I released a zine in September called “Your attention is sovereign”. As of today its been downloaded over 2.5k times – which I don’t think it too shabby at all for a self published PDF. If you want to read it you can download it here. It contains a collection of transcripts from my podcast Permanently Moved on the attention economy, social media, and device use.
The TLDR is that it’s important to move away from corporate owned social platforms and don’t feed the machine. It is vital to ‘own your space’ on the internet, but have to avoid the traps of what Venkat Rao calls ‘Waldenponding’.
Move to your own little island archipelago on the internet. What Warren Ellis coined as “The Isles of Blogging”. Each blog “a little radio station broadcasting though the night”
I’ve seen the idea circulating for a while: come off the streams, own your own platform for your own voice and your own complete statements. It seems like a reactionary step, from some angles. But maybe that great river, The Conversation, was, like every river followed to its source, a dead end. The resurgence of the Republic Of Newsletters may be one aspect of a return to the ocean, dotted with little pirate radio stations broadcasting through the night again.REBLOG, OR: LITTLE RADIO STATIONS IN THE NIGHT
As a trend it has been progressing for a while. Early 2018 being the start of the Archipelago (re)settlement in my mind. The seas of social media have risen around us. So blogs, what once were the mountain tops of internet culture have become little Islands.
Of course The Grand Island Hermit / “Brackish Estuary Wizard” Warren Ellis is not so much a first mover here but the Lighthouse. Beaming out a signal of independence. Having consistently produced a newsletter and squatted his blog in a shack on numerous little island domains over the decades he’s been online.
It would be an understatement to say that Uncle Warrens lighthouse has been an inspiration for me to start building out my little island, an off hand comment from him is also the reason I started my podcast too.
Here are some thoughts from other folks who returned to blogging in the last year or so:
HARD TO START AGAIN – Paul Graham Raven
WHY YOU SHOULD BLOG – Matthew Wayne Selznick
RETURNING TO THE AGE OF BLOGGING – Reza Negarestani
Paul Raven I must note has also been an inspiration. He quit twitter + other platforms way back in 2015. But I see photos of his hikes, read his musings, and read the links he shares from the Velcro City Tourist Board. All via my RSS Reader. My own personalised internet feed with no algorithmic manipulation.
I started blogging weekly here back in 2018. At the time of re-starting here was my reasoning:
2017 was the year that twitter went to 240 characters – I like it. It’s made for a much clearer space. Slightly more room for nuance – but only just. There is however still no time and space allowed to be convinced under the logic of the modern social network. You have to have a position immediately to keep the whole machine running. Long threads of 240 characters however are annoying and are better served by other mediums/platforms. 1 tweet is a microblog. A chain of ten 240 character tweets is just a short blog write it somewhere else. I commented a while back on Twitter that we should all go back to writing blogs021 :: I used to bother to post things here
For the love of Blarg, Start a Blog
Since the election results, Twitter has been full of long, smart threads from people analysing and expressing nuanced thoughts on the Labour Party and the Left. Writing up their experiences of door knocking and the like. But I just saw the second 50+ tweet thread float across my feed and felt compelled to vent here.
Your thread is great! But it is also ephemeral, temporal.
It might feel great to see all the shares, likes and comments and follows rolling in.
But the reality of twitter the way that the platform is designed. Is that no one is going to be able to find it again in a weeks time. And in a month or so no one is going to remember it all.
That smart important take blasted out in a Twitter thread is going to quickly sink down though the chummy social media seas into the deep never to be seen again. Yes, some people might bookmark It. Others might bookmark the thread reader version. But this is no substitute for hauling those important thoughts out of the private social seas on to dry land of your own Blogging Island. Safe. Permanent. Secure. And most importantly – Linkable and Searchable.
The reality is, by the time the Labour leadership election roles round. The only content that people will immediately be able to find will be the takes in the mainstream press. And this is a major part of the problem.
Yes, the Chakrabortty take today in the Guardian is worth reading. But it isn’t the only piece/take in this moment that will be worth finding and re-sharing in 6 months.
It might unfortunately turn out to be the ONLY take that you can find that was useful reading produced in this moment. Written by someone and broadcast by an entity that already has a large platform. The mainstream media cannot continue to own the historical and indexible record.
It’s vital that more than ever we build out an independent media. The first step is to make your own media independent.
Start a damn blog. People might give you shit for what you say on it on twitter, but you can ignore them. Only pay attention to folks that take the time to write a blog. ‘In medium’ responses. Blogs already have nearly 2 decades of grammar and expectations of what a blog is and can be. In addition to commentary and essays, you can just write about a book you read or TV show you watched. They are far more personal than an instagram feed dedicated to your amazing lunch could ever be. I post photos of food I’ve eaten here all the time
Hyperlinks work horizontally across the web. They aren’t just there to provide a sign post to remove you from the walled garden of the social network. (see the link in dipping the stacks on ‘link in bio).
Our conversations can be and have to be longer, more nuanced, developing, linked, networked. There is a reason that MF’s Kpunk blog has gotten a posthumous print collection.
There is a whole segment of our collective discourse/history from around 2012 to the present day missing. Lost from our collective memories. Unsearchable and unfindable. Surrounded by sea scum of outrage and bullshit. This needs to change.
Please for the love of blog, start a damn blarg.
The day after.
Novara Media Election Sesh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3RQWEziIKw
Audit of Political Engagement 16: https://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/publications/reports/audit-of-political-engagement-16
Permanently moved is a personal podcast 301 seconds in length, written and recorded in one hour by @thejaymo
I made this podcast in a fugue state yesterday morning after working all night. The alternative title of the podcast was going to be “Its just Us, Capital, and the Fash”
Last show of the year is next week.
If you hadn’t guessed PROJECT NOVA (as I was doxxed day one by their Instagram stories) was working at Novara Media. I have been helping out since the election began, and I worked all night Thursday during there marathon Election Sesh livestream.
Novara Media have become one of the most important voices in left independent media in the UK. During the 2010 student protests, across tables, in squats and at other gatherings, a lot of energy was spent discussing ‘institution building’. For my part I put my energy into Unmonastary and other things. But the Novara team decided to go out and build a media organisation. All held together on a shoe string budget funded by its audience. If you aren’t already a supporter I urge you to go become one now.
A reality often forgotten by the Twitterti left is that Novara Media represent ‘the long protest. For the Novara Team the protest against austerity, student fees, terrible mainstream reporting, capitalism and a fight for Socialism in the UK that began back in 2010/11 never ended.
I don’t think anyone would deny that they haven’t been successful. The Marathon Election Sesh livestream was professional as hell. They have even bigger plans for the future.
On top of the crazy week I also attended a blockchain workshop on Monday. A was the continuation of this series. I might blog about it when some of the documentation is online. My team designed a DAO called “DAO’n to earth”.
And was a stock market for soil sensor data with built in economic incentives to look after soil health. (See my forthcoming book Land As Platform)
Dipping the Stacks
“Link In Bio” is a slow knife
Relevant to the discussion about starting a blog
I’m still reading the Ravenor trilogy and Playing at the World
Catnapp was fucking awesome at Sonar this summer. This week brings us a cover of Limp Bizkit’s – Full Nelson. Banger