Tag Archives: Internet studies

Foucault and Social Media

Rob Horning of The New Inquiry discusses Foucault and the way we speak, confess and perform on social media.

Sharing can be simply volunteering the self for ridicule, purging, nullification, ritual flaying — self-branding of a different kind. It’s why people sign up for demeaning reality TV shows, as Wayne Koestenbaum suggests in Humiliation. It’s part of why we sign up for Facebook. Moments of humiliation, Koestenbaum notes, “may be execrable and unendurable” but are also “genuine” in a “world that seems increasingly filled with fakeness.” Social media neatly increase that feeling of the world’s phoniness while providing a means for the sort of self-exposure that combats it. As more behavior seems inauthentic and “performative,” we have greater need to expose ourselves and have our own authenticity vindicated through the embarrassment this causes us.

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Gawker’s Kinja

Nick Bilton of the New York Times provides an informative summary and update on Gawker’s Kinja, a platform that intends to change the way comments work on web sites.

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The Rise Of Walled Gardens And The Future Of The Web

“In many ways, Google’s shutdown of its RSS reader is just a small part of a larger move away from open web standards and towards closed, proprietary platforms that are easier to control and monetize,” observes Mathew Ingram of GigaOm.

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A Year Without Internet

My new essay at The Awl

Highly educated Americans tell the world that young people are increasingly distracted or emotionally incompetent due to incessant pointer-clicking and unrelenting thumb-pressing. From the stuffed genre of airport-friendly socio-criticism, we’ve learned that networked technologies are making us lonely and small-minded. Apparently no one has ever sent Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, or Sherry Turkle, of Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology And Less From Each Other, a tastefully brief Snapchat. In their best-selling sermons, “the Net” is the devil. Search engines, hyperlinks, and texts ensnare our intellect with the seductive fork tongue of reptilian temptation.

That Paul did not emerge from a mountain of seclusion like Muhammad or Zarathustra, that he did not return a walking Deepak Chopra of prophetic wisdom and Gandhian patience, is not so surprising. In fact, Paul’s failed experiment helps to refute the Internet fear mongering that has propelled the notoriety of the professional “thinking about the Internet” class.

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Paul Miller Is Back

After one year without using internet technologies, Paul Miller, writer for The Verge, has returned.

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Paul Miller Returns To The Internet After 1 Year of Solitude

Evan Rodgers writes at The Verge:

Paul Miller left the internet for a year, and he’s finally coming back. At midnight tomorrow, he’ll plug back in after 365 days away, capping his experiment by returning to the connected world. Is he a new man? Ready to return or dreading the web? We’re having a special late-night Vergecast that kicks off at 11PM ET on April 30th to celebrate the occasion, followed by the debut of Paul’s personal story of disconnecting and a livestream discussion of his return.

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The Wild Ambition of Youth Journalism And Vice media

Writing in the Guardian, Tim Adams summarizes the allure of Vice, “Twenty years ago Shane Smith set up a hip little Montreal magazine called Vice. Then along came the internet and Vice reinvented itself as the edgiest, wildest online media brand in the world. It’s staffed by twentysomethings and aimed at a global youth who have no interest in mainstream media. Which is why he is courted by everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Google.”

Where public trust towards long standing new outlets has eroded, especially for young people, Vice aims to explore the absurdity of contemporary life and the mass hypocrisy of Western politics. Adams interviews the cofounder and CEO of Vice, Shane Smith, and extracts golden nuggets of media wisdom:

But the fact is four corporations own all of American news, and they are all equally scared of losing Budweiser or whoever as their advertisers. The greatest propaganda coup of the American right has been to convince its citizens that we are in the grip of a liberal conspiracy. As a result, Obama is to the right of Richard Nixon on most issues. And there is we believe, certainly some space to exploit there.” He pauses, smiles, concludes his lesson for the day. “And we, Vice, aim to exploit it.

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