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Humanist Archives: May 2, 2020, 8:54 a.m. Humanist 33.814 - tweets explored and pondered

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 814.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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        Date: 2020-05-01 15:35:36+00:00
        From: Francois Lachance 
        Subject: A Day of Tweets | A Year of Treats


At your prompting and with the kind enticements of Elli Mylonas appearing at
suitable intervals on Humanist, I have dipped a toe into the Twitter waters.

Things I learnt:

Twitter functions like an investment bank for social capital (likes, mentions,
retweets, urls). It reminds me of Delphi Pools [1] especially as envisioned in
the novel Shockwave Rider[2] by John Brunner.

And like many corners of the WWW, you can be recursive and search Twitter itself
for Delphi Pools.

Very few people use the polling function (it is structured as an either/or input
on a selected question). A parlour game but one sometimes worth playing if one
conceives contraries as being good for cultivating taste (see Aristotle).

You don't have to follow everyone that your followers are following -- they can
serve as filters and curate enticements from their own streams. And you don't
even have to sign up to Twitter -- the good stuff will flow beyond the
proprietary ecosystem -- indeed I continue to exercise the option of lurking by
examining tweets when not logged in (o the joys of multiple browsers!! ...

And things sometimes happen automagically, I am sure I saw this URL appeared in
the Twitter stream for Day of Digital Humanities 2020 but it's not there when I
crawl through the day's tweets. I may have hallucinated seeing this in the
Twitter feed ... but I did read it on DDH 2020 and now on the blog it's dated
May 1, 2020 (and I thought I was the only one with a fine appreciation of the
anachronistic : ))


[Any clarification how Claire Warwick's blog post got associated with Twitter
much obliged.]

As Claire Warwick writes "Today, as we DHers tweet each other about what we are
up to, there will, necessarily, be variations on quite a narrow theme." I would
like to add that the tweets are there out in the world and we tweet in a
fishbowl. We model as we explain.

It is perhaps ironic that I have been intending to read Shoshana Zuboff's The
Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier
of Power since the beginning of March (2020) and at the end of April (2020) I
committed myself to a day of tweeting a year (I intend to participate in next
year's festivities by retweeting a selection from this year's stream (such is my
learning curve -- I put off practicing the gentle art of retweeting until 2021).
I raise Zuboff for two reasons: the index has an entry for Twitter but no entry
for Delphi method or pool; a passage from dust jacket blurb very much reminds me
of Brunner's novel:

Zuboff vividly brings to life the consequences as surveillance capitalism
advances from Silicon Valley into every economic sector. Vast wealth and power
are accumulated in ominous new "behavioral futures markets," where predictions
about our behavior are bought and sold, and the production of goods and services
is subordinated to a new "means of behavioral modification."

Behavioural modification cuts many ways. This takes me to the craft of the
#hashtag and cross-pollination. I did not hesitate to "pollute" the #burningman
stream with digital humanities content. Micro-micro marketing. I salute the
digital humanists that are bending the bow by tweeting and making new musics.
They have the potential to (re)shape culture.

And let me tell you tweeting is hard: it demands attention to detail and an
acute sense of timing. And disciplined moderation since every tweet is its own
rabbit hole. (All attributes cultivated by being an assiduous reader of Humanist
and the non-twittering world).

Chapeau to the DH content producers and consumers, may your info flows spark



~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Fran├žois Lachance
Wannabe Professor of Theoretical and Applied Rhetoric

to think is often to sort, to store and to shuffle: humble, embodied tasks

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