I have added a new Mastodon account ~ Of Bookish Things (Link). You can visit using the link or clicking the icon (below). For more information about the account and related Mastodon background see my Media Literacy Post – Of Bookish Things ~ on Mastodon.
Hello, is anybody there?
The Implied Space of a changing Social Media Landscape
Well, it has been awhile. My blogging activity for the past few weeks has consisted of visiting other blogs, and liking various posts. An encounter with Covid, followed by a sinus infection (last dose of anti-biotic Saturday), left me with reduced resources.
Where I had energy, I puttered around with some more experimental poetry, and watched the chaotic deconstruction of Twitter. This monumental act of capitalistic hubris has played out as a tragedy in the tradition of Kafkaesque Absurdist Theatre.
The Bluebird of Unhappiness
The uncertainty of Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter, once he became legally bound to purchase it (unbelievable financial acumen) resulted in some advertisers suspending ads. The Canadian Government was advised to suspend advertisements & ad spending on Twitter.
The fear that Twitter would turn into a wild frontier of unchecked hate speech, malicious trolling, and disinformation, made many question whether this was the best place for marketing or social discourse. Many users started looking for alternative social media platforms, just in case things went terribly dark. One of the social media platforms that started gaining traction was Mastodon.
If that name sounds a bit familiar, it is because back in April, I joined the Mastodon.Art Instance (Server community). I did a series of posts on my Media Literacy blog about my experiences and observations concerning the social media platform.
As I anticipated, Musk’s next move was to try to generate revenue from Twitter. His goal, I believe, is to create a pay to use platform that will offer packages/levels of services, not unlike cable/satellite TV companies. His first step in this direction was his Blue Twitter Verification initiative (a Comedy of Errors Timeline).
The suggestion of a paywall & truncated services sent the next wave of anxiety amongst users (keep in mind this is taking place in a little over a week). The need/desire for a social media platform that came close to Twitter, and the insecurity over Twitter’s financial & infrastructure (more on that shortly) stability sent many to establish accounts elsewhere in a wait-and-see approach.
Meanwhile, there was much bemoaning over the loss of Twitter, its potential, and what it once was,…
For those whose knowledge of Twitter comes from news media reporting, the reputation for toxic behaviour & disinformation is not undeserved, especially in the last 6 years (you may recall the Trump era). In the past, Twitter has also been a great place for art, photography, community support, and positive social change. Those benefits appear to be quickly diminishing/vanishing.
I have maintained my Twitter account, while using Mastodon as well (what can I say, I’m retired with no life) – waiting for the inevitable. Very recently, a number of folks have noticed odd glitches, pauses, and an inability to view some Tweets. This brings us back to the Blue Canary in the Twitter mine – infrastructure. For some reason it has become unstable. Who knew that firing roughly 50% of your staff would be harmful to a complex global computer network with around 396.5 million users. (See the report from the MIT Technological Review – What a Twitter engineer says will Happen in The Coming Weeks)
I originally anticipated it would take Musk about 3 months to either change Twitter into what he envisioned, or make a shambles of the whole thing. As things moved along, I thought I would quite possibly leave Twitter around the end of November. I, like many others, now don’t know if Twitter will even be there the next time we try to log on.
If you have a Twitter account, and want to continue having another presence on the internet, I strongly suggest you establish one now. My preference is of course Mastodon. If you decide to go this route check out my Media Literacy posts that I linked above.
A few quick tips & observations:
1. If you can, sign up using a computer or laptop. Many new users said that using one of the apps proved challenging, though not insurmountable.
2. Mastodon is a Federated group of community servers(called Instances) that are connected by a protocol. You pick a Community server to join. They are organized by regions, languages, and topics. Many new ones have shown up just in the last week, while others have grown in membership size.
3. Better to choose a midsize server that has not been overwhelmed by the influx of Twitter escapees (Over 1 million people have joined Mastodon since October 27).
******** If you have any questions about Mastodon/joining Mastodon, I will answer them to the best of my ability. BTW: Unlike Twitter, and some other platforms, Mastodon users’ have public posts, as well as private. You don’t have to sign up to see what the content is like, and it is searchable.********** Some more soothing music to after such a long post.
As an experiment in both Mass Media Principles and creative writing constraints, I have been composing Dadaist Collage Poems within the limitations of Mastodon Toots(text-posts). A Tweet has a character limit of 280 – which works well with micropoetry, such as haiku, senryu, and tanka. A Mastodon Toot has a 500-character limit, which allowing for hashtags provides for a longer composition.
Each Mass Medium has its own set of codes and conventions. When you choose to create within that medium those codes and conventions become an implied space that provides both possibilities and limitations to the creative process. The number of characters constrains the word choice, as does the choice whether to include hashtags. Also, the layout of the public post is slightly different from how it appears on the shared Timelines of the users’ accounts – in effect, creating different visual configurations for different target audience.
****NOTE: Images used in this blog post were from the shared Timeline Toots. Click HERE to see them on my public Mastodon.art site.
The text for the poems was acquired from a Random Word Generator and bits of word and phrases from an assortment of online articles. They were then processed and edited within the constraints of the Mastodon character limit. So far, I have composed three of these Mastodon Dadaist collage prose poems.
Those unreadable Liberals are putting Lyonessian microchips in the election terminators to control our captivated children’s ephemeral thoughts! #ephemeralthoughts ~ fallow fields of fallacies
Those hoser metonymy New Democrat bibliophiles are using tenacious robotic tardigrades to catalogue our ear lobes’ chaotic catharses !!!!
#robotictardigrades ~ canoodling Canadian Canaries Cavort in conjectures
The Dadaist Wiring Vaccine was developed by The Peripheral Existential Otherhood to implant magnoliaceae into patriotic ingeminated American bashibazouks to maintain Canadian Mosaic Motif Hegemony!!
#CanadianMosaicMotifHegemony ~ Babushka Battles Belligerent Battalions with Metaphysical Powered Pierogies – the wind slices the sky
Giant organic powered lasers from Aldorria Del Joiry are being used by the Decretal Terrigenous Illuminati to light enormous skald fires, so they can build a high-speed dialogic dustbin phoneme pants emulator!!!
#dialogicdustbinphoneme ~ daily delights take phosphorous flights of phantasmagoria
The Deadly Pompadour Loup-Garou Gang are gathering to distribute Laotian Lactation Debutante Lotion in order to launder Canadian Toonies in indiscriminate decimation of the #Mythosphere‘s Metamorphic Mirrors!
The National retailer, Lingua Franca, is using the asemic names of its picaresque particulate plagiarizers to capture and polymerize infants for the Pindaric Conspiracy!!!!!
Chrystia Freeland is in cahoots with Renée Adorée to genetically modify our Canadian cinematographic hinterlands so William F. Gibson can conjugate everyone with an enhanced Neuromancer!!!!!!
This Canadian version of Conspiracy Poetics is derived from MAGAlibs For the Whole Family. My other inspiration comes from Brian Lageose‘s Past Imperfect fables of an alternative Hollywood. Make sure to see his Crusty Pie March Madness Posts for absurdist satire.
One of the interesting things about blogs is that, as a form of social media, it is digital text, as opposed to print media ( printed or hard text). A blog is a separate medium, with its own set of codes & conventions. As a consequence, composing and reading a blog post requires different Media Literacy skills from print media ( such as magazine, journals, or newspapers)
A simple proof of this – print out a blog page or post. What becomes obvious is that the intended message (content) is disrupted and degraded. As Marshall McLuhan stated, the Medium is the Message. When you attempt to deliver the same message in different media, something in the message changes – the experiences of reading the novel or seeing a movie or serialized television adaptation are always different.
When we consider that the blog post is digital text, we quickly see that it can covey information that is lost when it is turned into a print media. The following examples of digital text convey information in a blog post, but they can not do so as print text.
Digital text allows the blog post to turn a wide range of other media into content. Print text can only use photographs and illustrations (separate media) as content. Another quality of digital text is that it can have Hypertext links. This extends the message’s depth and expands context. There are already 14 links in this post (they all open on separate tabs) that provide additional information and sources.
Frequent visitors to this blog will be aware that I take advantage of the range of media in many of my posts. When I provide links, I make sure that they open in their tab. I am fascinated by how reader activity shapes the hyperlinked selection of top posts & pages, modifying the visual impact of the blog.
A personal quirk of mine, is how I sometimes click likes on other bloggers’ posts. I will, on occasion, try to match up the images. My criteria includes source, colour or monochrome images, and type of art. This creates new context for the other bloggers’ compositions & blog posts.
The examples of Top Posts & Posts I Liked, are from Nov. 20, 2021. In effect, they are historical artifacts. This demonstrates another characteristic of digital text, it can be dynamic & change. You could visit the same blog post over any number of times, and find the extended contextual layout is different. Do these changes modify how a reader interprets the post?
One final consideration, I’ve noticed that the blog layout, with sidebars and footers, are best viewed on a desktop or laptop screen. The layout doesn’t work well on a tablet. I can not imagine reading a blog post on a phone screen. If the blog post is altered, depending on the type of device used, does that mean the message has been altered, in a similar manner, as if it was printed ? Would that mean that each digital device, even though they can carry the same social media, are in fact different ?
Hope you visit the links provided. Do you use these type links on your blogs? Do you use them when visiting other blogs ?
POSTS I LIKED