05 July 2013

Freedom by the Edge of Social Media

What new media seems to do, is to make the potential viewing audience controllable, by the author. What it does not do, is control the reach of what one writes, though it may create a potential audience, or this may be created by various means. So effectively, one can easily reduce the potential audience, but not easily increase it.

In more traditional media, one knows reasonably what the reach of any article is, one can write for an audience. So in new media writing can be an exercise in pure expression. Let us see it like this rather than delve into algorithms, but like anything to keep it up, it is hard to be algorithmic. So there is this disjoint between the internal writing experience, and what happens next when it is sent out into the internet, where essentially anything, or nothing may happen to it.

However we can map this to a new media experience: namely a news event. The event happens, the reactions happen in new media. Just as one cannot control the reach of the article, one cannot make the reactions have any effect whatsoever, there is still a potential though, but how significant is this in the real world, to which new media itself is still perhaps at the edge.

However just as one writes with this motivation that one will reach an audience, which may in fact be entirely unfounded, news reactions may happen in such a way as they are expected to have an effect. It is still freedom at the edge.

So it is not writing knowing that what one writes is being viewed, it is rather writing knowing it could be viewed. It is a special condition of social media that it is inherently social, output is connected into a stream. It is why freedom itself is so important to the internet, a free system, in all sense of the word at least allows this stream to connect and the content to be created (the motivation and what is being motivated).

To control it, is perhaps to reduce the potential to connect. That potential is perhaps what drives people to make output, or has done so, that is to use networks.

The internet on this view is or was a platform to move what is in one's mind to something made. Its accessibility, its tools readily available at the highest end of technology, if anything have increased this potential. The issue is getting this made artefact to an audience. That is the idea of the many points of creation, the diversity which makes for an enhanced overall output of creative material, in this world, but motivated.

I can compare the motivation and experience of writing a creative book, what happens is the experience of writing is the motivation. In the end the idea of publication is just an idea, a future world view, that you know is unlikely. With new media, the publication happens as one finishes the article.

But because one does not really know if there is a significant effect from this publication, as there is usually in some shape or form from traditional publication, it is the experience which motivates. But I would add the social context, that net of connectivity, especially that sense of freedom and possibility, makes for a different texture of motivation.

Writing a first novel is a private experience, but writing blog posts is not, even on a small scale. But that does not detract from it, it just makes it a different experience. I would add that that potential to build, close to advanced technology, is a further driving force.

Because writing a work of creative fiction is so private, that sense of creation is close, that delight in finding a beautiful paragraph. But writing blog posts, to me is not like that, at all. However some of the build experiences have been a bit like that, that experience of it being the motivation.

But I may write blog posts with that sense of the wide social network, but leaning towards a sense of where it may find some kind of life. That sense of living actions which powered networks, and still do, to an extent. However, they are powered almost entirely by the logic of the content and the site. It the internet effect, of making things more solid.

When I was involved in AI, there was an enjoyment from doing something so far at the edge. One was reminded of this always, because it is such a tough area. In new media, there is perhaps more softness, but right now, there is that same edge happening, it is just it is at the edge. I do not get the same sense of total immersion, but then I am not totally immersed in new media, its technology and its potential.

But then again is it possible to be immersed in the same way, as when one is programming AI. A lot of new media is out of the control of those who make content. Thus indeed one works at the edges, which one hopes do not disappear. It is like one is brought back to the world in which one writes a book, but nonetheless perhaps with something more.

That something more is what is interesting. That something more has and still powers the internet, and I feel it is freedom. However freedom unprotected has tended to disappear, for all sorts of reasons, those edges get narrower. Yet internet freedom has survived.

But has it survived because the internet was recently a smaller enclosed world, with something like that kind of freedom and movement one gets from joining a site at the invitation stage. Or does it survive simply because it does not really exist without a strong sense of freedom, being felt by those who use it, whether making content or feeling connected with content in those particular ways.

This post has not touched on the commercial internet, except in the first paragraph, and it is interesting to me that one can write a post like this. The internet seems to have balanced money and creative pursuits, of all kinds and intent, with particular effect. Those edges provide a space, but they exist from the vast sums of money the internet has created. However the logic of this site, perhaps asks that one should.

I might just say that freedom and money have perhaps existed in a complex relationship, but on the internet there seems to be a space that allows for their co-existence, with such effective consequences, that internet related technology has rather ignored the effect of that vast market retracement from the crisis. Silicon Valley, as a state of doing, rather than necessarily a place, itself exists on that edge, perhaps to some extent, but that edge is maybe an effective place to be, as long as it exists.