Digital Economy USRG

Creative Digifest #SXSC2 Speaker Profile: Paul Caplan

Lisa HarrisOctober 10, 2012
by Lisa Harris

After a career in business to business journalism as editor, photographer and designer Paul formed his own company to provide digital media consultancy to the UK Government, public sector and charities as well as business. His journalism and photography has appeared in national magazines and newspapers and his clients have included COI Communications, the Royal Air Force, NHS and Airbus. He is completing a practice research PhD at Birkbeck, University of London.

Paul teaches on the MA Communication Design and the new Global Media Management pathways. His research focuses on strategic approaches to distributed global media and communications as well as digital imaging, software and object-oriented approaches to media.

In what ways are digital technologies transforming our lives?

Real-time news and streams of conversation. Shareable everything and linked ideas. Always on and always there media. Surveillance and sousveillance. Disintermediation and kickstarting. Crowd-sourcing and smart mobs. Likes and Friends. Information overload and filter failure. CRM and content relationships. Expectations and ownership. Remix and reuse. Carbon footprint and server farms. Data-mining and personal archives. Personal and social memories. Access and control. Gadgets and fetishes. People and power.

What can the latest technology do for you?

Ask not what the latest technology can do for you, ask what you can do with the latest technology. The thing is not to separate ‘technology’ from the rest of culture, media, marketing, life. It’s a tool. A powerful one and one often not under our control but a tool. We can use it, reconfigure it, bend it to communicate, connect, mobilise and build relationships. Facebook is a corporate giant data-mining our relationships, getting us to generate value for for its shareholders and empowering new forms of surveillance but it’s also the platform activists added to their armoury in Tahir Square or my daughter uses to help her with her homework. It’s also a tool the Far Right use to mobilise across Europe. It’s not simple. No technology ever is.

 If you’re not online are you out of the game?

No, because like it or not you *are* online – in the networks of state and corporate surveillance, your phone records, CCTV and credit card movements in the discussions of your friends as they post photos of you or mention you. You’re online when your customers oct stakeholders talk about your brand. The question is whether you’re happy to stand on the edge and let those conversations and relationships happen without you or whether you get involved, answer questions, help customers and add value. Online is not separate from some arcadian offline space. Just as “new media” is  a misnomer in an age of ubiquitous computing, so the online-offline dichotomy is an illusion. The two spaces permeate and plait.

Categories: Blog, Creative DigiFest 2, and SxSC2 Bio. Tags: SXSC2.