Making the world better alone together: Recycling groups and flashmobs

The idea of being alone together due to media might at first seem a bit creepy: people get alienated from the real world and real social interaction by being always online, using their media even in company. This can’t be a good thing, right? As we talked in class yesterday, being alone together isn’t such a black-and-white, good or bad phenomenon. It has it’s good sides and bad sides, it’s complex. Actually being alone together can bring us more together, make us more social, turn into something good. So our task was to think of examples of how we can be alone together in media in ways that have positive ethical and/or aesthetical impacts in the real world making the world a better or a more fun place. Here are some of the examples I came up with.

One example are the many recycling groups that have been formed on Facebook. There’s for example a group called “Roskalava HKI” (Trash pallet Helsinki) which has over 12 000 members. The idea of the group is that people can share tips on where to find good trash pallets and based on these tips go and pick up usable and useful stuff before they get transported to the dump. There’s also a website called Sharetribe ( where anyone can start their own online marketplace in order to sell, change or rent goods and services. It’s aimed for both individuals and existing organisations, like the University of Helsinki, which has it own Sharetribe page. I think these kind of groups and websites have both ethical and aesthetical impacts, since it encourages recycling (good for the environment), but also makes life more fun (finding unique furniture on trash pallets can be a real hobby for some people). It also makes it possible to meet new people with the same interests.

Flashmobs are another example that came to my mind. A flashmob is when a group of people gather in a public space, do a quirky performance and then disperse after a short period. Flashmobs are organised through media, like social networking sites, and anyone interested can take part. The point of these performances can vary from making a political or social statement or to just have a laugh and make the world a more fun place. One example of a flashmob that got a lot of public attention in Finland was this one:

It was organised during the last presidential elections to support the other candidate of the final round, Pekka Haavisto. The flashmob was organised entirely via a Facebook group by private people.

Noora H.


Published by Life in Media

Website dedicated to the Media Life/Life in Media project of Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: