it is official culture night after all…
Is that more or less moulding or blue molding our means of expression in contemporary online talking shops ?
While both ‘The Association of Internet Researchers’ and ‘Kilkenomics‘ – the world’s first economics festival, are in mid full swing in Ireland today, global social media and even the main evening BBC news still riffs on about Muskrat buying / slashing / controlling twitter. However please allow me to invoke archaic Northern Ireland ‘comedian’ Jimmy Cricket’s best known and thankfully long forgotten catch phrase: “and there’s more.”
A: Charge money for a blue tick.
B: Utterly destroy the nature of ‘discourse’ on that platform.
Anyone without a twitter account claims not to care about that little blue bird, others like me, having spent time on twitter over the last 14+ years treating it as the light weight internet toy it was supposed to be, just followed people making and sharing stuff, like an early form of ‘stuffafizing’ maybe, many of us now wonder why would we continue to give that blue mold platform thee one single and most important human commodity we each possess: our time ?
I for one no longer want to dip my brain into its increasingly corrosive stream, there was once a real sense of fun or playfulness about Twitter, that’s gone, and certainly when we learned that the new CEO just cut 50% of it’s workforce, you gotta ask where will it all lead and am I really that interested or invested in any of it..
Over the years with influencer influxes, brands landing, blue ticks etc, the use of account data as advertising fodder, behavioral modelling, golden graph guff, the once relatively unique characteristic brevity of the place simply blue molded into just another mainstream media tool, a tool I was compelled to teach to MSc and MBA students as part of their Digital Marketing Tools Strategies…. for that I am still doing penance in my nightmares where CRM and User Funnels chase me naked through the long room library shelves full of bright meaningless icons instead of fine classic books, all the while a trail of American ladies with bad make-up keep stopping me asking for directions to Hari Seldom’s foundation room .
Regular readers, I thank you each sincerely, the exclusive few souls generous and kind enough to use your precious time reading stuff here. You each already know that up until this point I haven’t really treated this webspace as anything other than a thinking out loud or writey waffling opinion space, most often writing across what would traditionally be known in academic terms as ‘disciplinary boundaries’ with often my own comedic unfocused spattergun satire anti-techniques. I would like to thank particularly those of you who have already signed up for my irregular newsletter… so irregular in fact you haven’t got one yet.
So please allow me to announce that my stuffafizing newsletter [ sign up on the right there -> ] has actually reached a critical number of subscribers (double double digits surprisingly) so in all conscience I must now devote focused time and energy into repaying your attention and kindness there.
I will also be accepting submissions for inclusion in what will now be my monthly(ish) newsletter after December 2022 onwards. So the first one in 2023 will contain a return email to which you can send stuff you might want included or discussed or shared in the next or later ones. I will share that sort of information every couple of months so as to allow longer subscribed readers / participants a kinda first come first served sharing basis of your stuff. You can let me know in the comments if any of this is a really mad or bad idea or if there is a better way to do it while keeping everything free and free flowing.
So going forward I’d like you folks to mould what the stuffafizing newsletter might become, obviously it won’t be about one single avenue of creative endeavour or just one topic but my head will be responsible for editing it into something coherent and hopefully relevant to what you the actual readers might want. So please spread the word to those who might care if you can.
Back to this post about the current technological fundamentalism underlying the capitalist seizure of other means of expression.
Those two current events in Ireland, AOIR and Kilkenomics have three broad intersections of audience profiles: people with enough money, motivation, and time to attend, those with a desire to network, and those who specialize in something valuable to the capitalist worldview.
Academics interested in the internet and networking in that community intersect with those who can afford to pay money to watch comedians and economists trying to out amuse each other in Kilkenny.
A single unifying thread is the accumulated or sunk costs of attending either of these events, which in the current cost of living crisis is simply beyond a significant portion of the general Irish and probably European, if not global population. My old bug bear Mark Fisher’s Capitalist realism peers over the firewall at this point to tell me this is just the way it is.
Each audience itself must be specialized… and the agendas driven by organizers and committees, not those sitting in the various types of what my dear departed working class mother would call ‘talking shops’ but the ideologues behind the organizations would no doubt categorize as world class events.
To become a successful third level academic in Ireland requires about a minimum investment of ten years in a university , and even then there are no actual guarantees, you may already even have the inside career track, since many offspring of academics, like other professions follow in their parent’s footsteps, it will still cost a significant amount of money, time, energy, and connections to establish yourself as said academic, and of course you will, like both the economists and comedians need to be highly specialized.
The above blurb is interesting, it does say and ask: “They use behavior modifying algorithms, mass data capture and surveillance to sell behavioural information to the highest bidder and spend billions avoiding oversight and regulation. How do we fix this ? “
Well as one of the individuals without the means to swan up and down and around kilkenny, I might start by simply buying a book at one third the cost of entry to the session discussing it. But then is this economics or the business of show, more likely its just more media business.
One of the articles in the latest edition of the journal of media business studies contains the wonderful keyword “Bandwagon Heuristics’.
Obviously heuristics are mental short-cuts, rules of thumb, anyone who has studied interaction will probably have encountered these specific ones. Jumping on a bandwagon means mimicking or piggybacking the actions or opinions of others, one of the major issues I have with how the internet has developed in these last 14 twitter years is that, despite the shift to mobile and A.I. etc it is no longer a truly unique medium, it has, as all media do, subsumed the worse of old media and all the capitalist implications that brings, the monetization of the internet has seen the same age old techniques again replicated, just in an online environment, do what your competition does, set up right next to them if you can, offer what they offer only try to add value or reduce costs, the build it and they will come is replaced with build it for free, hook them and then monetize it..
The internet is no longer economically flat, nor has there been the proliferation of unique nodes once envisaged, the influx of money has ensured sameness, the inventor of the capitalist production line Irish American Henry Ford you can have it in any colour once its black remains the bedrock of consumerist choice, on and off the internet, the fallacy of personalization and choice is still smoke and mirrors over the old media business models, there is no longer equal access or the encouragement of a critical mass of polymaths, only specialized media paywalls and gateways being erected for specialized people, the promise of the long tail broken as each potential node becomes monetized and controlled by capital in its various forms, the latest twitter stuff is just an overt example of it and it is now far from the original.
The means of production is owned by capitalists, the academy is also owned and run by capitalists, society has never been this in thrall to finance and the markets in it’s history. The 2008 crash which saw capital and finance become embedded in almost every modern state apparatus has continued to skew and pollute society as a whole. In my view now the only real way to discuss these matters is to take back the means of expression from the capitalists and refuse to buy those tickets or stay in those specialized lanes. Knowledge should be free to all at this point in human development, everyone should have the opportunity to express themselves freely, for free… without the fear that the money men will intrude and buy everything up to control it.. I am reminded of the conversation between Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut where Heller tells Kurt that he has something the rich don’t have… enough.
TAKE BACK THE MEANS OF EXPRESSION.
I hope to write a proper review of Annette Vee’s ‘Coding Literacy’ book (below) soon. It is among a raft of books I read again in an attempt to garner the current state of contemporary literary practice but more specifically the teaching of contemporary creative writing practices across the globe in the context of our current technological milieu.
Obviously there are not many Irish Writers of ‘Digital Literature’ nor numerous creative writers who eschew print, the print establishment or it’s feeder network of educational institutions in Ireland.
Ireland is still a relatively small place with 5.1 Million people (in the republic) and merely 7 Million on the Island as a whole (N.I. has 1.9 million). To put that in context there are 55 cities in the world with a larger population than our entire island landmass, so when we consider the impact of Irish writers worldwide it is quite remarkable that we still enjoy such a positive reputation for being poets, novelists, masters of language and spinners of yarns.
Perhaps because of our acknowledged ‘soft power‘ and our legacy of waves of emigration, past associations with missionaries, generation after generation of poor Irish people travelling across the world and bringing aspects of their culture with them, we have spread the stories of our little home. A home that has since become a lot more technologically sophisticated.
In recent decades the Irish Development Authority (IDA) have done a magnificent job marketing our country abroad to attract further technology companies to set up EMEA headquarters here. All major tech companies are here in one guise or another and there is genuine FOMO if you don’t have an Irish Office. Since the british car crash that is Brexit Ireland is now also the sole English speaking gateway to Europe for other western nations.
Two major currents are flowing here right now, high levels of both traditional and digital literacy. The latest wave of innovation to hit the tech sector here is focused on A.I. and various alternative reality, and Web3 technologies, specifically DLT and blockchain.
I wrote a short essay on medium called ‘Why A.I. Write’ about some intersections, specifically with regard to creative writing and A.I. If you do have about twenty minutes read it (or have it read by pressing the listen button there), then please leave a comment either below or over on medium.
I am currently writing a longer work that also examines some of the poetic aspects of Coding C, C++ and C#. As with the post title here I am planning to call that work: Ode to C.