- Information Markets: Messages + Marketing, Anonymity + Authentication
- Rational Media as Alternative Currency
- People who almost exclusively base their existence on retard media find the term unacceptable
- The Whole 99% is Watching
- Science vs. Pseudo-Science
- Social Sustainability
- Social Keywords
- The Intention Economy
- The Victory of Machines over Humans
- For Highly Educated, Highly Skilled, Highly Trained Experts the Curation Myth and the Employment Myth are Two Sides of the Same Coin
- Billions and Billions of Clueless People
- Some Reflections on the Revolution in Literacy
- Network Effect vs. Community Engagement
- One Explanation Why People Still Use Retard Media Websites: They Want a Biased Opinion
- Belief in Brands vs. Belief in Language
- All the World’s Millions of Stages
- Your One-Track Mind vs. Pavlovian Commerce
- Owned vs. pwnd
- Chloe Thurlow agrees that so-called “social media” probably makes you stupid
- Brand Identity vs. Topical Engagement: A Case Study
- Opportunity makers with + for others — doing something smarter together for the greater good
- Please Help Me to Figure Out Rewards + Rewarding Behavior in the Labor Market Economy
- Relativity + Relativism vs. Social Order
- Why Most Social Media Websites Fail
- Making + Breaking Connections + Relationships
- The Millennial Media Landscape
- Small Group Behavior + Social Media Networking
- Literacy = Social Usability
- Private Individuals, Social Groups, Publishing Publics, Publicity + Society
- Media Concentration, Mind Share, Free Markets and Market Sharing
- Start Here
Tagsad ads advertising AI algorithm algorithms artificial intelligence brand branding brand name brand names brands communication communities community consumer consumers corporate corporation corporations development economic economics economy education engage engagement illiteracy illiterate individual individuals information language literacy literate Ludwig Wittgenstein market marketing markets natural language retard media search social social media society
Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel as though there was a great deal of revolutionary enthusiasm for the notion of alternative currencies a decade ago (even before the financial crisis), but that there is now not even a murmur of interest in this area.
I find this quite odd – especially since there is so much talk about „big data“. How can it be that with so much data in the world, there doesn’t appear to be one iota of significance in it that is comparable to the „almighty dollar“, the bang for the buck, the global standard unit of money?
Well, in fact there is – it’s just that most people don’t know about it… at least not yet.
The reason they don’t know about it is because they are by and large illiterate. The reason they are illiterate is because their teachers hadn’t taught them anything about it. The reason their teachers didn’t teach their children well is that nobody had taught them anything about it either. The reason nobody had taught them was that nobody knew – or at least it seems like nobody thought that far to the conclusion of what would happen if the world they were building actually become the real world… the reality that is just now really coming into existence.
Last week, I wrote about one example of this: the new BLOG.
Today, I would like to widen the scope.
We could argue whether terms like „blog“ (or „app“) are real words or not. Odd as it may seem, I myself am actually quite hesitant to view natural language as something that can be defined and/or controlled by single organizations (such as WordPress or Google). Lest you think this might be some kind of secluded cyber-fantasy, you might do well to consider that thousands of organizations are doing the very same thing, including for example household brand names like Johnson&Johnson (who now own „baby“) or Amazon (who already own many names, including „book“ and „song“), and also many governments such as the City of New York (which owns „nyc“).
Note that ownership is a socially constructed concept – and as such it is quite comparable to the value of the greenback mentioned above. What is or isn’t an app – at least something like „something.app“ – will be for Google to decide, much in the same manner that money is a matter that has traditionally been regulated by governments.
I have written quite a bit about issues related to the meaning of such top-level domains and also whether they should be considered „generic“ or „proprietary“. Today, I want to emphasize (or re-emphasize) that this is basically a choice … of belonging or not belonging to a community. Just as using a monetary unit such as the US dollar is a matter of engaging with the community in the United States (and/or as using Chinese money is a matter of engaging with the community in China), so too is choosing to use „app“ or „blog“ or „book“ or „song“ a matter of engaging with the corresponding corporations and corporate governance, rules, regulations, etc. Some organizations will be more open (and „generic“), other organizations will be more closed (and „proprietary“), but in any case choosing to engage is always going to be a matter of community engagement.
In that sense, exchanging or trading in „app“ or „book is very similar to trading in euros or dollars … and in that vein, these top-level domains will function very much like trading or exchanging in alternative currencies.
I have found there is widespread disapproval to the term „retard media“.
I find the disapproval is mostly down to people basing their identity, their social status, their character, etc. on the image of themselves presented in such media. They don’t care that the technology is retarded; or they do care – but mostly insofar as they do not wish their own name to be blemished with a term like „retarded“.
Apparently, they feel unable to liberate and/or emancipate themselves from brand names which they think are accepted by a sort of moral majority. They seem relatively unaffected by their own lacking literacy skills. They are much more concerned about how their image is affected. They do not want to promote scientific knowledge, transparency or the greater good. They want the optimized version of themselves – their „selfie“ image – to dupe people into thinking they are a celebrity, a wizard, a star or whatever.
Perhaps a concrete example will help to clarify the issue.
Alfred Nobel was the dude who started the Nobel Prize business. He also made a lot of money by selling explosives – in other words: his name is very closely associated with death, destruction, chaos, etc. So this guy comes up with a spectacular marketing gimmick: Give away prizes, and thereby cleanse his image as a result of how much people associate his name with wonderful people – the celebrated celebrities.
Mr. Nobel is long gone, but his prizes live on. I find it rather curious to consider how much money can be made from this explosive stuff, but apparently at least enough to pay for galas, ceremonies, all sorts of celebrations, let alone the prizes themselves. Then again, there are many people who will write about the whole circus, and so that is money the Nobel organization doesn’t have to spend on advertising. People who buy explosives from Nobel can rest assured that the money is going to an apparently „good cause“.
When Bob Dylan stepped onto stages a half a century ago, he would be very critical of such „Masters of War“. Today, he seems to be much more willing to accept their praise. It will be interesting to see / hear / read / whatever what this protest singer doth say about his literary past, and how he reconciles it with his more receptive present.
The point here is that „Nobel“ is simply a brand name – it is empty and meaningless… and as such it is an example of retard media par exellence. People may be able to fill it with shedloads of grandiose blather and hot air, but to a rational thinker – someone who has acquired enough literacy skills to see through the mind-numbing propaganda spiel – it remains empty and meaningless. Yet if Mr. Zimmerman is able to sell some more albums and perhaps a couple of books by graciously smiling and accepting the prize, then what would you expect a shrewd businessman to do?
He would probably do much the same thing that advocates of other retard media do: seek to profit from the promotional advertising for their own goods, products and services… and never once mention how incredibly bogus retard media truly is.
Over the years, I have noticed a split between the type of people who pay attention to stuff that „happens“ online and those who don’t. They are not evenly split 50-50, at least not by population.
The main difference I have noticed is that those people who are less disposed to paying attention are those who feel they have something to lose – not necessarily by participating online, but rather more in general. In contrast, people who do participate online appear to act as if they have little or nothing to lose – again: whether online or in any other regard.
This is not a „clear cut“ matter – of course there are exceptions. One particularly notable exception is those people who earn their living by participating online. I guess another exception might be celebrities who feel forced to participate on the world-wide web. Yet by and large, most of these people belonging to „the 1 %“ minority do appear to prefer remaining in splendid isolation of the masses of „the 99%“.
It’s fascinating to observe an apparently related difference: The vast majority of those who refuse to participate are quite highly educated, many having advanced academic degrees. However, because they remain ignorant of online media, they usually lack literacy skills related to this sphere. So, ironically, the traditionally most literate seem to have now become the least literate.
All of this creates an image that is very reminiscent of a Marxist „Klassenkampf“ – with the online population by and large representing the popular proletariate, and the offline, more conservative crowd representing the establishment elites. At the same time, the media empires of yesteryear are increasingly becoming a refuge for the powerful but disinterested – a virtual sans soucci in glossy print and/or high resolution, wide screen formats.
There is a quite popular myth which time and again gets propagated on the web – namely, that answers and solutions simply emerge from data all by themselves. This is very cute and also enticing to people who have little understanding about how science works, so there is no dearth of such novice pseudo-scientists who are willing to support the concept.
Nonetheless: It is complete hogwash.
That said, this week I posed a question to my so-called followers on a so-called social media website what they believe of the notion of „learning by doing“. It was mostly a hunch that motivated me to pose this question, but now I think I have been able to figure out some of my thinking behind it – and it seems to be somehow related to the above-mentioned concept of emergence.
Let me try to sketch out the basic of idea of my thinking at the moment.
One of the basic ideas behind so-called “scientific management” is that the basis of successful management (of tasks, projects, entire companies, etc.) is a reliance on what might be referred to as scientific facts – basically: ideas which have stood the test of time and/or “results” from scientifically designed research.
In my question, in contrast, I asked: “What if the indoctrination of such observations, facts, etc. is expensive?” I compared a “learning by doing” hypothetical example in which 10 people jumped into water, 9 learned how to swim, but one drowned with a situation in which 10 people were taught to swim by an instructor. To clarify my point, I also asked: “What if teaching 10 people to swim is more expensive than feeding 100 starving children?”
In a way, the 9 people who emerged from the water in the hypothetical example learned how to swim by not drowning are an example of something very similar to what advocates of emergence seem to be arguing for: We don’t need science, we can just “wing it” instead.
In my additional remark comparing the price of one drowned person with the cost of a hundred starving children, I wanted to underscore the way the opportunity cost of either method is by no means zero.
What is more: We actually “wing it” every day. Taken to the extreme, it should be readily obvious that the world as we experience it today has never existed before. We can assume it is similar, we can try to “control” for this or that assumed variable, but in the end it essentially boils down to Einstein’s famous remark that “God does not play dice”.
Unfortunately, I still have not found an answer to the question I posed that I am happy with.
The concept of „sustainability“ has to do with whether or not a technology can continue to exist for years, decades and centuries to come (and/or whether or not market forces will sustain the technology or not). For example, while the oil-based economy may continue to exist for many years to come, it is not clear when and/or how it will function in one, two, three or more centuries out.
Traditionally, introductory economics textbooks used to simplify economic resources into capital and labor. At that point, energy was not even mentioned as part of the equation (E.F. Schumacher, by the way, treated oil and similar natural resources as „capital“ – he often noted that an „oil based“ economy was unsustainable because we thereby simply do little or nothing more than to destroy the capital).
I noticed several decades ago that information is, in a way, a substitute for energy: You can either do something by applying huge amounts of brute force, or you may be able to achieve the same goal by refining your technique (with the help of information) in order to use less energy. There are many examples of this over history. For example: traveling by bicycle instead of by foot (though note how the establishment of smooth road surfaces also plays a role here), or various newer (and more energy-efficient) technologies have replaced – via market forces – the incandescent light bulb.
Nonetheless: One is very hard-pressed to refer to the 20th Century as anything other than extremely energy-inefficient. On the whole, the 20th Century was, in contrast, quite energy intensive, and increasingly human-resource saving. As a result, because we have witnessed a rather enormous growth in so-called „human resources“ for several centuries now, we now have a very large supply of humans and also very little demand. What is more, advances in information technology have further exacerbated these trends, such that we now face rapidly increasing unemployment for the foreseeable future.
There is great irony in the widespread failure to recognize that more machinery is being used to do more work, and the widespread surprize that ever fewer „employment“ opportunities for humans are seen as a catastrophy (even though there has been widespread propaganda for many decades which push the idea that human labor „ought to“ be replaced by the increased employment of more and more machines).
Yet only a very foolish person would not pay attention to a wider time horizon.
There is no doubt that the consumption non-renewable resources will come to an end at some point in time – this is tautologically true (by definition), so there is no doubt whatsoever. At some point, people will realize that there is an oversupply of human resources and an undersupply of non-renewable resources (compared to the current rates of consumption). Presently, however, the high growth rates of information resources due to the introduction of vastly more efficient information technologies apparently will continue to blind the masses. While the growth of information resources inputs are to some extent a substitute for energy resources, it is quite astonishing to note how little such substitution has taken place over the past several decades.
Indeed: This last observation puzzles me greatly.
Some words – usually referred to as „synonyms“ – have essentially the same or at least very similar meanings. While I fee there is no such thing as a perfect synonym (in the sense that the words would mean exactly the same thing), many words are used quite liberally interchangeably by people who seem to not really be completely familiar with their more exact meaning.
This post is not about that.
What I want to address here is that some words seem like they could be used interchangeably – if not for the „minimal difference“ in the „social“ meaning. It appears as though these words could be applied to the same situations, except they say something different about those particular situations.
Let me present you with a couple examples of some such cases which have recently crossed my mind.
Ignore vs. Neglect: I recently wrote about the rationality of ignorance. Ignorance and neglect differ not so much in what the activity is, but rather more with respect to what are the activity’s results (in the eyes of the speaker [or author / writer]). The result of ignorance is that the subject is less well off. With neglect, the object of the verb is less well off.
Change vs. Disrupt: Change is relatively neutral or even positive. In contrast, disrupt is usually considered to be negative to at least someone (or something). If something is negative (shocking, etc.) to many, then one might consider it to be revolutionary.
Hence, many words which mean almost the same thing, differ in a „value judgement“ sort of way – and such value judgements usually rely on something like some kind of social mores, social values, etc.
Have you ever seen a business website? A business website is a machine that represents the business. Today, many people – most of all young people – prefer to interact with websites versus interacting with humans. Before you leap to conclusions about what this may mean, please consider the following scenario.
Let’s say you need to buy a household appliance, and you are considering two alternative approaches: Either (1) go to an „IRL“ appliance store and talk with a human salesperson; or (2) go to a website and interact with a machine programmed by „web developers“ * (who are, in essence, also the company’s representatives). In order to make the comparison fair, let’s say that the first thing the IRL appliance store salesperson says is „please give me your address book with all of your contacts’ names and phone numbers“. How would you react? Do you consider the private contact information of family, friends and acquaintances a private matter? Do you think asking for this data is a suitable request for the appliance store salesperson to make? If you answered „No“ then I think we agree – yet this is precisely what happens in many cases in which young people prefer to use their smartphones versus interacting with another human being.
Someone who is naive and quick to jump to conclusions might argue how this is a great victory for „technology“. I, on the other hand, feel it is more like direly lacking literacy on the part of many young humans. Note that I also feel I am giving these humans the benefit of the doubt in this case, because if they were not lacking literacy skills, it would mean that they are not only lacking in social skills, but also that they are so self-centered that they apparently think so little – or indeed nothing – of handing out some of their closest friends’ private information to companies hungry to sell that information to the highest bidders in order to reap a quick and easy profit.
Perhaps there are some who might say „but I don’t want to bother other people with questions that can easily be answered by looking up text documents.“ I agree – yet that is also not the point. The point is that these illiterate people apparently lack the technical expertise (which I refer to as „literacy“) to be able to look up information without violating their own privacy – and also their personal contacts’ private information.
- Note that „web developers“ is actually a misnomer if the developers are only responsible for the development of the company’s website – if that is in fact the case, then they ought to be called „website developers“.