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A Loveless Blog Comment

08 Apr Posted by in on trends | Comments Off on A Loveless Blog Comment
A Loveless Blog Comment
 

As a blogger and a devout supporter of social media, it provides no greater validation and fulfillment than to actually receive feedback.

I recently called up a very fundamental mentor of mine, to tell him about my magazine and share with him my new found outlet for my passion. This is the teacher who gave me photoshop skills and converted over to a Mac (I grew up in a PC household, the son of an IBM programmer for 24 years).

I asked him to give me his advice and opinions about my magazine, because he used to own and run a magazine himself. I was fishing for any tips about how to find business resources, contributors and what not and possibly a pat on the back for a such great looking graphics.

I was kind of surprised by his response, which I included below:

Email Subject : The Medium is the MessageFrom : almost Doctor Loveless

I still write privately as a social commentator every now and then, so I’ll drop you a few lines to give my thoughts on your e-zine.

Since completing post-grad work in history, specifically a small era of social history, I’ve come to pretty base conclusions – which are probably not too original: The uncultured human is inherently nihilistic. What do I mean by this and how does it relate to what is happening today with regards to techno-communication and social networking?

Firstly, I think you knew (ever since my introduction to it in the mid 1980s) how strong my infatuation was (and still is) with the Bauhaus period of craft/arts. Still enamored with the achievements of the period, graduate school reinforced my love and even gave me new insight into what was happening socially during that time and how/why it was reflected in the arts. Arts of the period, specifically literature, painting and the then brand new medium of film were used in new ways that expressed current feelings and documentation of current trends and attitudes. Some artisans and producers of the period were quite keen and aware of what they were creating and how such creativity reflected their world. Some did not share this insight and were only consumed with practicality and solving immediate problems. Both categories of artists produced incredible works.

But the creators of the period were united in a single idea fomenting all people of the period – in this case, the citizens of the Weimar Republic. The arts and creativity galvanized people to a single purpose – which in time, was turned upside down and would have tragic consequences. The idea that united people was civilisation. This was an idea, a sort of definition of culture, in which people were to be refined, educated and well equipped (mentally and physically) to address, converse and expound the larger of life’s questions. Do the new ways of communication do this for us today?

I have a cell phone and I have email. But I’ve removed all of my social networking exposure (I have no Facebook or Myspace) over the last few months. The reason? I see the same kind of thing that happened in the Weimar Republic happening today. The exception is today there is no civilisation associated with the new communication.

I call it new communication because that’s exactly what it is. The new communication (email, Tweeting, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) is essentially just that, a new way to communicate the same message. It can be through a new device, electronic medium, but it’s only faster – that’s all. It has the same end game, the same result as something written on a piece of paper and stuffed into an envelope. This illustrates the human race is no more intelligent or wise than previous generations – just more clever in their message delivery; which in the grand scheme of things, is neither intelligent or wise. And even more disturbing is that we’ve utilized new technology without having a content worthy of dissemination. It’s much like television when it was heralded as the “educational savior” in the 1940s. It has since evolved from the cathode ray tube, to the flat screen LCD or plasma display still used to display pornographic content and much else not worthy of transmission.

All the observations you make on your e-zine “About this Mag” tab are absolutely true. These observations illustrate a tailored niche feedback loop for a specific market, product, or people. After all, there is no one size fits all anymore. This new communication has essentially relegated itself to a giant feedback loop, constantly reinforcing itself at every opportunity. The loop sometimes gets bigger, and sucks more of us in (think Myspace or Facebook). Or, it’s a small loop that appeals to a select few (think guerilla marketing). Yes it is pretty neat to scan a code and learn about a new product, or see what the latest news or sale at target, but what is this instant information doing to us? Does it make us more impatient, self absorbed with wanting, not only information instantly, but goods and services instantly? Does it make us more vain by constantly updating our status as if hundreds or perhaps thousands of people really cared? Is this need for instant information satisfaction and gratification the “Me” generation of the 1980s transformed? Does it in any way reflect where and what we live as art did for the citizens of the Weimar Republic, or is it as I stated previously a feedback loop reinforcing and amplifying the nihilistic desires in us all with each playback? I’m leaning towards the latter.

I think I see the beginning results of this when the man in front of me at McDonald’s is busy texting on his phone and then suddenly stops to get upset when his Big Mac isn’t delivered within 45 seconds. I see it with kids posting pictures of themselves on Picasaweb striking poses found only in the top glamour magazines or dressed up as a Jersey Shore wanna-be.

In short, new ways of communication are pretty cool, but what’s the need if there’s nothing to say?

My Take Aways

Counter-intuitively I was very proud of my doctor Loveless. He didn’t show me love and he didn’t pour over my work and efforts with some fake validation. He didn’t even open the bashing with some artificial buffer like “Don’t take this the wrong way…”.

He gave me more than validation, he gave me a conversation, which is what any smart citizen journalist longs for. I read the hardest parts of his disagreement a couple times. Coming from a man I really respect and admire they, felt like the hard love of a parent. His Gladwell-esque ideas on social media really sunk in and I can’t lie they made me question what I am doing and why.

Then clicked on the reply button and wrote him back…


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