“Social” Networking?

facebook-logo1 I like the idea of trying to out-compete capitalists, especially if that were ever to become a policy and practice of nation-states and world government. I also like open source software, which is a pretty impressive example of the viability of the project. But, with all due respect and solidarity, I find ZSocial, the putative Facebook competitor, to be a hugely quixotic endeavor.

It doesn’t take much looking at Facebook pages and Twitter feeds to notice that “social” is hardly the essence of those operations, even from the user’s side. Legitimate information trading is certainly there, but also obviously a far-distant second to the dominant motive on display. That motive is vanity, bragging, “personal advertising.”

As such, TCT suggests that “social networking” is but a symptom of very-late-capitalist culture. It will have no place in a future progressive-survivalist socialist world. It is not just a trick to advance the penetration and power of big business marketing, but also a pure waste of time and electricity.

How and why does Z miss this basic point?

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High Arka
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Bravo. The stupidity currently associated with Facebook is neither new nor unique to Facebook. Three hundred years ago, supper conversation at a country manor (or a city tavern) could have been lamented as just as vapid–nothing but personal advertising, bragging, shared brand-identification, and of course, a vast waste of time and money. Any new gadget we come up with will continue to allow us further expressions of empty hopelessness, until we find something better within ourselves. Similarly, combating Facebook’s current stupidities by regressing to campfire talk will only result in campfire versions of Facebook. As to your concluding question, Z… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

I have to disagree, if only partially. While it is true that certain modes of communication/organization only channel and focus bad trends that are already there, they also amplify them in a specific direction. In the case of Facebook, yes, it made it easier for the existing douchebag/ narcissism tendencies to flourish. However, the very layout, format, and structure of the technology encourages and amplifies it. Let’s see what are the things you can actually “do” on facebook: 1) above all, you can “like” stuff. Does this not facilitate elevating the already existing pathology to seek identity through brand preferences… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

of all 3, i think 1 is possibly the most destructive – when somebody just clicks “like” on what you said or did instead of making the minimal effort of engaging in a thoughtful co-reflection/articulation of the extent to which this may be a shared experience, what it could mean etc., then a fundamental substance of what human communication is is basically chopped off. I’ve done it too, while being perfectly aware of what’s happening – “eh, i don’t want to think about saying something thoughtful, but i want to indicate interest/acknowledgement, so imma just gonna click ‘like'”. This actually… Read more »

High Arka
Guest

Heehee. All true. The same, though, could be said about language itself. For example, making love versus emitting various grunts and contortions that form the sound “Aii luv yuh-oo.” We’ve so thoroughly accepted language as our medium, now, that many of us have never understood what it means to communicate something with the entire body, or even to share a higher connection. And from there, collaborative groups around the campfire become “audiences” listening to “storytellers,” become books, become newspapers, become telephones, become Facebook. Facebook’s design, like that of all previous stages of simplification, lends itself to the terrors you described… Read more »

High Arka
Guest

The reason this one finds it important to defend the idea of online social repositories is that resistance to decay, at each stage, likely focused on the type of technology used in the change, rather than on the underlying emptiness that made each stage so horrible. Again, consider books. For people used to hearing stories from real people, complete with voices, gestures, improvisations, and a personal connection between teller and listener, the idea of having an elite caste of scribes recording stories on expensive sheets would seem a horrible, unearthly detachment. Trying to convince people that they were missing out… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

RE: “In an ideal world, Facebook-type technologies could be used as group calendars…” Absolutely, and this goes so way beyond leisure. The whole goddamned industrial production can be organized through such a medium. “Hey guys, we need 30 extra volunteers to help with the seasonal increase in production at the shoe plant, please sign up for a 1 or 2 hour slot”. (And the same logic can apply even for activities that require some more stable hierarchy and authority. [E.g. “Listen, nuclear energy council, all of our plants are humming along nicely and do not require much attention beyond routine… Read more »

High Arka
Guest

I love the way you put the shoe plant. Even messy manual labor would be so fun in an ideal society, where everyone was a shareholder and got dividends as such. It’s interesting how capitalism itself makes labor unpleasant. What is really hard about labor, just like exercise, is not the labor itself–it’s the lifelong sense of futility; of being on a treadmill moving backward; of knowing that, at any moment, your permission to contribute could be barred. Investment bankers and megamillionaire movie producers “work” 80 hour weeks occasionally, but it’s nothing like actual work. At the same time, a… Read more »

Martin
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Martin

Hmm, “future progressive-survivalist socialist world.” There are all sorts of big rams smacking into each other with that epic phrase. “Progressive” and “survivalist” don’t usually come within zip codes of each other, “Survivalists” being ready to kill you for your hoard of jam. Humans, as hunter-gatherers, during almost all of our existence, were of course practicing social cohesion for survival, but they also practiced infanticide and high rates of inter-personal violence (surely there’s some debate about that, but Dilworth is explicit about this). The current supersystem has led us to the horrors of our age, but if the Great Die-Off… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

Hmm, “future progressive-survivalist socialist world.” There are all sorts of big rams smacking into each other with that epic phrase. “Progressive” and “survivalist” don’t usually come within zip codes of each other, “Survivalists” being ready to kill you for your hoard of jam. Humans, as hunter-gatherers, during almost all of our existence, were of course practicing social cohesion for survival, but they also practiced infanticide and high rates of inter-personal violence (surely there’s some debate about that, but Dilworth is explicit about this). The current supersystem has led us to the horrors of our age, but if the Great Die-Off… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

Yeah, Dilworth’s gene section 9you read him? I thought there were about five who every undertook the process) was abominable – “weak” genes, survival of the fittest, kind of eugenics code words embedded – along his hairy-chested male emphases he finds all throughout proto-history – but his view of the vicious cycles and theaccelerating threats to a future for humans is being echoed in various Big-Thinker types – Paul Ehrlich, Garret hardin, William Catton.
I get what you say about “captchas” – n meaning at all, but I better not come across “homomorphism” again.

Martin
Guest
Martin

Yeah, Dilworth’s gene section 9you read him? I thought there were about five who every undertook the process) was abominable – “weak” genes, survival of the fittest, kind of eugenics code words embedded – along his hairy-chested male emphases he finds all throughout proto-history – but his view of the vicious cycles and theaccelerating threats to a future for humans is being echoed in various Big-Thinker types – Paul Ehrlich, Garret Hardin, William Catton. I get what you say about “captchas” – n meaning at all, but I better not come across “homomorphism” again. If this goddam double post again,… Read more »

High Arka
Guest

Martin, it is an elite-funded prediction to say, “the world is ending.” Elites have ever prophesied messages of doom, through the grim truth of Serpent Satan, Christ Redemptor, Big Crunch, or Harsh Environmental Truths, sending a message of hopelessness to those they wish to continue to rule. They also consistently send a message of how terrible the past was–there were always demons, titans, patriarchs, clergymen, or some other terrific bogeyman that we must be vigilant against, and cling to current elites for protection from. To take the easy modern example, we all know that Saddam Hussein was real, and that… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

HA, I’m in complete opposition to what you said. Elites do not specialize in sending messages “of hopelessness to those they wish to continue to rule,” but instead send wave after wave of message of hope and change and folkish happy times. In our time,s the propaganda is in every cultural space, but dominated by the specious carrot of “education,” admirably dismissed by youngish educator John Marsh in “Class Dismissed.” What planet are you on? “The planet is strong, the people is strong, I see nothing.” That’s a great lesson plan, stringing the foolish notions of wonderfulness together. We can… Read more »

High Arka
Guest

They do say those things, Martin–Obama being an obvious user of the terms. There’s a division, however, between the things they loudly proclaim and the things they subtly, yet clearly, indicate as true. Take neocons as an easy example. We have the public papers of the Project for a New American Century, describing how a false-flag attack will be used to encourage an invasion of Iraq to control middle eastern oil supplies. At the same time, we have years of somber warnings about weapons of mass destruction and respect for human rights. We simultaneously get the formal declaration “We’re saving… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

HA-
Uh, no, the nice words you penned are simpy a denial of social reality, which is made up of institutional power, ruled by inertia, corruption, massive weight. I cut people no slack when it comes to “lala land” – it makes no sense to rhapsodize about what could be, when what hsa become (in which you allege puppeteers orchestrating lunatic shooter coordination) is what rules the social operations of humans. Why is social reality so uninhabitable for otherwise hard thinking folk?

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

Martin, you are not wrong per se, but you make a major omission in suggesting, as far as I can see, that history unfolds in more or less deterministic pattern, which is demonstrably untrue. While humans cannot reengineer society at will because there are always limited options, all major historical changes have been the product of the agency of specific people, and specific decisions made at times where cumulative incremental change has reached inflection points. Thinking of modern times in particular, we have the resources (physical and organizational) for the first time in history to efficiently reengineer the entire planet… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

RE: High Arka / the nature of labor So true, so succinct. Some of my happier memories from childhood/teenagehood involve doing physical work on my grandfather’s village house and garden. Just a few years later as a college studens, I *resented/hated/despised* doing the *exact same type of work* for wage at a construction site, for the exact reasons outlined above: i had no stake in the outcome, and I had full awareness of the fact is that all that the managers cared for is squeezing as much work as possible. However, even construction was a blessing compared to working in… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

I’m going to hold fast against tghe incredible incremental view of historical change. You can ascribe it to the Great Men or Great Unheralded Men or Women theory of all, but I see that as a fallacy, or ahistoricism seeing all institutions tremble before that one fateful actor, when the proper, proportional view should be that it is always vast forces at play, moving in accordance with internal logic. Counter-examples to our awful stasis are always trotted out: abolitionism, identity rights, the French and Soviet revolutions, technology, and the one you know so intimately, the Fall of the Berlin Wall… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

Eh, I don’t necessarily even disagree with you, the facts on the ground are plenty bleak and obvious, just suggesting that there are always forks in the trajectory, and it is of no use not to try to at least look for them and maybe try to nudge in one direction vs the other, that’s all. Things are never completely static, and being able to influence the events, (as our current, most poferful and organized elites ever, certainly can) – does not always necessarily mean that you can also control them. As for the eastern block regimes falling, I think… Read more »

High Arka
Guest

Martin, rhapsodizing about what could be–imagination–is the only way actions are consciously and deliberately taken. Before anything can be changed, it must be imagined to be possible. I imagine that I could solely complain on the internet, and I can put it into effect and see it coming true. It’s possible, and likely. I imagine that something better might happen, and it’s possible, but unlikely. If there’s any sort of first step out of all this, it will begin with imagination. Imagine a worldwide empire of criminal elites using a complicated system of fictional entities to pit various slaves against… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

Noble, sentiments, HA, but so is the phrase”Visualize Whirled Peas.”
I’m not so sold on the redemptive powers of David Foster Wallace-style “imagination” – there are 5000 channels with nothing on but imaginative social decay- Breaking Bad, Buscemi’s latest, familial stupidity. This culture specializes in techno-fantasy – but that hasn’t made a single bumpersticker come to life.
“Evolutionary Leap” – as in to “Idiocracy”?
I just don’t get the “vast leaps” we are supposd to have done – an upright ape we were, an upright ape we are.

High Arka
Guest

Apes, yes. We’re also cellular, composed of matter, energy-using, temporally based, and surrounded by electromagnetism. Depending on the scale of things, there’s no difference between being nonexistent, an amoeba, or a telekinetic cyborg. We have, though, made vast leaps in the sense that we have more inherited toys and more freedom to explore the world/solar system/infinite reaches. Presume that we’re a band of upright apes living in a socialist paradise in an unspoiled garden, lifespan 100 years, all food organic, drum music every night and no crime. Four thousand years later, we’re losing our repressive, crappy, yet highly-lusted-after jobs under… Read more »