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  • Profile photo of nmw

    nmw 16:09:28 on 2016/05/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , common language, , , corporate, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    The Rise of Rational Media 

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    Recently, I posted something on Facebook that I said to Vint Cerf 10 years ago. It was revolutionary then. Even more shocking to me today is that it probably still seems revolutionary.

    Why? Why do so many people still appear so lacking in literacy skills? Perhaps even more importantly: Why do I remain so optimistic that more and more people will eventually acquire more and more literacy skills after all?

    So far, I am sorry to say that I don’t know why. Maybe I simply prefer to have an optimistic outlook.

    But I think almost anyone will have to admit that there are clear signs that a change is indeed presently happening here and now. The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations were clear signs that people are no longer willing to be duped and suckered by governments and corporations alike. The only failure Occupy experienced was a lack of power – in the end, the side with more and most of all more powerful guns won.

    Is literacy more powerful than weaponry? The Enlightenment preached that the pen was mightier than the sword, but was that perhaps also simply a hoax?

    Again: My optimism leads me to continue to believe in the power of literacy. What happened during the Occupy uprising was, after all, not a true test of literacy against weaponry – it was plain and simple stubborn power against stubborn power… and stronger stubborn power won.

    The true test of literacy is when people decide „We won’t get fooled again“… and follow through on their own convictions.

    This was one reason people stopped using Google and started using social media websites instead. They didn’t realize the new boss was more or less the same as the old boss. Do they realize this now? Time will tell.

    What became quite clear during the Occupy uprising was that the government was not on the side of the 99%. This was perhaps a shock to many… but it is not the first time that a government has sided with commercial and industrial interests.

    As I recently wrote: Government may indeed have very little or even no interest in promoting the literacy of its people if it believes it may be threatened by a more literate population. In order to win a following, governments and corporations alike employ propaganda and advertising rather than rational argumentation.

    Rational media, instead, are built on a foundation of literacy. Still few and far between (mainly because propaganda and advertising were much more widespread throughout the 20th Century), rational media are not normally closely held by private interests. Indeed, because of the distributed nature of the Internet, it is very difficult to maintain monopoly power over rational media (versus, for example, retard media).

    The first sign of a literate public is one which is willing and able to abstain from succumbing to monopoly powers. This was true when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses onto the front doors of a Catholic church cathedral 5 centuries ago, and it is equally true for anyone who is willing and able to refrain from using Google or Facebook.

    Another sign of a more literate public is one which is willing and able to agree on terminology. This is perhaps easier said than done. Obviously, it is extremely difficult in situations where people speak completely different languages. Yet even when people speak more or less the same language, they may have different opinions about many things, and such differences of opinion may lead to differing terminology, and perhaps also significant misunderstandings.

    One way to mitigate this problem of potential misunderstanding is to focus intensely on „common language“ terminology. It is possible to sacrifice precision without sacrificing accuracy, and it is a great feat to be content with a solution which is essentially on the mark despite spilling over into minor side effects.

    There are many more aspects of a literate society that deserve to be enumerated, but this post is already quite long. So I will simply save them for another rainy day.

  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 18:01:44 on 2014/04/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , corporate, , , , employee, employer, , , , , , , , labor market, narcissism, narcissistic, , , product, , , , self promotion, , , , , , , west, western   

    What is right / wrong, good / bad about self-promotion 

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    In the 20th century, self-promotion acquired a bad name. I think I can explain why, but explanation is rather complicated.

    After the modern capitalism was invented in the 18th century and became widely established throughout the western hemisphere in the 19th century, the 20th century further developed capitalistic enterprise on a strong foundation, as social organization and supportive legal frameworks spread across the globe, especially in the “free market” economies of the so-called “developed” nations and the countries that comprised what simply became known as “The West”.

    In particular, employment became the economic cornerstone of many such western economies. People no longer worked for themselves, increasingly people worked for companies… and companies sold products and services. The “labor pool” was conceived of as an ever-present and adaptable supply which a company might hire at will (or not). By and large, the supply of labor became a clandestine market in which employers could choose to invite candidates behind closed doors and offer those deemed willing and able to do as ordered to become employees.

    More and more humans became beings with the qualification and the ability to follow orders. As time went on, those characteristics which qualified and enabled humans to follow orders became the quintessential characteristic of the free market human being. For the vast majority of people, entrepreneurial spirit became completely eradicated — and by the end of the 20th century it was all but completely destroyed in the social fabric. The most marked sign of this thwarting of the human spirit is the notion of “unemployment” — the state of not having a job in which the employee follows the orders of his or her master or boss.

    Today we live in a world in which we have inherited a social order that frowns upon insubordination — because subordination has become the defining characteristic of a well-adapted individual. A person who freely declares to be willing and able to do something by themselves is treated with utmost skepticism. We do not expect our products and services to be offered by people. We expect such things to be companies with brand names. We value the brand, not the person.

    It is in this vein, that the person who engages in self-promotion is today seen as narcissistic and perhaps even anti-social. The main thing that is bad or wrong about self-promotion is that society tends to condemn it (and this is especially true of free market western societies based on “labor market” / “employment” capitalism). The main thing that is right or good about self-promotion is that it establishes a healthy and self-confident self-image… — it is the socialization of self esteem. A society that supports self-promotion enables its members to identify themselves as willing and able to function in a socially productive manner.

  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 14:41:10 on 2013/10/25 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , corporate, , , , , , ,   

    Business Cards + Personal Brand 

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    About 100 years ago, 2 technologies spread throughout the world that made business cards and personal branding important in the 20th Century: Automobiles and telephones. Throughout the 20th Century, cars made it evermore commonplace for people to travel long distances — especially to their daily workplaces. And it also became ever less important to meet in the same room, as communication was increasingly done via telephone.

    Yet the business card and personal branding have pretty much run their course — they have become obsolete because new technologies have largely made them superfluous.

    In a rather simple and straightforward manner, if you know someone’s name, then you don’t have to look up a telephone number — today, you can simply contact them directly via their name.

    Yet even more importantly: Personal names and branding no longer matter very much. People and brands are — relatively speaking — ephemeral. The CEO of this company this year may very well be the CEO of that company next year, and companies themselves are also constantly being bought and sold. Unless you want to go with a brand with many centuries of legacy, you are best off finding the best product or the best service by searching by the type of product or service you are looking for. If you do not plan to stay at the Waldorf Astoria, you are better off searching for hotels in New York City.

    What is odd, though, is that many people have not realized these changes. Indeed, perhaps more than 50% of all website registrations are registered to someones personal or brand name, and what is even funnier is that there is usually very little information available at such websites — often hardly anything other than the telephone number and street address! Perhaps — if you are lucky — you will find that the site states that the company offers “only the best” products and services. Although shocking, many businesses still do not have any website at all (and suggest that you go to a twitter or facebook page to interact).

    In other words: These companies ask you to expose yourself to the NSA in order to reach out to them. This is indeed remarkable — almost ridiculous… but nonetheless in many cases it is actually still true! 8O

  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 22:25:52 on 2013/10/18 Permalink
    Tags: authoritarian, , corporate, , , dictate, , , , , , , , , gay, governence, , , , monopoly power, , , ,   

    ICANN’s Plan to Privatize the English Language: Dot Gay 

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    A friend of mine, Ray King, is one of the applicants for .Gay — and he just wrote:

    The current issue is whether a small group of the Internet elite understand the problems with delegating a single company as the gatekeeper and censor for the global “gay community,” and if a company that has objected to .lgbt can still be considered credible community representatives. I welcome your comments and debate on this topic as a productive means of creating a prideful and empowering .gay TLD, and encourage those with opinions to weigh in on ICANN’s public forum, where your voice is most effective.

    Very few people understand the implications of what privatizing part of the English Language means, but Ray raises some very good points. In my opinion ICANN’s entire plan is completely misguided. No one company should be allowed to dictate what is or is not a valid “gay” domain, or for that matter a valid domain that has anything to do with the English Language. The English Language belongs to its speakers, not a private corporation.

    ICANN’s attempt to privatize the English Language will probably do a great deal of harm to English as “lingua franca”. If a private company is allowed to dictate what a gay domain is, a book domain is, an app domain, a bank domain or a health domain, … and that domain has up to now been an English word, then that word will lose it’s meaning.

    Let me give you an example: When Facebook started, it was apparently called THEFacebook. I guess the thinking was in part because the term “facebook” was actually a jargon term used by college students at many colleges to refer to a student directory which included a picture of every student — in other words: it was a slang term (not yet language, but in such widespread use that it was almost a part of the language; and this term was quite well known in many college communities).

    Today, Facebook is a brand name. When people talk about a/the “facebook”, they mean the website developed by Mark Zuckerberg and his team, and now the private company which manages that website, a very large company, a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. “Facebook” was almost a word, but now it has been privatized.

    ICANN’s plan is to do pretty much the same thing with many English words — not odd terms like “facebook”, but regular everyday words like “book”, “music”, “song”, “health”, “baby”, … and also “gay”. If ICANN gets its way, then speakers of English will be disenfranchised of significant parts of the language they have spoken for most of their lives.

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