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<nettime> Sad by Design, the essay
Geert Lovink on Thu, 10 Jan 2019 16:41:16 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Sad by Design, the essay


Dear nettimers, 

I am proud to announce the publication in English of the title essay of my next book, Sad by Design, published by Eurozine in Vienna: https://www.eurozine.com/sad-by-design/.

In this essay I am investigating the many dimensions of ‘technological sadness’. I quickly realized there are many, conflicting, emotions (as notorious non-Deleuzian from the Spinoza city of Amsterdam I am reluctant to use the phrase ‘affect’). I do not want do look at the entire world from the lense of sadness this or that--but it is a strong angle regardless. I hope you enjoy my attempt to overcome easy positions of rejection and contempt.  At INC we’re devoted to social media alternatives, for many years now. This political position, however, should not stop us from investigating the messy world as it is. Here a fragment. 

Best from Geert


"In the online context, sadness appears as a short moment of indecisiveness, a flash that opens up the possibility of a reflection. The frequently used ‘sad’ label is a vehicle, a strange attractor to enter the liquid mess called social media. Sadness is a container. Each and every situation can potentially be qualified as ‘sad’. Through this mild form of suffering, we enter the blues of being in the world. When something’s sad, things around it become grey. You trust the machine because you feel you’re in control of it. You want to go from zero to hero. But then your propped-up ego implodes and the failure of self-esteem becomes apparent again. The price of self-control in an age of instant gratification is high. We long to revolt against the restless zombie inside us, but we don’t know how. Our psychic armour is thin and eroded from within, open to ‘behavioural modifications’. Sadness arises at the point we’re exhausted by the online world. After yet another app session in which we failed to make a date, purchased a ticket and did a quick round of videos, the post-dopamine mood hits us hard. The sheer busyness and self-importance of the world makes you feel joyless. After a dive into the network we’re drained and feel socially awkward. The swiping finger is tired and we have to stop."

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