Tag: Communicative Escalation and Cultural Abundance: How Do We Cope?

I love this description by Damon Young on pg 154 of his Distraction: Online friendships afford a similar bounty: instantaneous, often hilarious adventures in debate, discussion, dialogue. The ties are strong enough to sate the social urge, but their gossamer threads never bind us tightly, rarely ask for the commitments and cohabitations of our closest […]

This is a really nice account in Damon Young’s Distraction of what Margaret Archer calls the necessity of selection. From pg 2: Psychological blockages are part of a much larger set of limitations: those of mortal life itself. There are only so many professions, sexual partners, houses, entertainments and amusements available; and we only have so […]

From Douglas Rushkoff’s Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, loc 2256: Besides, consumer research is all about winning some portion of a fixed number of purchases. It doesn’t create more consumption. If anything, technological solutions tend to make markets smaller and less likely to spawn associated industries in shipping, resource management, and labor services. Digital […]

Much of the most recent paper I’ve written is concerned with this process & how a focus on personal reflexivity can help us understand it. From Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, by Douglas Rushkoff, loc 482-496: The overwhelming variety of possibilities leads us to gravitate to machine-winnowed lists, if for no other reason than […]

An interesting snippet from Digital Methods, by Richard Rogers, loc 1883: To an “Internet cataloger” writing a well-known essay in 1998, Yahoo! was making a significant contribution to newfangled online library science, not only by its classification scheme but also by the means of content “navigation” it developed. Yahoo!’s system differed from that of a […]

This is a really nice description from Craig Lambert’s Shadow Work of a problem I describe in a forthcoming paper as the multiplication of communication channels. From loc 3038-3054: The mushrooming number of communication channels spins off another type of shadow work. At one time, to reach a friend, you could send a letter or […]

This passage from Shadow Work, by Craig Lambert, conveys what I’ve written about in two recent papers as the challenge of cultural abundance. From loc 1395: To be sure, posting creations does not guarantee them an audience. Far from it. Take the songs that anyone can now publish online and sell as downloads. In 2011, […]

An extract from Social Media for Academics In recent years we’ve seen the notion of ‘internet addiction’ enter the popular consciousness. As a self-description it’s sometimes invoked facetiously, some­times desperately and occasionally in a way which combines the two. It would be silly for me to try and take a stance on such a complex […]

Really intriguing argument by David Frayne on page 176-177 of his Refusal of Work:  Overstuffing leisure time with toys is a fruitless way of trying to increase enjoyment, since the more lux   ury goods one buys, the less satisfaction one is able to derive from each object in the finite time available.

There’s an interesting summary in Mediated Memories, by Jose van Dijck, pg 100-101 detailing research into the power of doctored media to shape false narratives: In the early 1990s, researchers from America and New Zealand persuaded experimental subjects into believing false narratives about their childhoods, written or told by family members and substantiated by “true” […]

It’s a common place to recognise that digitalisation makes it easier to encounter the views of others, particularly those who we might not find within our locality. However an important dimension of this is how it also encourages competition between views, as tensions which might not have previously been ‘activated’ become so. I thought ‘memory […]

One of the crucial ideas for my new book are the temporal implications of the escalation dynamics which characterise social media platforms. In his Social Media in Academia, George Veletsianos identifies precisely the dynamic that interests me. From loc 834: [R]emaining visible on a social networking and fast-moving platform such as Twitter means that one has to share often and frequently, […]

In their Being Digital Citizens, Evelyn Ruppert and Engin Isin outline a theory of conventions on pg 25-26: We shall characterize conventions broadly as sociotechnical arrangements that embody norms, values, affects, laws, ideologies, and technologies. As sociotechnical arrangements, conventions involve agreement or even consent—either deliberate or often implicit—that constitutes the logic of any custom, institution, […]

I’ve been thinking a lot about themes from my PhD recently and how to introduce them into my current work. My overarching focus was on personal morphogenesis: how people change and how we understand this process sociologically. I’m particularly interested in cases where people seek to change, though having such a goal implies neither the […]