Something to say or saying something?

Pioneers of the world wide web envisioned an all inclusive Internet where everyone can become their own media as unified senders and receivers with a historical wink to Brecht’s radio theory.

Our beloved, indie powered, decentralized, civil web emerged after military orders to invent a communication system that could circumvent a nuclear attack; it’s core has a much deeper element of control and surveillance than we’d like to admit.

At the same time, it’s never been eaiser to waste time on shiny looking interfaces. Whether it’s contact list grabbing apps or centralized plattforms with data sucking vacuum cleaners, convienient distractions that grab us by the ego can be our biggest enemy.

When everyone becomes their own media and can potentially reach the entire world, whether it’s firearm sales propaganda from the NRA or private banalities from Joe Shmo, everyone adds their own account of the truth rather than a closer account towards a common truth.

At the dawn of broadcast audio in 1927, Brecht argued in his radio theory that now anyone could say anything to everyone, which is a fundamental democratic empowerment, yet some producers and recipients might get lost in their own matrix. He noted further that a producer who has something to say without listeners is in a tight spot, whereas recipients who can’t find producers who have something to say might even be worse off.

Brecht thought that radio as a medium didn’t produce anything new, but rather imitates and amplifies what already exists. He might still have a point in our amplified attention economy of 2018. Rather than giving a voice to the voiceless as an idealistic view of recipient producer harmony, digital content, still or moving, is mostly market conform coupled with eye catching banalities, neatly packaged as shopping advice.

What gets amplified, repackaged and potentially monetized is in constant negotiation, whether it means having something to say or simply saying something is pretty much up to producer recipient plattforms and those who support and finance them.

via The Guardian

Lost lines of code


A preserved myspace profile page from 2004 found laying around at archive.org

Firefox has 2.5 million lines of code, Windows XP has 44 million of it, without data or software a computer is empty. Once new versions of browsers and operating systems greet the world, more code gets layered into new lines of output.

And that output can get lost in cyberspace, since it’s mostly privately owned companies who cover large chunks of code who then either go bankrupt or it’s owners care less about concepts of preservation.

Dragan Epenscheid, media artist and Digital Conservator at Rhizome, talked about „The Preservation of Net Art as Resistance to Digital Industrialism“ at this years transmediale, as another media form where achives have the potential to produce amateur, private and new, new media.

As a way to shed light into our data being remixed and decontexualized without our knowledge, net art can play with the idea of what actual code is being contributed. Dragan pointed to forms of decontexualized data at tumblr; when you post new content, you’re asked to make the choice whether you’re posting a chat or text, yet is there a difference?

The question of what actual code is being contributed reminds me of business models that contribute money for money in return. What is actually being contributed to the human race? Or what happens when the storing value for rights to future payments keeps getting postponed? It’s refreshing to be at transmediale with curious minds looking for solutions far beyond busy bees flying circles.

Without Secondary Information

 Six years ago an influencer was thought of as having a true voice

An influencer has a different way of thinking, embraces all forms of culture and has an opinion that is very valued, with concepts not yet in the mainstream conciousness.

„Once you get to that kind of level and you’re tapped by corporations, then you sort of loose your ability to actually be in touch with what’s going on, you’re reacting to secondary information.“ – David Gensler

Thanks for the heads up in 2011, Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson, who directed and produced the film over at R+I Creative.

Reputation Content

The standard internet model of putting ads next to everything is under pressure, as advertisers are realizing that „everything,“ on the internet, means mostly racist videos….if there’s a backlash against the just-put-it-anywhere ethos of advertising on the internet, that will benefit traditional arbiters of truth and newsworthiness. It’s a nice revenge of traditional journalism against Google.

It’s reassurung to see that advertisers are increasingly selective about where they place their ads – a wink towards programmatic over grazers. The same goes for content. I think we’ll see advertisers choose with sharper eyes who they want to cooperate with. Before that happens they’ll need to figure out who is harmful to their brand, fakes followers or abuses readers trust. A strong brand will eventually end up in the cheap seats if the content is more focused on pr noise than true voice.

via Bloomberg

Screenshots without ads

Update: Here’s another example of a screenshot without ads in form of a news article. Even though the NYT is less instrusive and has a solid base of ad free digital subscribers, why not link to the site?

Annexation of Macrotime


„The path is the goal“ is easier said than done. Being mindful and present is part of that path until one arrives at a destination. The idea of being present is occupied by snaps and apps, where we document our presence all alone even in presence of other people.

When we experience macrotime, the quality of an event is experienced, it’s actualized, yet we are loosing our ability to discover the „event“. The idea is akin to being a tourist rather than a traveller, where we stay in sterile hotels of reclusive relaxation. To engage with local culture means to leave your controlled comfort zone for random discovery, to be curious about other people, to listen and walk down the road not taken.

It seems harder to find that road, too many people document their mundane private moments on social media, giving away their ego for approval along with private data that feeds the stock market. We’re loosing the ability to walk this way and discover the experience of presence in macrotime.

I’ve heard that if you have nothing to hide than what do you have at all? In our streams of digital consciousness, we’re learning how to filter what’s relevant, albeit it’s a whole lotta algorithms that feed us with discovery, only to reflect and repeat same same but not different.

I think we need to annex macrotime, which is even more pertinent in light of your social media accounts being scrutinized when entering other countries.

Bonn thinks big locally

Exporting soft culture in form of news publications ain’t that easy for se Germans. But if you think local, small and in the world’s lingua franca, the Bonner General Anzeiger is hitting a spot. It makes sense to do it in Bonn with it’s numerous international institutions, not to mention the UN.

Local integration works better for newcomers if they can get their local news fix. And since many don’t speak German when they arrive or leave, the audience is definitely there. I’m sure the General Anzeiger in English will find more than 25k impressions a month.

via Meedia

Sure, throw away your ad money

„Ad fraud is estimated to be between 2% and 90%. In other words, no one has a fucking clue. Most knowledgeable people (including the WFA) believe it may easily be 30%. No matter what your „cyber-security team“ tells you, nobody knows how much fraud there is in online advertising. But everyone agrees it’s massive.“

I still don’t understand why clients spend their money with well known tricksters, who care more about cheap automation than human information, oh and kickbacks. Sure, there are efforts to get viewable impressions trackable and credible and Google’s AdSense still makes so much sense, jaa, but too many parts of the interwebs enjoy affinity to money that disappears into cybernirvana or pockets of hot air.

via The Ad Contrarian