02 November 2012

Social Media Eyes Only

During the 90s, believe it or not, I spent a few years writing poems. But I did this as a break from programming. In fact, many of those poems were written on a vi editor, on the SunSPARC workstations I was programming in C and SR and then Object oriented Prolog.

These poems were explicitly written for nobody, they were just a creative expression, a moment of not programming, which I was doing basically continuously, with only visits back to my apartment to sleep and occasional work related trips to England. In fact I felt no need to have them seen by anybody else but I did show some to other people, as is the way of things.

Why am I mentioning this, well they provide a point of reference, as the site and its blogs are creative expressions for me, with their own functional reference but they have never been written for my eyes only.

That is what I see as new media, and why I would call it social media. A blog explicitly can be seen by anybody in the world, given certain permissions being set. So from my first post, I knew it could be read by others, which is a very different sensibility from writing poems on a vi editor in the misty countryside.

The progression of my poems, and it did seem like a progression, was self generated, by whatever it is that creates such output in the brain. But these posts it seems are partly thus, but also driven by the fact they can be seen and read, as well as the reason I write them, which is to do with exploration, discovery and interest and maybe enterprise itself.

These motivations drive the continuation of it, for me, as well as working on that in which they are presented, i.e. the site. Thus new media is for me

a) a very, unprecedentedly, open platform to create and develop and
b) a guidance from a social context.

As I have noted, the posts began from a very new media platform, tweets I made after I joined in in 2009. That is why I started blogging, because the platform needed extension beyond 140 characters. However that initial structure may have remained to an extent: creation, development and social guidance.

As I wrote my posts I think about the existence of a potential audience, not a specific audience, just that they are there to be read in this still so wild yet intelligent Internet, this place of freedom and endless opportunity and expansion, flowing from one of the greatest and most powerful paragraphs ever written, the first amendment of the US constitution.

In the revolution of expression, freedom and platforms, these things are enabled to take place in a social environment which is sometimes very fluid, sometimes not. One can say that one can make use of this change in granularity, that this makes it new media as well, to be able to make something that can adapt itself to a fluid environment, but also to know the environment will flow around it as well.

Can one say that (not new) media has a problem in being static, well perhaps not till now or even now, as some thrive, by their quality, by there very nature of being static or are adapting to the flow. Can one see that quality and that flow together, for a true new media. One hopes. That is the great adventure, the keeping and the enhancing of quality. Why do I think people want that.

Well, coming from a recent tweet, once good TV was made in America, it created vast enjoyment and vast wealth. So the internet has a path for it, but one maybe different, more tailored for it, one in which the programs adapt to the viewer and as well are created in the same way as art can be created just from the individual expression.

That is what I mean when I say that one can write for the people, but from that same place as if one were writing for the enjoyment of the vi editor, as it were, but in an areas as technical in its way as Prolog.

That is the granularity, adaptability and flow of the internet in action, and its new creation, the newest of media, which brings the first amendment to the people and the world, with all its power and potential, which has not perhaps been really realized.

Underlying all this, is the great technological heart powering the Internet. The guidance of social media is itself technology and its development.

But the creation of new media artifacts is taking creative control of this, rather than being entirely driven by it. It is that static model taken to the fluid model in the creation of content.

So does technology then guide those who make the content. An interesting question. I would suggest only very lightly, if at all. Much more important is the extent to which those making content on the platform can express themselves.

The first amendment was a large scale functional decision to let this be the case vis a vis government, that expression is a fundamental right, which will be protected by the other systems set in motion by the constitution, over time, as the structure within which this right functioned, changed (the advantage of a systemic approach to constitution making, it is reasonably neutral to content of society).

There are other ways to do things (i.e. qualifying the intent of the 1st amendment), and the importance on this in setting the output of anything, country or platform seems very fundamental in and of itself.

I might suggest in terms of platforms that diversity and variety of approaches is in and of itself healthy, we all need places to feel safe and protected, as long as there is a bias somewhere towards that freedom, but perhaps the internet itself always provides this, naturally.

That is, one might suggest perhaps not too optimistically that the structure of the internet, as long as it remains significantly unaltered, will work like those systems in a way, to keep expression free.

Thus this light structuring from technology we spoke of, is more like a reassurance for the creator of content, from various sources, in various ways. Of course it raises the question of how much the internet must be changed to alter this functionality, but preferably, we will not get to test this.

One might imagine it needs to be made like the media structures in society, the not new ones. but these exist in a structure crated by the first amendment. So what is the difference, the difference is the internet itself.

But the first amendment has hardly done wrong by media content so far, well true but the difference is now that in theory expression is brought back to the control of the people, in a way that in fact the people can choose to be structured by (that is, that diversity and variety, which in facts deepens choice).

One could always bring back the creation and development of the technology itself to the first amendment, without making too fanciful a leap. Its functional power should probably not be underestimated. Why, because it has worked over a long periods of time and it has expanded its reach in complex ways, not contracted or simplified its reach.

One might expect the same from the Internet, which is in fact remarkably new, if it remains a functional child of the first amendment, to a useful extent.

© 2012 Guy Barry - All Rights Reserved.