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The social media information explosion spectacle.

How did we get here?

Fritz Kohle

on 22 February 2018

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Transcript of The social media information explosion spectacle.

The social media information explosion spectacle:
How did we get here?

Kaplan & Haenlein 2010
Kaplan & Haenlein defined social media back in 2010:

"a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content."
Not every one agrees with Kapp and McLuhan. German media philospher, Friedrich Kittler, says: "media are not pseudopods for extending the human body. They follow the logic of escalation that leaves us and written history behind it".

Unlike McLuhan and Kapp his perspective is
non-anthropocentric. In his view an AI will make us obsolete.
What does he mean by that?

For example is it possible that language will be around when Humans have all died out? How? Is there already a non-human language?

What is the message of rock art?
Europe did not invent print first. But it had the cultural and social conditions for new ideas that lead to reformation and enlightenment.

Who used print technology a thousand years earlier?
February 22, 1774, is an important date for copyright law.
How did the Elite respond?
Conflict and media are intrinsically linked. The Arab Spring, the Rezi Park demonstrations, the civil war in the Ukraine, etc, are recent examples. Media today would not exist in its current form without war and conflict - whether we like this fact or not. (Remember Chris Rock?)
In an IMEM survey students said that:

12% still read print
81.1% claim mainstream news as main source
54% say that the internet and social media has a significant impact on their opinion
72% of all digital natives say the internet is the main news source
74% use social media to connect to friends a family

How are digital natives experiencing social media?
Fritz Kohle, MA
Doctoral candidate Edinburgh University

From mere record keeping and battle accounts to a new form of writing: from trade to heroes. What is the message here?

Thank You
Contact details:
Fritz Kohle

AI - Robots with souls:
Funerals held for robot dogs across Japan

Recommended Reading:
The Culture of Connectivity:
A critical history of social media
Jose van Dijk, 2013

McLuhan predicted an interconnected 'global village'.
Communication theory states that a signal is sent from a sender via a medium to a receiver.

The transmitter and receiver are assumed to be operated by a

An AI can now take the place of a transmitter and receiver and replace humans.

For example google algorithms and surveillance application such as GCHQ's tempura are already sending and receiving information about human users. They analyse user behaviour and anticipate what the user is likely to search for on google / do next.

OTT operators like Netflix employ similar algorithms. They receive and send signals to other algorithms in a system where communication is dominated by technology.

Humans have become part of an equation. AI's are now talking about us.
We used to talk about media.
In the past: Human
In the future: AI
In the past: Human
In the future: AI
Language gave us a sense of past-present-future.

Try explaining what happened to you yesterday without language.
Or what the weather will be like tomorrow.

From a narrative perspective language gives us a beginning, middle and end.
Language does not leave a permanent record.
But rock art, cave paintings and early writing does.
It changed the way we communicated again.

This is important for trade: writing makes it possible to have a written contract and keep a record of stocks.
Greek writing with a strong philosophical perspective - an ancient form of 'auteur' story telling. The rise of democracy.
The House of Lords decides in the case of Donaldson vs. Becket that copyright is not perpetual but limited in duration.

What does that mean?
The state took a number of measures:
own the printing press, broadcast licenses, censorship.

More importantly governments began to produce
their own propaganda media.
What was it called when it was invented?
Arpanet was established by the US Department of Defense.

"The medium is the message"
"Media an extension of the mind"

What did McLuhan mean by that?
How is Social Media an extension of the mind?
But he wasn't the first to claim that media technology is an extension of the mind. German philosopher Ernst Kapp described technology as an extension of the body and nervous system already 100 years earlier in his work 'Die Philosophie der Technik'.
What could this mean for us? What does social media mean if humans are increasingly only a part of the equation?
To begin this lecture we split you into a couple of groups. Each group will discuss for
20 minutes
social media.

Group 1&2:
How did people imagine a
future global social media network?

Group 3&4:
Who invented social media?

Group 5&6:
What exactly is social media?

Do not just copy what others in the field say, but examine their findings and then find your own answers.

First write your answers on the presentation paper and then enter your definition into the google form link shown below.

Two members of each team present findings to class.

Structure of this session:

You will do some research
We discuss your findings,
followed by a brief lecture

A new way of writing and thinking
Print: a new way of publishing and reaching audiences
What is the message
of print media?
Ownership and Exploitation
The dialectical evolution of media
How did media theorists anticipate social media?
What does Media Theory teach us?
From oral story telling to recorded history:
During the cold war period and civil rights movement the US Department of Defense (DARPA) secretly developed network technology in collaboration with scientists such as Leonard Kleinrock who worked at UCLA and in the public domain.
Friedrich Kittler
Print Revolution: Revolutionary Pamphlets

Spreading ideas.
Obar & Wildman 2015
1) Social media services are (currently) Web 2.0 Internet based applications

2) User generated content is the lifeblood of social media,

3) Individuals and groups create user-specific profiles for a site or app designed and maintained by a social media service,

4) Social media services facilitate the development of social networks online by connecting a profile with those of other individuals and/or groups.

Nicole Ellison 2007
We define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to
(1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system,
(2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and
(3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site.
Communications Expert
Marketing Experts
Communications Experts
Media Theorist & Philosopher
What is the message of language?
How was Social Media anticipated by scholars?

Technology as an extension of Man
McLuhan claims that all media are extensions of ourselves.

He also says that 'The Medium is the Message'.

What does that mean?
What kind of message is social media?
Donaldson versus Beckett, 1772
Leonard Kleinrock
Ray Tomlinson Email 1971
Network Connections 1969
Tim Berners-Lee

So what exactly is social media?
If the medium is the message, what is the message?

Is social media just Web 2.0 technology?
Is it just a marketing tool?
A network with user accounts?
Who do you connect to online?
Is Skype social media?
Crowd-funder Indiegogo?

How I use Social Media in Production
How others use Social Media in Production
What spoeple thought about the future. Did they think there would be a global network connecting people? How did they imagine such a global network?
Social Media today is also the result of the cold war.
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) 1989
Your findings:
What we can learn from the past
Your findings: who invented the Internet
Your findings: what exactly is social media?
Documentary participants can contribute content to an online exhibition
Kapp quotes Rudolf Virchow, 1877:

“Die Nerven sind Kabeleinrichtungen des thierischen Koerpers, wie man die Telegraphenkabel Nerven der Menschheit nennen kann.”

Nerves are the cables of the animal body, just as you can call the Telegraph cables the nerves of mankind
“We will see the spread of computer utilities which, like present electric and telephone utilities, will service individual homes and offices across the country”
“A business man in New York (will be able) to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere”
Nikola Tesla
"It is a super university I am thinking of a world brain; no less." H.G. Wells' World Brain

"(A user can ) insert a comment of his own, either linking it into the main trail or joining it by a side trail to a particular item" Vannevar Bush - the Memex
How I define social media now
• Social media makes it possible for users to create specific SNS-profiles and project an authentic online personality as members of the global digital family

• Social media facilitates emotional contagion

• On social media users contribute to our digital global collective consciousness

• The lifeblood for Social Network Sites is user data: it allows users to connect and share
content with others and makes it possible for SNS to generate revenues

• As long as SNS meet user needs, users accept corporate exploitation of their data

• Technological innovation in social media is subject to a dialectical process involving public generic research in education and clandestine research in the military and/or business.

Organisational theorists Richard Daft and Robert Lengel say that Internet technology lacks the depth needed for real human interaction (Daft & Lengel, 1986)
Emotional Contagion and Authenticity
But Kramer, Guillory and Hancock at Cornell University show that emotions can be transmitted very well via social media.

The team found that longer-lasting emotions like happiness or depression can be transferred through networks. This suggests that real world “in-person interaction and non-verbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion.” (Kramer, Guillory, & Hancock, 2014, p. 8788)

MIT Social Sciences Professor Sherry Turkle claims that the Internet is influencing the human spirit in a negative way:

"Human relationships are rich and they're messy and they're demanding. And we clean them up with technology. And when we do, one of the things that can happen is that we sacrifice conversation for mere connection (Turkle, 2016), (07:05)."

Visions of the Future
How others use Social Media in Production
We can say that media technology evolves as a result of a dialectical process.
In plain English:

we need a bad guy or situation (antithesis) to challenge us (thesis) to survive and make progress (synthesis).

This is how comedian Chris Rock sees it.

"We need bullies"

(The clip contains strong language.)
The evolution of Media technology
If this is interesting to you
check out the ideas of
philosophers Johann Fichte and
Friedrich Hegel.
Trumps tweets regularly upset people like Senoritas response to Trumps shithole country tweet.
Full transcript