[thingist] the thing with facebook

Joseph Nechvatal joseph_nechvatal at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 15 10:11:50 UTC 2010

Weird that The Institute for Distributed Creativity is ON Facebook and has 1,211 members... 

Joseph Nechvatal   

> From: w at thing.net
> To: thingist at mailman.thing.net
> Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 20:28:59 -0400
> Subject: [thingist] the thing with facebook
> Caspar Stracke wrote:
> > Re: Facebook links and interaction with social media 
> > absolutely not necessary  in my opinion. A Facebook antidote?  Despite
> > debates on privacy, I dont really understand the big fuss here. What 
> > has one to do with the other?
> > People come to fb to giggle with (or at) their friends or -as some 
> > THING members- becoming friends with Paul the octopus. That's it.
> i am always surprised how sanguine some people, who in many other
> respects display some degree of critical faculty, take the facebook
> phenomenon.  during the dot com years, i somehow got on the list of a
> focus group head hunter.  he probably thought the "ceo" of thing.net
> would be a qualified participant for focus groups that dealt with new
> online services, technical products, advertising and these kind of
> things.  i often gladly accepted, since the groups met in the early
> evening, not too far from the office, and included coffee and sandwiches
> and at the end of a 90 minute session an envelop stuffed with $200 in
> cash.  this is the difference, facebook doesn't give you free coffee and
> cash and behind the one-way mirror glass wall there are no human
> marketing spooks watching you, but banks of computers registering your
> every "like" and  aggregating it into mind-blowing amounts of marketing
> data.  
> recently some web sites popped up helping facebook and other social
> networking aficionados to "commit suicide,"  sites like
> http://www.seppukoo.com/ and http://suicidemachine.org/   (btw, the
> southpark episode is worth the download).  they all were hit with cease
> and desist orders from zuckerberg & co and surprisingly they all
> complied.  another indicator how media culture has changed.  we relished
> those fights and employed every trick in the book to keep going and
> provide time and legal wiggle room, didn't matter whether the opponent
> was DOW or eToy or Mattel.
> recently on the idc list an aricle appeared which i am reposting below.
> the author of the article notes the suicide phenomenon on social media
> networks and suggest an even more effective method of resistance.  stay
> on and just befriend everybody and like everything, just flood the
> system with meaningless clutter (not that it isn't full of that
> already).  so THE THING member you allude to, the one befriending paul
> the oracle octopus, is doing just that.  back when i was doing these
> focus group sessions, i was almost always bored to death with the
> products or design suggestions, so i  invented  answers i thought they
> might be fishing for or sometimes i just went for the opposite.  it was
> a similar strategy.  at least i was paid handsomely for my time.
> ---- from iDC list --------------------------------------------
> Sean Dockray wrote:
> Everyone now wants to know how to remove themselves from social
> networks. It has become absolutely clear that our relationships to
> others are mere points in the aggregation of marketing data. Political
> campaigns, the sale of commodities, the promotion of entertainment –
> this is the outcome of our expression of likes and affinities. And at
> what cost? The reward is obvious: we no longer have to tolerate
> advertisements for things for which we have no interest. Instead our
> social relations are saturated with public relations. But at least it is
> all *interesting*!
> Unlike the old days, when we could invent online identities daily, our
> social networks today require fidelity between our physical self and our
> online self. The situation is unbearable.
> The frightening consequence of it all is that we believe in the value of
> these networks. We understand perfectly well that our privacy is being
> renegotiated without our consent; the rules are changing in plain view;
> but we still participate! It is like a new form of money, something we
> realize is a myth, but we act like it is real and that is its power. We
> can’t leave because everyone else is there! Or because we are invested
> in the myth ourselves.
> The question is how do we extract ourselves from this predicament?
> Recently, some programmers figured out how to computationally do exactly
> this. By entering in your username and password, the software would
> delete as much information as possible, ultimately removing the account
> itself. It was a radical enough idea to attract the legal attention of
> Facebook.
> This software did not go far enough!
> When someone disappears from Facebook, does anyone notice? Does this
> software retroactively invalidate all of the marketing data that has
> been collected from the account? Has this person de-dividuated
> themselves? No, silence has not disrupted the system in the slightest!
> Social networks need a social suicide. In the same way that 99.99999% of
> users on Facebook don’t exist within the cloistered world of one’s home
> page, an invisible user – one who has committed suicide – is simply a
> non-factor in the constant and regular computational logic of the thing.
> The answer isn’t silence, but noise!
> Suicide on a social network is a matter of introducing noise into the
> system. It spreads viruses and misinformation. It makes things less
> interesting for others. It disrupts the finely calibrated advertising
> algorithms on which suggestions are made – for friends, groups,
> institutions, ideas, and so on. Social networking captures, quantifies,
> and capitalizes on positive feedback. It records and reproduces
> similarity. Oh yes, everyone is not watching one of three mass-produced
> choices; but beneath all of the possibilities there is only one choice!
> The one for you!
> A roadmap for an effective Facebook suicide should do some of the
> following: catching as many viruses as possible; click on as many “Like”
> buttons as possible; join as many groups as possible; request as many
> friends as possible. Wherever there is the possibility for action, take
> it, and take it without any thought whatsoever. Become a machine for
> clicking! Every click dissolves the virtual double that Facebook has
> created for you. It disperses you into the digital lives of others you
> hadn’t thought of communicating with. It confuses your friends. It pulls
> all those parts of the world that your social network refuses to engage
> with back into focus, makes it present again.
> Invisibility comes in many forms, and on social networks it is the form
> of a radical overload of information – a maximum participation. No more
> thought, because every considered click adds to the collaborative
> filtering algorithms that makes sure everyone continues to like what
> they like, but in slightly modified form. Click everywhere, click often,
> and don’t stop until you have disappeared beneath a flood of
> meaninglessness.
> This is a call for suicide, for the abandonment of seriousness and
> belief. It is a call to reclaim ourselves from the sad version of
> ourselves that lives in that bloodless village. Don’t become nothing,
> the singular point defined by an absence, become everything, with
> everyone else. Drown the system in data and make a new world in the
> ruins that remain!
> iDC — mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity
> ---------------------------------
> and if you are still not clear what "the big fuss about privacy and
> facebook" is about, here is a starter via bruce sterling:
> http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2010/05/facebook-backlash-time/
> ahoi mate,
> wolfgang
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The New Busy think 9 to 5 is a cute idea. Combine multiple calendars with Hotmail. 
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