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  • Profile photo of nmw

    nmw 17:08:46 on 2016/03/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , context, , , in real life, incoherence, incoherent, IRL, issue, issues, , , , Mark Twain, , , Mysterious Stranger, , , , , , situation, situations, The Mysterious Stranger, , , , , , ,   

    There is No Such Thing as Context-Free Meaning 

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    For this post, I would like to start out with two operational definitions:

    1. Context-Free Websites
    2. Contextual Websites

    „Context-Free“ websites purport to be containers without context. Supposedly, there is no „situation“ or „issue“ which constrains the content – it is assumed that all data contained in such a website is provided without any context whatsoever. Some readers may be reminded that this is one marker of a „Retard Media“ website (but there are others – for more on „Retard Media“, see this definition).

    The diametric opposite of a context-free websites are referred to as „Contextual“ websites. Contextual websites are clearly situated in the real world, and they also have clearly defined „in real life“ (IRL) issues. They are anything but open spaces, free-for-all playgrounds, romping rooms released to anyone, be they brand name marketing department representives, or whether they come from spamming outbacks, hacker havens or other terrorist enclaves.

    Contextual websites are most definitely constrained: If you do not appreciate such constraints, then you are plain and simple not welcome.

    What is less clear to most is that context-free websites are by their nature meaningless. Yet if you reflect a little, it should be easy to see and understand that incoherent babble – as it does not cohere to anything – must be meaningless babble.

    One of my favorite authors – Mark Twain – described such a „detached from life“ being at the end of one of the last stories / novels he published (see, e.g. “The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories”, by Mark Twain):

    “Life itself is only a vision, a dream.”

    It was electrical. By God! I had had that very thought a thousand times in my musings!

    “Nothing exists; all is a dream. God—man—the world—the sun, the moon, the wilderness of stars—a dream, all a dream; they have no existence. Nothing exists save empty space—and you!”


    “And you are not you—you have no body, no blood, no bones, you are but a thought. I myself have no existence; I am but a dream—your dream, creature of your imagination. In a moment you will have realized this, then you will banish me from your visions and I shall dissolve into the nothingness out of which you made me….

    “I am perishing already—I am failing—I am passing away. In a little while you will be alone in shoreless space, to wander its limitless solitudes without friend or comrade forever—for you will remain a thought, the only existent thought, and by your nature inextinguishable, indestructible. But I, your poor servant, have revealed you to yourself and set you free. Dream other dreams, and better!

    “Strange! that you should not have suspected years ago—centuries, ages, eons, ago!—for you have existed, companionless, through all the eternities. Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane—like all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and invented hell—mouths mercy and invented hell—mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!…

    “You perceive, now, that these things are all impossible except in a dream. You perceive that they are pure and puerile insanities, the silly creations of an imagination that is not conscious of its freaks—in a word, that they are a dream, and you the maker of it. The dream-marks are all present; you should have recognized them earlier.

    “It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream—a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought—a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!”

    He vanished, and left me appalled; for I knew, and realized, that all he had said was true.

    The more incoherent a site is, the more meaningless are the messages the site aims to convey. The content – whether big data or small bits – thereby becomes as insiginificant as nothing more than a heap of garbage. To top it off, one could of course lie to people… – for example: one could tell them it is all about faces even though in reality it is all about brands. 😉


  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 13:26:00 on 2013/09/19 Permalink
    Tags: , abstracting, abstracts, classification, , context, garbage, , , , Marshal McLuhan, , , , , , ratio, , , ,   

    The Online Plague 2.0: The very low context-to-content ratio of information on the web (and its bimodal distribution) 

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    Here’s a very good depiction of online / web content:

    GIGO: Garbage in, Garbage out

    Google’s approach is to skim the top of a huge one-size fits-all pool of undifferentiated bits (actually, Google’s search engine only searches through text, not images or movies; and it also only searches a very small amount amount of text — and besides: the algorithm is so poor that it has become quite useless, unless you want to get to amazon.com by simply typing “amazon” into Google ;) ).

    A more advanced approach to information would be to separate different types of information into different “buckets” (this is known as “classification”), or to point to individual pieces of information from different points of view (this is called “indexing”). There is a long tradition of abstracting, indexing and classification in the field of information science, but Google fan-boys often argue that such tried and true methods are now superfluous, because “just Google it“! :P

    Each of the different access points to information can be viewed as a different perspective, or as a different filter or also as a different lens. I usually use the term “context” (to underscore how context and content are related by the container — roughly, the container is the channel, or the medium Marshal McLuhan referred to in his famous quote: “The medium is the message”).

    At present, online media are very much like a small number of huge garbage heaps — whether that’s Google’s copy of the web stored on Google servers, or Facebook’s proprietary stash of media stored on Facebook’s computers, or maybe a handful of other companies that try to suck up as much “user generated content” as possible, functioning much like big industrial vacuum cleaners or mutant mega-aardvarks. The vast amounts of data are piled high and deep in proprietary databases (basically, these companies function as gigantic data-collection robots). These companies manage vast amounts of content — undifferentiated datastreams that have by and large no or very little contextual information. Indeed: most of these datastreams are simply duplicated and a copy is placed on each and every one of these huge heaps ad nauseum.

    At the moment, there is really only one exception to the rule: Many individuals maintain individual (“personal”) blogs. These are intended to be very particular log-books of individual people — a sort of “daily diary” documenting anything that is particular or peculiar about that person… written as an autobiography. In this case, the context is minute: each blog post is essentially just one individual’s ideas. Most blogs are not intended to be collaborative efforts, though there are also exceptions to the rule (ranging from a company like “Mashable” to the very large group blogging system “Tumblr”).

    I have always thought that such group / collaborative efforts are the future of the web — and it is with great reluctance that I have to admit that they apparently still are! 8O

  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 10:41:41 on 2013/07/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , context, , , , funnel, , , , , , participatory, point of sale, , , start, ,   

    Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk,… 

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    One primary reason we share information is to talk about it, to exchange ideas, to profit from discussion….

    This has, however, been sorely neglected by many so-called “social media” companies. For them, the reason we share information is for them to simply use that information to sell advertising.

    For us, content is merely the starting point, the springboard, to get to new and improved understanding. For them, content is much closer to the point of sale.

  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 09:24:50 on 2013/07/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , context, , creatives, , , ,   

    Ideas today are only as good as their execution — you need to have creatives and media people thinking as a single team 

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    As online advertising begins to move away from a machine-gun banner ad approach and toward more content-focused and “native” ad experiences, the scale piece becomes less important in buying media. There are far more opportunities now, many creative and digital agencies say, and they think they’re better equipped than big media agencies to take advantage of that fact.

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