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Re: <nettime> social media critique: next steps?
Morlock Elloi on Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:04:03 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> social media critique: next steps?


The first step would be to stop calling it 'social media'. It's as much social media as fairgrounds merry go round. Don't legitimize it by implying it is a medium of the society. Call it some.

It's important to understand the mechanics of how machine-fed deluge of stimuli affects victims. When driving car very fast, one focuses on the road in the front, because it's essential for the survival - not on the horizon, not on the scenery on the side, and certainly not reflecting on the past mile. The machine-pumped information has similar effects, reducing the attention to the present in the very narrow sense. While driving fast, if someone asks you a serious question ("can you lend me $100K?"), you may easily say yes or no without much thinking, depending on how the question was phrased, because you are focused on the road.

The sole purpose of 'social media' is to DoS (or DDoS) victim's cognitive abilities. 'Social media' is a gimmick, a one trick pony, a crude method to saturate inputs to the point of target's malleability. There is no deep theory behind it, there is no grand strategy, no ideology, there is no system, except for the obvious.

Attempts to replace corporate-owned pumps by democratic, distributed, open-source pumps, seems like using methadone as a cure for the heroin addiction. It has its own issues, plus heroin is better. It doesn't work, it never worked (see the demise of Usenet.) It's barking up the wrong tree.

Perhaps the most effective approach is to treat it as a drug problem, and 'social media' purveyors as the next stage of the business (after South American cartels and then Big Pharma, becoming not only 'legal' but tightly integrated into the governing structures.) There is nothing unusual about this, heroin itself was perfectly legal and reputable business less than 100 years ago.

As the addiction industry evolves, the relative number of junkies increases. A tiny percentage of population (< 0.3%) uses cartels' products. About half use Big Pharma products, and 'social media' has already surpassed this, successful even in places where Big Pharma failed.

The key question is: can we abstain, or are we going to look for a 'better' fix, to overcome the crudeness of some ?




On 1/13/18, 06:36, Geert Lovink wrote:
moral appeal a la Tim Berners-Lee the only one on offer? Going offline
is one thing, (and in fact an option only elites can afford).
Self-mastering a la Sloterdijk is a marginal reform effort from a
hyper-individualistic perspective. I still believe in vital methods to
mass delete Facebook accounts. This is in the end what Silicon Valley
tries to prevent at all cost: resistance and exodus. How can such a
momentum be unleashed?


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