God give me the strength to ignore the news that won't change anyone's mind, the energy to engage with the news that might, and the wisdom to know the difference.— Elizabeth Ayer (@ElizAyer) September 27, 2020
“The social industry doesn’t just eat our time with endless stimulus and algorithmic scrolling; it eats our time by creating and promoting people who exist only to be explained to, people to whom the world has been created anew every morning, people for whom every settled sociological, scientific, and political argument of modernity must be rehashed, rewritten, and re-accounted, this time with their participation.
These people, with their just-asking questions and vapid open letters, are dullards and bores, pettifoggers and casuists, cowards and dissemblers, time-wasters of the worst sort…Time is not infinite. None of us can afford to spend what is left of it dallying with the stupid and bland.”—Max Read, “Going Postal.” Book Forum. Sept/Oct/Nov 2020.
Review of Richard Seymour’s The Twittering Machine, which is worth reading in its own right.
“StoryWrangler instrument reflects our first step towards wrestling the day’s events into coherence. It is an approximate daily leaderboard for language popularity around the globe…
…Half of a billion messages are posted to Twitter every day! Written on post-it notes, they would wrap around the Earth’s equator in a neon hug full of politics, pop music, and sports.
At the Computational Story Lab, since 2008 we have collected a random 10% of all public messages using Twitter’s Decahose API. Overall, our collection comprises roughly 150 billion messages requiring 100TB of storage.—https://storywrangling.org/
“The hashtag ‘TooFarLeft’ trended on Twitter on Saturday morning, in part because of comments made Friday by former President Obama…Obama spoke at a fundraising meeting Friday evening and warned donors of the danger of the 2020 Democratic primary field moving too far to the left.”-Marty Johnson, “‘Too Far Left’ hashtag trends on Twitter.” TheHill.com. November 16, 2019.
I don’t use Twitter. But, I read this piece and thought it might be a useful corrective. The Overton Window for political discourse in the United States runs from the moderate conservatism of your run-of-the-mill educated liberal elite to the extremist ideologies of the radical right. If this is your starting point, then it’s not terribly difficult to be “too far left” of the bounds of this framework.
But, scanning through the #toofarleft hashtag, I almost immediately had misgivings. We need to redefine the boundaries of our political conversation, if for no other reason to diversify the universe of views, foster creative solutions to problems and make the conversation more interesting. It is clear to me that this is not what is happening on Twitter.
We need more people speaking with perspectives from the Left because that is what is missing. But, identity isn’t a perspective. Identity informs a perspective.
We cannot share our lived experience. It is impossible to convey what it’s like to be a combat veteran, mother, addict or any of the other infinite aspects of our selves that inform our understanding of the world. Yet, the arguments frequently offered these days take the form of: “As an X…” You’ve immediately reduced your experience to that one thing and you’ve alienated your audience by referencing an experience they don’t share.
Or, if they do share it, chances are they already share your perspective. You’re preaching to the choir and alienated everyone else. And this is true everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you a devote Catholic against abortion talking about souls, a scientist advocating for artificial intelligence, or protesting in the Extinction Rebellion, you have to start not with yourself but with the perspective of The Other; we all do.
This is one of the central problems with social media. It erases the audience, or rather, you become your own audience, with the rest of the world listening in on your interior dialogue. Why would we want to do that to ourselves or to the world?
I realized yesterday that the default sharing options in WordPress enabled tracking by Facebook and Twitter. I don’t want advertising or tracking on my site. I found that you can turn these “features” off in the Dashboard.
Simply click on Enabled Services and drag and drop into Available Services, and vice versa, for services you want enabled, such as Email or Print.
A greatest hits of Eva Victor on Twitter. If you use Twitter, she seems like someone fun to follow.
—Mallory Rice, “Eva Victor Is Making Me Love Twitter Again.” Man Repeller. July 17, 2019.
“Sign up for Gobo, link it to your other social media profiles, and you can take control of your feed. Want to read news you aren’t otherwise seeing? Use our “Echo Chamber” filter to see what we call “wider” news. Want a better balance of men and women in your feed? Use our “gender” filter to rebalance it. Want to take a lunch break and just see popular funny videos you friends are sharing? Use our “virality” filter to pick only the most shared content. With Gogo you’re in charge of the algorithmic filters that control what you see on social media. We’ve built a bunch of filters like these already, are building more, and have made it possible for other developers to add filters too. Sign up, try it out, and see if it changes how you think about how social media should work.”