Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Media Literacy And the Quantisation of Media Ecology

Media Literacy is a misleading term.

First of all media “literacy” is a partial oxymoron. While you can become “literate” in chirographic (alphabetic) or print media, by definition you cannot become “literate” in electronic media and if you are only “literate” in digital media, you are only partly “literate” in digital media.

Second, Media Ecology is actually a call to inaction. I mean that in the best possible way. Media Ecology asks us not to be unreflectively responsive to the influence or bias of any given medium, but rather to understand the implications of those influences and biases in order to decide whether they should be embraced or resisted.

Personally, I prefer Media Quantisation. Neil Postman used to tell the story of the three baseball umpires. 

The first umpire says “I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em.”

The second umpire says “I calls ‘em as they are.”

The third umpire says “They ain’t nothin’ until I calls ‘em!”

We can’t address the impact of a medium until we can see it AS a medium. The act of seeing it changes it into something else. Until then, we are all just Neo stuck in the Matrix.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Today’s Media Ecology Lesson

All cultures manufacture consent, ie. a shared mythology, employing the medium of communication available to them. 


Time binding cultures set their rules and beliefs in a durable medium like stone. 

Think Egyptian. 


Space binding cultures use portable media like papyrus or paper to transmit their message of manufactured consent across the space they control. Think Roman. 


Our electronic and digital media are perhaps the first technologies that enable the binding of time AND space, though the bias of the electronic broadcast media was centralized messaging while the bias of digital network media is decentralized messaging.


New media technologies threaten the hegemony of the existing manufactured consent, leading to the type of disruptions that we experience today in our public sphere.  Marshall McLuhan suggested that a paradigm shift such as we are currently experiencing almost always leads to violence as men and women struggle to create a new identity within the affordances of the rising medium and hence a new public shared consent mythos.


That loss of the previous shared mythos is what creates the fear and despair of both the oppressors AND the oppressed. It is NOT caused by economic or social inequality, political oppression or religious differences, though it may be expressed through them. My understanding is that revolutions are often led by members of the ruling or favored class who use the despair of the populace to affect political change. The techniques they use to manufacture the new consent are determined by the affordances and the biases of the media they employ.


Shared consent is created by the stories people tell each other explicitly and implicitly through their media of communication. Control the stories people tell and the means by which they tell them and you control the culture.



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A Compendium of Executive Severance Reviews and Notices


Here at last in one post are all the great reviews, awards and notices for Executive Severance!



First there Andrey Miroshnichenko's review "Twitterature – Enjoying Literature in Bits"
which originally appeared in the Russian language netzine Colta.

"The writing technique became a legend of its own, making the novel a hit. In fact, Blechman invented a whole new genre: Twitstery.
Blechman’s Twitstery has its own metamessage, too: Wow, this novel is made up of tweets! But that’s not all. There is also a good story.
Executive Severance should occupy a place in world literature as the detective novel with the most direct or indirect McLuhan quotes.
Despite the prevailing new media signals, this is a classic well-written detective story. Critics were right to note author’s wit and humor."

Then there is On Twitter Literature, my guest blog on the Indies Unlimited blog site ("Celebrating Independent Authors").

"I believe there is hope for Twitter as a creative forum. To challenge the negative responses to Twitter I conceived a literary experiment: I would attempt to write a mystery story one Tweet at a time. I coined a new term Twitstery for the Twitter mystery genre and created a Twitter account '@RKBs_Twitstery' as a container for my detective tale. Starting on May 6, 2009 I posted a new tweet twice a day, every day, for 15 months, never missing a deadline."



Then there is Jerry Seeger's insightful review,"A Novel Written in Tweets" where he notes:

"There were occasional tweets that I sat back and admired just for their economy. Wee tiny poems. One thing for sure, doing a story in this medium requires skill (and the willingness to drop the occasional punctuation mark).

It is a thought-provoking story, not so much for what it says, but for what it is. Which is something the story itself tells us."


Leslie Wright's wonderful book review in Blogcritics and the Seattle PI:

"Writing a novel using twitter seems such a daunting task, and yet Blechman persevered and did it with certain panache."


My Books and Politics web interview is still available. Starts at about 50:00 http://bit.ly/199KGDR

Glynis Smy's fantastic indie book promoting page where she celebrates authors and their books and many thanks to everyone over at Indies Unlimited for their support!


Robert Barry Francos' terrific take on the Twitter novel genre:

"The book is a fast read, short and sweet, but it is worth the experience. If the reader is not laughing or wincing at the pun, or noting a particular reference, you are certainly enjoying the easy flow of the novel.

Throughout the book, there are a number of illustrations that are perfectly suited for the theme, done by crack cartoonist David Arshawsky."


Insight from Jeff Tone of The Liberal Curmudgeon

"Tweets are integral to both the form and plot of the novel. Along with this device are more traditional elements: a romantic interest, an evil character and a suspenseful ending. Blechman has succeeded in giving the genre a uniquely contemporary twist in this innovative, humorous and entertaining “twistery.”

Kirsten Ehrlich Davies asks "Could You Write Twitter Fiction?"

Praise from Mysterious Revews

"...Executive Severance is probably best enjoyed for what it is, a series of loosely connected comic tweets."

Plus the following outstanding comments:
  • My Web interview with John H. Byk on the Art of Twitter Storytelling.






  • A shout out from Kirsten Ehrlich Davies on her blog Wisprings co.


Finally, thanks again to Paul Levinson, Marleen S. Barr, Marvin Kitman and Michelle Anderson for reading advance copies of Executive Severance and providing wonderful jacket blurbs:

"A delightful 'twitstery' - a mystery written in real time Tweets - that is compelling, entertaining, and shows off what can be done in the 140-character form with style and mastery. Blechman's delight in the language shows in every tweet - that is to say, every thread of the story. His plot is tight, tingling, and diverting. Poe would have been proud of the new form Blechman has given to the mystery story."
-Paul Levinson, author New New Media (now in its 2nd Edition) and The Plot to Save Socrates

"Executive Severance, a laugh out loud comic mystery novel, epitomizes our current cultural moment in that it is born from the juxtaposition of authorial invention and technological communication innovation. Merging creative text with new electronic context, Robert K. Blechman's novel, which originally appeared as Twitter entries, can be read on a cell phone. His tweets which merge to form an entertaining novel can't be beat. Hold the phone; exalt in the mystery--engage with Blechman's story which signals the inception of a new literary art form.”
- Marleen S. Barr, author of Envisioning the Future: Science Fiction and the Next Millennium

"A He Dunit. Sometimes a little verbose, but OMG this is the best twitstery I ever read. It's got everything: narrative drive, mystery, comedy, thrills, tension, laughs. Blechman is on to something, a genre as important to literature as the invention of haiku in rhyme. ..."
- Marvin Kitman, author, The Man Who Wouldn't Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O’Reilly

“Embracing the challenges found in publishing via the medium Twitter, Bob Blechman’s super silly story Executive Severance is stuffed with punny dialogue, clever character conditions, and a total lack of adherence to the old “rules” of storytelling. It’s a meaty tale told in deliciously rare, bite-sized chunks that I'd recommend for consumption to anyone hungering for fiction that satisfies. Well-done, Bob!”
- Michelle Anderson, mediaChick, author of The Miracle in July - a digital love story

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Halloween Thought

All ghost stories are optimistic, not scary. They assume we continue after death, even if our afterlife ambitions always seem to be fixated on afflicting or terrorizing the living.

If you were a spirit, free from the need for food, water or bathroom facilities and all the time in eternity at your “fingertips”, wouldn't you think of better things to do, like world travel or catching up with other deceased acquaintances? Imagine chatting philosophy with Socrates and Samuel Clemens or exchanging poetic bon mots with Dorothy Parker? What do any of them think of Kanye West? Have any of them ever voted post mortem in American elections? That would be interesting to know. Maybe you’d organize with other ghouls to protest shoddy cemetery maintenance?

Halloween night frightening might be fun, but doing it 365 days a year for all eternity would bore me to death!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Putin's Coup Has Already Failed


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Keep in mind that Putin isn't as smart as he thinks he is. For his social media machinations to be really effective, we should never have found out about them, but we did -- in real time. Mueller even knows the names of Putin's GRU deputies and how they carried out his disinformation campaign. We know all about his troll farms and his hacking efforts and we are now on guard.

Putin should never have selected a total buffoon like #WhiteSupremacistTraitorTrump to be his pawn, but he did. What an imperfect vessel he chose to overturn the United States! The catch for Putin is that only an utter fool would be stupid enough to collaborate in his grandiose world domination scheme that seems pulled out of a 1960's James Bond movie, so it always was going to be a lose-lose proposition.

Everyone not in the Trump Cult (and they are a minority) sees him for what he is. Putin underestimates the intelligence of most of the American people and the resilience of our Constitutional Republic. He doesn't appreciate the checks and balances scattered throughout our tri-cameral federated political structure, or the power every citizen has to resist. He was able to take advantage of a temporary crack in the social media influence wall and now we are alerted to his activities. You can fool some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

Putin has not gained sanction relief and probably never will. His dreams of a reconstituted Soviet Union will never happen. Russia remains a third-rate kleptocracy teetering on the verge of another political collapse. He has already lost.

Hang in there.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Statue of Liberty Protest as a Pseudo Event

Image result for statue of liberty protest

The Statue of Liberty protest was all about optics, not disruption.The people whose vacations were disrupted were random tourists from all over the world, not Trump policy makers or even his supporters. Disruption as part of a political protest works best if the entities being disrupted matter. 

Occupying a representative's office is disruptive. Marching en masse down Pennsylvania Avenue is disruptive. Blocking a major highway is disruptive. Boycotting a company to protest their political stance is disruptive. Working to make sure everyone eligible to vote CAN vote is disruptive. Showing up November 6 and voting the bastards out is disruptive.



In The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America Daniel J. Boorstin wrote about the nature of pseudo events. Boorstin defined a pseudo-event as an ambiguous truth that appeals to people’s desire to be informed. He argued that being in the media spotlight was a strong incentive for public figures to stage artificial events, which became real and important once validated by media coverage.

Shutting down a national monument is an optics generating pseudo event. Not dismissing it's effectiveness as a one day pseudo event, just disputing it as disruption or as effective in bringing about real change. For Federal officials on scene it was par for the course. They train for just this kind of thing. For families whose vacations were affected, it was disruptive. Is that who we should be targeting? 


It's not a question whether disrupting a family’s vacation is trivial. It's a question of effective protest affecting the parties responsible for an issue. 


At this point we don't really need optic events to raise awareness about what's happening at the border. All of America is aware. We need actions that stop the Trump administration from carrying out their racist policies. Inconveniencing Stature of Liberty tourists does nothing to accomplish this. I don't doubt Therese Okoumou's sincerity. I just question her tactics. 


There have been 700+ marches against Trump's border policies in just the last two weeks. More attention-getting actions aren't necessary. 


Ms. Okoumou's type of "protest", scaling a national monument's base (not to the top mind you, just the base), is really a sign of impotence. Terrorists follow the same logic. "I can't really attack the powers causing the problem, so I'll attack innocents to raise awareness." 


One difference between Ms. Okoumou and terrorists is she didn't put anyone in actual danger except herself (and the police who had to "rescue" her). Another is that there actually are other actions that directly affect Trump and his lackeys she could have attempted: 


1. Work with those people and organizations trying to identify separated family members. 


2. Document ICE's movement of children in and out of the Bronx facility and other places with 24/7 surveillance.

3. Contribute time to staff the pro bono attorneys who are working to reunite the families in court.

4. Work with local political organizations to ensure Democrats take back Federal and State governments in November.


I'm sure other more creative, knowledgeable people than me could come up with other possibilities.
Perhaps none of these suggestions would have been as attention-grabbing as climbing the base of the Statue of Liberty. Perhaps it was actually a valid "Kodak Moment". But perhaps they would have accomplished more.


Due to her grandstanding, Ms. Okoumou will be spending a lot of time in court and perhaps in jail. That time could be better spent.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Response to: Nicholas Carr's "How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds"

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Funny how Nicholas Carr's  "How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds" in the October 6, 2017 1 issue of the Wall Street Journal echoes Socrates who believed that writing would also weaken our intellect. Let me offer an alternative. Off-loading some functions to our pocket computers frees the mind to pursue other things. I have posted about the notion of the Human/Computer Centaur before. Chess masters have discovered that human/computer teams win more games than either humans or computers by themselves. Here is a link to a PARC blog "Half-Human, Half-Computer? Meet the Modern Centaur"about modern centaur hybrids.


Just as Socrates couldn't foresee the benefits that would accrue from a culture that could write things down, share thoughts across generations, etc, I don't think Carr can see where we're going, for better and for worse. He is looking through a rear-view mirror. http://blogs.parc.com/2017/01/half-human-half-computer-meet-the-modern-centaur/

Classic Greeks lost a vast capacity to memorize when they adopted writing, but they gained the capacity to analyze, to separate themselves from and critique the material of their culture and they gained the ability to speak to generations beyond an individual's death. The memory exercises we all were given in grade school are merely the cultural residue of a previous human state of existence where memorization was the ONLY way to preserve a culture's heritage. We think they made us smarter for the same reason we extravagantly reward our modern bards for singing love songs to us. Cultural residues are from a time when memorization and singing were paramount. There are always winners and losers when there's a technological paradigm shift.

I'm not saying we'll be better off in the "computer with a cellphone app future", but we can't really see right now, except through a rear-view mirror, whether we'll be worse off. Bottom line, it's going to happen and what we need right now are defenses against the trolls, bots and fake-news-propagating social media that exploit the weaknesses of a transitional population.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Note About American Racism: We Are All Racists

My former wife is native Venezuelan and I met her while we were both in graduate school in New York City in the 70's. We would watch American TV and I would have to explain the culturally-based humor of American comedy shows like Saturday Night Live.

One other thing puzzled her. We'd watch Harry Belafonte perform and she'd ask "Is he Black?" We'd watch Lena Horne perform and she'd ask "Is she Black?" In her native Venezuela, Belafonte and Horne were not considered to be Black. They were just like everybody else. Her confusion made me realize how indoctrinated I was by my culture's imaginary racial distinctions.

I noticed a "difference" because I have been taught to notice a difference. We all have been taught to notice a difference. We are all racists. Some of us are just aware of how contrived and ridiculous that indoctrination has been and how we must strive to overcome it.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Why Are We Fascinated By Super Hero Movies?

Why the recent global fascination with the super hero genre? Is it just the advances in CGI allows realistic portrayals of unrealistic abilities? I don't think so. I think as a culture we are contemplating the notion of having powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men (and women).

Marshall McLuhan wrote that all our tools are extensions of our natural abilities. The hammer extends the fist. The knife or sword extends our fingernails. Telescopes extend our vision. PA systems extend our voices. His seminal work is even titled "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man."
Paraphrasing John Culkin, McLuhan wrote in UM: “we become what we behold... we shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us.”

Super heroes represent the OPPOSITE of that cultural process of extension. With notable exceptions, super heroes internalize our tools. Superman doesn't need a tool belt because his abilities include super strength, x-ray & heat vision, etc. He doesn't need armor because his skin in invulnerable. He doesn't need a airplane because he can fly on his own. And so forth. (Yes, I know Batman doesn't have any super powers. His ability is the ultimate extension of normal humans. All his Bat gear makes him a super hero. As Joker/Jack Nicholson said in the 1989 Batman movie, "Where does he get all those great toys?")

What does that have to do with us? For the first time in human history our tools now allows us to extend our mental abilities, not just our physical abilities or our senses. Not only do computers relieve us of mental tasks ("computer" was the term first applied to human calculators), they allow us to offload those tasks, including memorizing, calculating and everything else they can or will someday do. How many reading this know by heart all their family member's phone numbers and how many rely on speed dialing?

Recently a group of computer scientists investigated which was the better chess player, the humans or the computers. Their surprising result was neither. Chess players who partnered with computers did better than computers or human alone. Their term for this human/machine hybrid was "centaur":

"In 2005, an advanced chess tournament took place that allowed any combination of humans and computers. Steven Cramton and Zackary Stephen, who only held amateur status in Elo (named after physics professor Arpad Elo) chess rankings, took their regular desktop computers and squeezed them for their purposes. They won that tournament against chess masters with superior chess ratings and even superior hardware and software. Both players had leveraged their expertise to align computing power to win chess games. They created a superior team comprising humans and machines. In essence, a new form of chess intelligence had emerged. Kasparov concluded, 'Human strategic guidance combined with the tactical acuity of a computer was overwhelming.'"-- From computer to centaur- Cognitive tools turn the rules upside down 

We all carry smart phones now. They aren't really "phones", they are pocket computers that happen to have a cell phone app. We off-load all sorts of information to our smart phones/pocket computers and come to depend on them to make calls, keep us up-to-date on appointments, purchase products and entertain us, among many other possibilities. Classical Batman with all the toys his billions could buy would have killed to have access to the capabilities of the little iPhone we all own. Smart phones/pocket computers give us powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal humans.

It is my hunch that we are all becoming human/computer hybrids, i.e.. centaurs. We are all become "super" in the sense of enhanced abilities afforded by our centaur status. Hence, we contemplate this transformation through the stories we tell ourselves about the gods and superheroes of previous cultural paradigms.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Why We Progressives Are Against #TraitorTrump's Proposed Space Program

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When I was young and people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always replied "First man on the moon." Then Neil Armstrong beat me to it and I never got over it. Now I'm too old for space travel and I feel if I can't go into space then no one can. I'm that petty. So you see, it's not about my being petty about #TraitorTrump's proposed space program at all. It's about my being petty about Neil Armstrong and my unfulfilled childhood dreams. I think there's something noble about that!

 Actually, what really happened to me when I was young is I knew that pilots were always the ones chosen to be astronauts and so I vowed to be a pilot. However, my nurse, being hard of hearing, misunderstood her instructions and instead of apprenticing me to be a pilot, she apprenticed me to a band of pirates. I never got over that either and THAT'S why I'm against #TraitorTrump's space program. I'm just that petty a pirate. (I won't even go into the being born in a leap year thing, which space travel time dilation would have corrected!)

 OK, OK. To be completely honest, we Progressives are against #TraitorTrump's "space program" because we don't believe him. Why would he support this one sciency thing while his administration is disparaging and tearing apart EVERY other sciency thing the government does? We Progressives believe he has neither the intention nor the capacity to conceive, fund and legislate an actual long-term space program whose potential benefits others have commented on. We believe it's just a PR stunt while he tears down our representative democracy to make himself look more the forward thinking visionary he isn't and less the ignorant, narcissistic, narrow-minded tyrant wannabe he actually is.

 THAT'S why we Progressives are against #TraitorTrump's "space program."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

About Bill Maher's Comment:

Before we condemn Bill Maher we should consider the fact that we are ALL racists. He is a racist. You are a racist. I am a racist.

That I am an unconscious racist was brought home to me when I began dating my former wife, a Venezuelan native and visiting graduate student. We'd watch TV and she had a hard time understanding the distinctions we Americans make concerning color. Harry Belafonte appeared on a show and she asked "Is he black?" Lena Horne appeared on a show. Same question. In Venezuela Harry Belafonte wasn't considered to be black. Lena Horne wasn't considered to be black. My Venezuelan girlfriend had a totally different mindset concerning race. Only someone deeply black, as in African black, is considered "black" in Venezuela. Others with lighter skin or whiter skin are considered to be the same. Remember, in the final analysis we're using the amount of melanin in a person's skin to make value judgments about that person. These are culturally transmitted learned judgments,

Our discernment concerning race are a totally learned aspect of American culture. We see differences because we are taught to see differences. As long as we can look at two individuals and decide based on appearance alone that one is "black" and one is not, we are racist. This also applies to distinctions for Asians, Latin Americans, etc. As long as we continue to distinguish a fellow human being as "other" we are all racist. That we have institutionalized that distinction, and we all, in ways big and small, contribute to that institutionalizing, is our national shame.

I'm not writing this to excuse Bill Maher. As a public figure with a national platform, it is incumbent on him to be especially aware of our institutionalized racism and the impact his words have in the time of #TraitorTrump. Because his unconscious racism can sometimes slip out on a national stage doesn't mean the rest of us get a pass.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump Advisor Tom Barrack Puts Lipstick on the Pig on MTP Sunday

Just watched Trump inaugural manager Tom Barrack on Meet the Press. Barrack is a slick character, good at twisting the truth to put lipstick on a pig. I think the Trump he described exists only in his mind. "President Trump's inauguration was equally brilliant (compared to Obama's)"

I especially liked when he tried to characterize what was going on in Obama's mind as he listened to Trickster Trump's inaugural diatribe:

"I was sitting on the platform and I was looking at President Obama and President Trump. You could see compassion in President Obama's eyes saying 'Wow! I really feel for you with the weight of the responsibility you're going to take.' And yesterday I could see in President Trump the glibness is gone. He feels the weight. He's there. He's going to do it. We all just need to give him a break. A hundred day peace treaty on all sides, his side, the media's side and it'll be on"

Great imagination and useful for spin and propaganda purposes. In some ways, with his easy manner and reasonable seeming demeanor, Barrack is more dangerous than Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer or the Trickster himself.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

"I Tweet, Therefore I Am" Launched Monday, January 16, 2017 on Amazon!

Please enjoy at a special introductory price and then post your review here on Amazon! 

Never has there been a more timely book or a more timely acknowledgement of there being a more timely moment to read this timely book.

Our Twitstery So Far:

Police Detective Arkaby thought he had resolved the strange murder of millionaire industrialist and bleeding edge bio-scientist Willum Mortimus Granger, whose completely severed body he discovered at the beginning tweet of "Executive Severance", Book 1 of my Twitstery Twilogy. Arkaby is a by-the-book procedural investigator so full of himself he tweets every particular of his investigation, even though he is not, and never has been himself a billionaire Presidential candidate. Though he solves Granger’s murder, Arkaby’s habit of tweeting his every move nearly costs him his life at the hands an adversary who secretly follows his Twitter account.

Imagine now suspended Detective Arkaby's surprise when, in "The Golden Parachute", Book 2 of the Twitstery Twilogy, he receives a ghostly visit from someone who appears to be the previously deceased Willum Granger and who offers him big bucks to find his missing daughter, Regi Granger, but only if he continues tweeting. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Still skeptical Detective Arkaby reluctantly travels to the Caribbean where he not only locates Regi, but also stumbles across the now reconnected body of Willum Granger in a Caribbean medical school autopsy lab. Arkaby describes Regi as "a cool drink of water he'd like to swallow in one gulp," but that may just be the Caribbean heat talking.

In "I Tweet, Therefore I Am, Book 3 of the Twitstery Twilogy, Arkaby and Regi return with her father's body to the States where a new murder mystery awaits them. Strange things are happening at Willum Granger's medical hospital and cloning laboratory, Body Parts R Us, where someone liquidates his brother, Farley Granger, in a gruesome and humiliating manner. It is up to Arkaby and Regi to solve this second murder and uncover the secret of his original mystery visitor. One problem: Arkaby is the chief suspect in Farley Granger's murder!

I Tweet, Therefore I Am was preceded by national best selling Twitter novel Executive Severance, (NeoPoiesis Press, 2011) which won The Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fiction and by The Golden Parachute, (Kindle eBook, 2016).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Machinegenation? Humans Marrying Robots? Experts Say It's Really Coming

    I deal extensively with some of the implications of the Singularity in "I Tweet, Therefore I Am" (available January 16, pre-order now!) but I admit I didn't think of man-machine matrimony, or "machinegenation" as I like to call it. http://fortune.com/…/human-robot-love-marriage-relationshi…/

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sign the Petition Demanding a Reboot of The West Wing!


Why settle for a fake real president when we can have a real fake president? Reboot the West Wing! http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/reboot-the-west-wing … #neverTrump




Understanding Social Media Through The Emancipation of Authorship

Social media can best be understood according to the notion of "the emancipation of authorship" proposed by Andrey Miroshnevchenko. All the hiccups, antagonisms and politically incorrect postering, including that of our Trickster President to be, represent the birth pangs of a whole society suddenly provided with the means to publish their thoughts, images, culinary choices and dating experiences etc. to a mass audience, but no formal training on how best to do so. We are all making it up as we go along, and as James Joyce wrote "His consumers, are they not his producers?" (FW, Viking Press, p. 497)

It's not just the sheer number of new authors, it's the rate of change that is upsetting our media, political and religious norms and institutions. When a five year old can get millions of views and make millions of dollars on YouTube reviewing his toys, you know we have entered a new era.

This first chart from Miroshnevchenko's "Human as Media" shows the sudden explosion of authorship we are experiencing as a culture


and is further documented by the second chart from Denis G. Pelli and Charles Bigelow's Seed article "A Writing Revolution"