Some observations

I would like to think that our online communication habits, our ways of talking to each other online, especially via text, could still change for the better. Xitter used to be a kind of online community (for me), literary or paraliterary or just readerly. By the time an execrable and ridiculous human being paid 44 billion USD to acquire the communications platform the platform’s usefulness was already much diminished from whatever it had been two years previous, and then I told myself, supposing that whatever you have to say adds value to this platform, do you really want to add value to a property of this malignant fool? There had been a time not very long before when, with no exaggeration, I and my associates would manically text each other at all times of day (or night), partaking of what a Frenchman once might have called ‘the ecstasy of communication‘.1 Now when I observe the communications of my peers on that old familiar platform (usually on an iPhone, via the web browser) the text seems small and the voices desperate and competing, and indifferent to the by-now omnipresent, and indeed comical reply: ☐ P ☐U ☐ S ☐ S ☐ Y ☐ I ☐ N ☐ B ☐ I ☐ O. Whether the scene changed or my view of it changed, the difference is moot. Fuck that guy and if you can tolerate all that bullshit, great, what else will you put up with.

Many of my peers have taken to Substack, or in fact they had taken to Substack already several years ago, and I was recently surprised to see that at least one of them still uses Medium. We are all going the way of Liveblog and Myspace, though. I think with dismay of the cost of communication and platforms: the cost of a monthly home internet connection, the monthly cost of a cell phone, the cost of maintaining a website, the cost of reading someone’s Substack, the cost of reading a book review in RainTaxi, the cost of reading a scholarly article. Adding it all up is it tenable? As I write this I’m overpaying for the web hosting service that makes this text available to you. I’d really like to imagine that things will be settling down soon, leveling out. There’s been a lot on my mind lately, and no end of unscheduled disruptions to my routine. I seem to recall a certain literary author’s succinctly stating that people tend to grow strange as they age, but they still like to chatter. So do I.

P.S. I just glanced at the ”Social Previews” tab of the sidebar of my blog editor view. Thus, I glanced at how this blog post will preview on Google, on Xitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn (ha), and on tumblr). They all look like shit. I would prefer to imagine I’m writing this for one or two persons who might have this URL in their RSS feed from some years ago (possible but not likely).

  1. I am thinking of Jean Baudrillard’s book The Ecstasy of Communication, which if I recall correctly is probably just a printed and edited transcript of some conversations that Baudrillard participated in. (Side note: Having gone through a phase during university during which I considered Baudrillard the ne plus ultra of a certain kind of disaffected and nihilistic sophistication and having fully discarded that estimation of his work, I can hardly recommend his writings to anyone.) ↩︎