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Dean Whitbread 2013

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Written on January 11, 2007, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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I’ve been thinking a lot about social media, and how it really isn’t social, especially after being sent this video by Paul Knight:


Paul is an ex-pizza delivery man turned video blogger, who manages to produce a large amount of material – fantasy, fiction, commentary – on a tiny budget, from his base in sunny Nottingham, England. He made this video after he’d had a few drinks to soothe his nerves; in it he explains his reasons for wanting out of the burgeoning Podshow empire. Now this article is not the place to debate the merits and demerits of this particular organisation, although clearly the immense ego of Adam Curry does render them subject to easy ridicule. But what really struck me about Paul’s heartfelt piece to camera was his explanation of how social media is (and isn’t) working in his life.

I think he is right – we are at saturation point. Too many social networks spread you too thin, sap your time, they take you away from more productive activities, and can ultimately remove you from genuine, physical social interaction.

Curious about the internet and engaged with it though I am, observing my own resistance to some of the most popular sites, I am aware that I carefully cultivate an attitude of neglect. I never rush into the Next Big Thing, and I am frequently the last to check things out, simply for reasons of self-preservation. Blogger, Del.icio.us, Flickr, I could see the point – after all, I write, I collect bookmarks, I take lots of photos, but even these famed sites I was pretty slow to include in my life.

Recently, I joined Digg, in order to respond to somebody’s perfectly valid request for promotion. Now, I get the concept of Digg, but I just don’t like it. I understand how it works, I can see the point of it for other people. But, like Paul, I found myself asking, what is the relevance to me? Do I need another social media phenomenon right now? Do I really dig Digg?

Digg seems, just like YouTube, to have an innate tendency to drag us downwards, towards an unhealthy and growing attitude in society which deserves resisting. It’s connected to the same MTV-corrupted, short circuited, intelligence-reducing part of our culture which celebrates a collective attention span doting upon one mildy diverting, totally unessential thing after another, in an endless, vicarious search for the new, the purpose of which (almost always) is to avoid confronting the baseless and banal constructs of our own vacant lives.

Plus, the name “Digg”. It reminds me of my older brothers before they married – too late to be hippies, too early for punk, trapped in outmoded forms of expression using vernacular which seemed dated even as it was coined. Dig(g) is up there with groovy and chicks and right on, and should be used infrequently if at all and then only with heavy irony.

“Man, I really dig your leather.”

“Hey, chicks, check out my new Elton John 8 track – produced by Gus Dudgeon!”

Just as in music circa 1975, a punk revolution is needed, this time in social media. So, I have created the world’s first Unsocial Media network.

Unsocial Media will reward you by making your life more difficult. You will join an Unsocial Media network in order to be rejected, ostracised, pilloried, for reasons of self-improvement, so that you waste less time worrying about what other people are thinking and doing. Unsocial Media will remind you that you are spending too much time chasing your tail and disappearing up your own arse. You will benefit from Unsocial Media because we have far too much media already, and because your arse is too big, since you spend far too much time sitting on it in front of a computer.

If you create a link to someone, after that the Unsocial Media Immoderators won’t leave you alone, even to the point of calling you on the phone, coming to your house, following you to the pub and harassing you at the bar, petulantly demanding alcohol and cigarettes. You are then obliged to hear them out as they bathe you in appallingly bad breath, tediously boring you with their grandiose plans, pet projects, and unimaginative tales of personal failure that you’ve heard a million times before. You’ll find yourself drifting off and thinking about how sexy your brother’s girlfriend once was when you were just able to masturbate. You’ll wonder how far you will be able to get if you give the disgusting-smelling Immoderator the slip the next time you visit the lavatory.

Or am I being harsh?

Digg this.


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This thing has 6 Comments

  1. Indigobusiness
    Posted 11 January, 2007 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Now that we’ve harvested everything the material world has to offer, it slowly digests as we settle into our winter of discontent.

    Harsh? Hardly.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted 11 January, 2007 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Hahahaha! Wait, was I supposed to laugh? Too late.

  3. dweller
    Posted 14 January, 2007 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Digg seems, just like YouTube, to have an innate tendency to drag us downwards, towards an unhealthy and growing attitude in society which deserves resisting

    check out this youtube made by a great guy I know called David. Think you may find it interesting

  4. Anonymous
    Posted 16 January, 2007 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s all bad but you just can’t help yourself can you? Well I can’t.

  5. dave bones
    Posted 19 January, 2007 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    you don’t digg youtube? That is like so unhip.

  6. dave bones
    Posted 19 January, 2007 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Dweller, I liked your Scottish beach wisdom guy but what about this Canadian home studio wisdom? Or this Ganjaterror wisdom? Youtube is great no? I feel a bit dragged down, like I’m a bit lower than before but I’m OK.

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