Aleks Krotoski asks if the internet has been gentrified.
Gentrification. It’s a constant cycle in the offline world. Run down areas with cheap rent attract a young arty crowd, business moves in when the area has a new hip image, and suddenly everyone wants to live there and the original residents find themselves priced out of the neighbourhood and so move on to a new place to start the cycle again.
But, we don’t just live in cities in the digital age. The internet was once a haven for freaks, geeks and weirdos, but now that everyone has poured into the same digital space, has it too been gentrified? And if it has… where can people go?
Aleks Krotoski explores how digital communities have shifted and evolved, through both the very human development of communities, and the technological changes of algorithms and automation that have like the highways and infrastructure of the physical world, have split communities and fundamentally changed how we live online. She discovers out how the cycle of progress has both helped and hurt us in the digital age, and finds out if the artists, the freaks, the geeks and the weirdos still have a place to call home.
Wagner James Au
He tells us about how the clashes between communities in the early days, but how it was not community conflict, but the creeping infiltration of capitalism, that lead to an homogenisation and gentrification of the Second Life world.
Andrew ‘Angry Aussie’
He tells us about how the Youtube algorithm changed the platform, cracked social bonds and narrowed creative output and allowed a dark and destructive element to degrade the Youtube community.
She tells us about her research into online social dynamics, and how the idea of gentrification can help us understand the changing digital environment.
He tells about ‘Airspace’, a word he coined to describe a design aesthetic spreading across the world, and how the digital platforms we use are influencing real world desires, and spreading a very visible form of gentrification further and faster than ever before.
Photo courtesy of James Chororos.
She tells us about witnessing the gentrification in Leith, and discusses how communities can find a balance between vibrant creative renewal of a place, without disrupting the people at it’s heart.
He was also one of the co-creators of ROFLcon, a biennial convention of internet memes that took place in 2008, 2010 and 2012, and he tells us how he saw a sea change in internet culture at that time as commercialisation began to manifest in creative online culture.