Technology, particularly global network technology, always brings with it some surprises, and inevitably someone finds interesting new affordances too.

Networks
The point about ‘networked life’ is precisely that it now consists of Knorr-Cetina's micro-global networks. The powerful (“1%”) have always conducted business in exclusive micro-global networks, which have often crossed international boundaries – even boundaries that were the centre of disputes and wars. So micro-global networks, per se, are nothing new.

What is new is that everyone who can afford to use a smart phone (and who can afford to be seen without one these days?) can now create their own micro-global networks, and even ‘counter-surveillance’ networks, in tweeted mobile phone pictures and videos. With x billion mobile phones, we now have x billion new sites and mobile presences of surveillance. No training is required – personal outrage is all you need. And personal identity has just expanded from the rather patronizing (and now hopelessly out of date) ‘individual’ to the fascinating paradox of the ‘micro-global player’ (in more than one sense).

In the 1970's and 80's, the radical shift in the agency of macro-global (high-resolution satellite) mutual counter-surveillance made it possible to bring the cold war to an end – quite simply, the cold war powers could see for themselves if the other side was keeping their strategic arms limitations treaty promises, or not.

This has now been matched by the radical shift in the micro-agency of tweeted mobile phone counter-surveillance, fundamentally challenging what Julian Assange called the ‘conspiracy of [elite, global] governance’. User-generated educational content is nice, x billion self-organising, instant counter-surveillance picture and video tweeters is a game changer. The mobile phone population is an unremarkable ‘organism’ that normally just goes about its day to day business, like an ants’ nest; but like an ants’ nest it is also easily provoked.

The ‘unit of analysis’ of sociology and political science has just shifted from ‘variables with attitude’- to ‘variables with attitude, mobile broadband, cameras and twitter accounts’, all in one neat hand-held package.