[Air-L] Unlike Us 2: Understanding Social Media Monopolies and their Alternatives (this week in Amsterdam)

Geert Lovink geert at desk.nl
Tue Mar 6 01:44:32 PST 2012

Unlike Us 2: Understanding Social Media Monopolies and their  
Date: March 8-10, 2012
Location: TrouwAmsterdam, Wibautstraat 127, Amsterdam

Website: http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/unlikeus/

Book now at https://shop.ticketscript.com/channel/web2/get-dates/rid/7YKX5M9F/eid/122818/language/nl

Contact: marc[at]networkcultures.org

Unlike Us 2 is the second event on ‘alternatives in social media’,  
where artists, designers, scholars, activists and programmers gather.  
This international research network analyzes the economic and cultural  
aspects of dominant social media platforms such as Facebook and  
Twitter. Through workshops, conferences, online dialogues and  
publications, the Unlike Us network intends to both analyze the  
economic and cultural aspects of dominant social media platforms and  
propagate the further development and proliferation of alternative,  
decentralized social media software.

Whether or not we are in the midst of internet bubble 2.0, we can all  
agree that social media dominate internet and mobile use. The  
emergence of web-based user to user services, driven by an explosion  
of informal dialogues, continuous uploads and user generated content  
have greatly empowered the rise of participatory culture. At the same  
time, monopoly power, commercialization and commodification are also  
on the rise with just a handful of social media platforms dominating  
the social web. These two contradictory processes – both the  
facilitation of free exchanges and the commercial exploitation of  
social relationships – seem to lie at the heart of contemporary  

On the one hand new media create and expand the social spaces through  
which we interact, play and even politicize ourselves; on the other  
hand they are literally owned by three or four companies that have  
phenomenal power to shape such interaction. Whereas the hegemonic  
Internet ideology promises open, decentralized systems, why do we,  
time and again, find ourselves locked into closed corporate  
environments? Why are individual users so easily charmed by these  
‘walled gardens’? Do we understand the long-term costs that society  
will pay for the ease of use and simple interfaces of their beloved  
‘free’ services?

Unlike Us will ask fundamental and overarching questions about how to  
tackle these fast-emerging monopoly powers. Situated within the  
existing oligopoly of ownership and use, this inquiry will include the  
support of software alternatives and related artistic practices and  
the development of a common alternative vision of how the techno- 
social world might be mediated.

Facebook makes everyone believe There Is No Alternative, but Unlike Us  
dares to differ.

[8 March] Showcasing alternatives in social media: There is currently  
a multitude of decentralized social network software in the making  
which allows users greater autonomy to define with whom to share their  
data. Visit Unlike Us 2 and discover the latest alternatives (Lorea,  
Secushare, Social Swarm, Thimbl, TheGlobalSquare, Diaspora, Crabgrass,  
Social Swarm, Freedombox and more). The best way to undermine platform  
monopolies is to support alternative open source/free software. Get  
out of the Cloud, take control of your realm and install your own  
social network locally. Come along to find out more.

[9-10 March] Conference themes: Social what? Defining the Social,  
Artistic Responses to Social Media, The Private in the Public,  
Software Matters, Pitfalls of Building Social Media Alternatives,  
Social Media Activism, Critique of Liberation Technology.

Confirmed speakers and presenters: David M. Berry (UK), Frederik  
Zuiderveen Borgesius (NL), Philipp Budka (AT), Thomas Chenesau (FR),  
Jodi Dean (USA), Carolin Gerlitz (UK), Seda Guerses (TR/BE),  
Spideralex (ES), Anne Helmond (NL), Walter Langelaar (NL), Ganaele  
Langlois (CA), Carlo v. Loesch/lynx (DE), Caroline Nevejan (NL),  
Arnold Roosendaal (NL), Eleanor Saitta (USA), Max Schrems (AT), Elijah  
Sparrow (USA) and James Vasile (USA).

More information about the Air-L mailing list