June 18, 2002

David Garcia of Nettime on the Value of the Net: Talking to People Who Know What You Desperately Need to Know

We forget how many people there are in the world who would benefit from talking to other people--people they don't know--who have some valuable experience to share with them. We are social, communicative animals. Here David Garcia of Nettime discusses how his daughter's double hip operation and recovery was made much easier by the net-created ability to reach out and touch exactly the right group of people

Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 11:36:59 +0200
Subject: Re: <nettime> where has all the bandwith gone?
From: "David Garcia" <davidg@xs4all.nl>
To: nettime-l@bbs.thing.net

The fact that the masses (all of us I suppose) "were and always will be buying dreams" does not mean that dreams are all we ever want or need.

When my three year old daughter recently had to undergo operations on both her hips, it was natural for us to look for what was out there in terms of the knowledge that a hard pressed Dutch medical establishment was unable to provide. We turned to the net to find what was known about her specialized hip condition and, surprise surprise, the really useful knowledge (that has been invaluable in helping us through this difficult process) came from a list and website made, not by medical experts, but by fellow "nitwits", that is ordinary sufferers, and carers pooling their knowledge and experience. For instance how do you change a nappy when the bottom half of your child's body is in plaster? There are good tips for this that even the nurses did not know. And the fact that a video of this process would have been most useful shows that the bandwidth issue remains relevant here.

Because the net is comprised of so much more than the official networks of power and knowledge meant that we had access to a network of fellow "dumb empty nitwits" who had all undergone (or were undergoing) simmilar or related experiences. Isn't this why we value the net? Why its different from all previous forms of media. It is neither exclusively a mass nor an intimate medium but valuable hybrid allowing us to slide between the two....

Throughout my daughter's months in plaster we have been keeping a video diary (the video diary form has become a widely used form of personal testimony which can, quite often, be of interest beyond ones own home). I am sure that if the bandwidth had been available many of us in the "hip club" would have been interested in developing the kind of preparitory understanding that only audio visual material can provide. Our case is not a one off. There is a vast invisible realm of vernacular knowledge and media production. Pit's wish to re-open the bandwidth question for social needs... is valid and important.

Posted by DeLong at June 18, 2002 09:49 PM

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