Open issues and further work

Little is known about the embodiment of virtual and mediated experiences. Looking at data of users it seems that millions of people engage daily in network activities. How such activities affect us human beings is unclear. Effects on human psychology, on how communities and societies function, on how markets adapt, and many more questions are open issues and subject of further research.

How does network reality influences the mind maps we make? How does networked reality become embodied? How does network reality affect our feelings and emotions and are emotions and feelings also fundamental to steering in network realities, or are there other drivers in the online world? The relation between performance of presence and imagination needs to be explored much deeper for being able to answers question like this.
Network reality is part of our daily negotiation for performance of presence, but most psychological and sociological theories are based on a world in which network reality does not play a role. It is unclear whether psychological and sociological mechanisms can be transposed to network reality. In mass communication, media studies and in net critique these issues are being explored, a new paradigm for analysis and design is emerging but is not yet clearly defined.
A confusing issue is that we, as people, negotiate performance of presence based on how we trust a situation with which we are confronted. Trust may not be granted for appropriate reasons and performance of presence may not be beneficial in the end. As in the Facebook example above, it is easy to trust Facebook because its presence design supports us to significantly steer in each of the 4 dimensions of time, place, action and relation. However, this trust may be misleading. Power relations in the network society are often opaque, but not less relevant. It is an open issue how distributed transparency can be designed. Also it is unclear how we, as individuals, are positioned in personal-global dynamics. Whistle blowers like Edward Snowdon and Julian Assange show how technology in the hands of a few, control many. They reach a large audience via the media, but little political action happens as a result. These open issues have great societal impact and further research is timely.

CN , Frances Brazier