Estimated reading time: 4 minutes —
THE HAGUE, 9 April — Vaneeesa Blaylock’s skill at detecting bullshit, or at least her glee at convincing herself that she does, have gained a wide following. Recently paid £500 to determine whether or not Clipix and SocialBro are or are not in fact BULLSHIT!!!, Blaylock’s research is today being released for free to you, the readers of I Rez, Therefore I Am.
• Vaneeesa Blaylock’s Bullshit Series
Clipix was easy, it’s a straight clone of Pinterest with very minor differences. Some tiny plusses. Some tiny minuses. Massive ripoff. It has privacy settings that Pinterest doesn’t, because, of course, we all put stuff on The Internet to keep it private!? I can’t imagine a circumstance where this clone will ever have the reach of mighty Pinterest. Slam dunk:
Clipix is Bullshit!
SocialBro was a much more difficult Bullshit determination. This app lets you analyze / optimize your Twitter. I kind of hated it right away, but that’s really a knee jerk reaction, and after all, I am paid for my ability to hate stuff! The reality is, if you’re using social media, whether it’s to say earth shattering things, or to become a celebrity based only on your celebrity, whether you have a lot to say, or nothing to say, whether it’s about art or money or both… there really aren’t too many scenarios where you’re announcing yourself and want to be barely heard. Whatever you’re saying, a few more ears is probably good. So sure SocialBro is a monumentally dumb and ill-fitting name, but realistically shouldn’t we all optimize the pimping of our stuff?
I was actually so torn on this issue of whether SocialBro was Bullshit, or just helping us optimize the online shouting we were already doing, that I started to think that maybe
Vaneeesa Blaylock is Bullshit!
One aspect of how you use Twitter is number of followers and number followed. With SocialBro, you’re never more than 1-click away from the Twitter leader-board that reaffirms Lady Gaga’s status as #1 with her 21 million followers. Ron Paul may be the President of the Internet, but Lady Gaga is the Queen!
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s got the most Twitter followers of them all?
The subtext of SocialBro, the Twitterverse, and Social Networking in general, is that if you want to be heard, you also have to “repay the follow” a lot. I follow 100 peeps on Twitter and can barely keep up with that stream. If you follow 300, ok, maybe that works. But so many peeps follow 1,000 or many more. I don’t get that – how does it work? You can’t actually read a 1,000 peep Twitter stream, can you? So to follow that many means they’re like “fake Facebook ‘friends'” right? And sure, if more people follow you than you follow, you could be on your way to being Gaga II, but if I follow 3,000 and 3,000 follow me back… doesn’t that just mean a whole lot of people never reading each other’s stuff?
Interestingly, I had dinner with a publicist last night, I’ll call her Carlotta. She’s not the familiar kind of publicist who writes press releases sending the facts of some event or organization out to the media. She’s a different kind of publicist. Carlotta is a negative publicity specialist. For example, during Academy Awards season, she’s paid to watch and analyze competing films in a category so that a studio can engage in negative advertising against the other films. Yup. Just like a political campaign where the candidates tear each other to shreds, this is no different. It’d never occurred to me that Carlotta’s job even existed. Of course, once she told me about it, far from surprised, I said, “oh, of course, that makes sense.” By “sense,” I didn’t mean that was a wonderful world I wanted to live in, just that in the money of art, it comes as no surprise.
When the winner goes up to collect their gold statue, and they say the familiar “it’s an honor just to be among 5 amazing artists, I really want to share this award with my fellow nominees.” Well, that sounds very magnanimous, but it’s actually kind of an apology for the months of subtle tearing down of their “fellow nominees” they’ve been engaged in.
So I thought about my new friend the negative publicist, and my new SocialBro the Twitter optimizer. It’s only money, right? Ya gotta do what ya gotta do? You’d be stupid to do less! To let somebody else have all that attention.
Well, yeah, but,
this can’t be the reason Ada Lovelace invented programming
this can’t be the reason Richard Stallman invented the free software movement
this can’t be the reason Douglas Engelbart invented the GUI
this can’t be the reason Steve Wozniak invented the personal computer
this can’t be the reason Alan Kay invented the laptop
this can’t be the reason Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web
this can’t be the reason Lawrence Lessig invented Creative Commons
This can’t be the reason that Ada and Richard and Doug and Steve and Alan and Tim and Larry and so many others have poured their heart and soul and blood and sweat and tears into building a new media century that isn’t just a rehash of the previous top-down, one-to-many century where a half dozen rich white guys controlled the bulk of global media. Where their gatekeepers decided what music could be heard, what books could be published, what films could be made. Is our goal to SocialBro our way to be miniature Michael Eisners? Minature Ted Turners? Miniature Rupert Murdochs? Isn’t this century and our new media world supposed to be about something different? Something more? Something… oh gawd… here it comes… something real?
SocialBro seems like a useful tool. If you want to win, if you want to play hard, if you want to work the machine, if you want to scream louder than the other kids, SocialBro could help. It’s naive to think that the content of your character, or the power of your ideas could triumph all by themselves, right? Without help? If you have something important to say, you need a big machine broadcasting an over-simplified Kony 2012-icized version of it, right?
SocialBro is useful.
SocialBro could help you “win.”
SocialBro is the opposite of the 21st century I want to live in.
SocialBro is Bullshit!