though their mobile app. Following quickly behind, Facebook just announced that they will start pushing a similar AR effects real world tagging.

  1. The control over a social space is now dictated by the company that not only controls the physical location, but also by the company that controls the digital layers above it.
  2. The shared physical social experience is on the cusp of dying out, which will dramatically reshape our understanding of the polarization & fragmentation of social dialogue & geocultural significance.

Present Day Reality #1: Digital Layers

As noted before social spaces have changed. I used the example of Malls & Apple’s Town Hall to point out the reality of companies controlling physical social spaces. But for this segment I’m going to address the Public Park which serves the purpose of value beyond simple dollar symbols. It’s here that people gather to celebrate birthdays, get sun shine, fresh air, and waste away their day among the scream of children on play equipment. Typically speaking public parks a void of corporate control, and because of this are bound by different social rules.

Even today it’s already possible to experience all three of these different items within the same space.

Present Day Reality #2: Fragmentation & Globalization of Social Dialogue & Experience

If there is anything that we’ve learned from the social media giants over the course of the past couple years, it is that they have some fundamental problems. These networks have been forced to grapple with the flaws in the system that they created which amplified human confirmation biases through the creation of feedback loops that shelter people from outside opinions. By extension they have fragmented society by blinding people to the reality that there are different view points, and valuable opinions that counter their beliefs.

  • Confirmation Bias — The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s exiting beliefs or theories.
  • Feedback Loop — We see more stuff that we like.
  • Localization — An understanding of culture and people that directly surround you.. or… the process of customizing applications for a given culture and locale. Think of it as “Nationalism”.
  • Globalization — An understanding of all cultures & people on the globe… or… the process of designing and developing applications that function around the globe. Think of it as “Internationalism”.

Locally Relevant Culture -vs- Global Digital Fragmentation

Ultimately people will begin to have deeply personal experiences that, interestingly enough, will only go to fragment a locally relevant culture by weaving global digital layers through the fabric of how we understand the world.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store