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.”
Yes we’ve seen multiple tweets, ideological articles, institutional opinion posts about all that stuff, lots of them basically bemoaning the fact that Musk may:
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 .
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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.