Our society today thrives on interconnectedness. We pursue it avidly, expanding the scope of social media in every direction we can. I broadcast to the world what music I like, what news I find interesting, even the state of my love life without a second thought. I do this both to learn about myself through my choices in assembling an online persona and to make this available to others so that they might learn about me as well. But we do not live in a world that could produce the Ebocloud, which caters to “the primordial urge for belonging”. Interconnectedness as we crave it is centered around the individual. We seek to know each other, but not necessarily to unite. I need control over my music, my profile, my identity. We use social media to define ourselves as discrete entities within an increasingly large world, and any common bond we form with other users is secondary to the ability for us to personalize our own experience.
Ebocloud shapes our addiction to social media into a single leviathan, capable not only of connecting the people of the world, but physically influencing them. Rather than simply allowing users to interact, the Ebocloud begins to shape people’s behavior through the use of tattoos that release hormones to encourage ‘good’ behavior. This is a literalization of the way that social media can lead toward the development of a more empathetic society, as well as how our reliance on technology can come to control us. But while social media today can influence their users, they do so in a very different way. Websites like Pandora and Netflix which recommend content to their users will influence people’s tastes and form small ‘communities’ of users who are all consuming essentially the same content. However, these communities are not families like the ebos from the novel. Today’s users exist in an isolated bubble, only connected to their fellow consumers by invisible mechanisms used to recommend more content. I couldn’t find other Netflix users with similar taste if I tried. There is no brotherhood between us. Netflix has no moral investment in how we relate, and would probably prefer that we remain isolated enough to maintain the illusion of originality rather than let us feel like near-identical cogs in a much larger machine.
Ebocloud acts as a parable for the good and bad that could emerge in the next step of social media, but it is one that is unlikely to occur. The Ebocloud is an answer to a problem that the world does not believe it has, and as long as our society remains as ardently individualistic as it is today, I expect the world to move farther from its interconnected utopia before it gets any closer.