June 11, 2019

The Premise of Technography

Nowadays, individuals are able to participate in an overwhelming number of communities. This rapid proliferation of associations is a departure from times throughout history when someone might only join one or two communities during their whole lifespan. This change has brought with it many discussions regarding the challenges of creating, maintaining and breaking up communities. Perhaps we talk so passionately about these communities since they play such an ubiquitous, crucial role in our personal, professional and public lives.

I think that today, with a plethora of novel communities available to us, we have an unprecedented opportunity to examine communities and develop a better understanding of what they are, why they exist and how we can better tend to them. What makes this knowledge so important is the importance of community itself; we label our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, our peers, our nations, our digital connections and much more as communities, but we lack the ability to talk about their essential similarities and differences. Without this type of knowledge, when problems arise in our communities, we are generally unprepared to diagnose and address what is happening.

In this blog, I hope to explore modern communities, describe their structure, and evaluate their effects on participants. This approach is firmly multidisciplinary, utilizing methods from anthropology, computer science, sociology, civics, and mathematics. At first, the results may appear to be more artistic than empirical, but I hope to also identify ethical and quantitative measures as my practice evolves. I also build toys, create ethnographic material and prototype in order to demonstrate specific points. I'm not sure that a clear taxonomy of community will be immediately apparent, but my hope is to start moving toward that goal.

TL;DR: Today, communities are as vivid and varied as the people participating in them. They play a crucial role in our lives and in order to have a healthier life, we should try and understand them better.