Why this Site Exists and Is Infrequently Updated
This site reflects my evolving views on the role of technology in driving social and political change.
Clicktivism is the belief that creating hashtags, trending topics and online petitions can change the world. The overwhelming majority of those virtual actions have no significant impact beyond increasing ad revenue for the platform providers. Too often this kind of behaviour becomes a kind of lightning rod for dissent: the impulse to take action in the face of injustice is harmlessly satisfied and exhausted.
To drive change you have to go far beyond clicktivism. You also have to question seriously your relationship with digital technology and your participation in what have becomes the norms of online behaviour.
In democracies, social media appears to plays a vital function in creating the kind of spaces in which people can talk. However these are not public spaces where people can speak freely, they are private spaces more like shopping malls than an agora and their commercial nature limits what can be said and which topics will get attention. Alienation, atomisation and the logic of the market dominate.
Social media can mobilise quickly and as such has a revolutionary potential in authoritarian states. But it also makes it very easy for the counter-revolutionaries to identify and find each and every one of their enemies, round them up and make them disappear. Pervasive surveillance is the hallmark of technological advance.
It does not have to be this way.
By intention, I did not use social media or update this site in 2014. In 2015, I posted and tweeted occasionally but automatically deleted each tweet after two weeks so there was no incentive to play the popularity game. My online behaviour from 2016 onward follows a similar pattern. After allowing it to stagnate, I deleted my twitter account in 2018. The belief that social media is toxic is now mainstream enough for me not to need to explain why.
For thoughts on the wider dangers of surveillance and control enabled by the internet, please see Digital Rights are Human Rights at the PS21 website.
Who Am I?
My name is Tim Hardy. I am a writer, facilitator and sometime activist with a special interest in the political and cultural consequences of new technology.
I am a signer of the Declaration of Internet Freedom and a Global Fellow at the Project for the Study of the 21st Century. In recent years, I’ve been involved with various movements and organisations, notably UK Uncut and Sukey. I’ve also worked with Arts Against Cuts, Disabled People Against Cuts, Occupy London and the Open Rights Group.
About a decade ago I followed my curiosity and changed careers from journalism to software engineering. After several years at the code face, I returned to writing. I now work as a technical author for a small software company in the UK.
You do not need permission to repost anything I have written on this site or to reuse my images for non-commercial purposes. They are all published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) licence. A mention of the licence however is compulsory and a link back to the original is a nice courtesy. If you have any doubt or wish to use the material in a commercial publication, please contact me.
If it is a guest post, please contact the original author for their permission.
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