Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thesis 7 of 95: Dog could have the value of Dog, or Dog.

Part of the blogging project about the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto. All posts in the project can be found here.


Allow me to step out of the Human Voice narrative for a second. And just appreciate how cool hyperlinks are.

Back when I had a Myspace and 12 friends I realized I had a blogging function and decided, hey, let me use it for all my weird. I was really weird, and not very funny, but it was a thing that I did. Hyperlinking was a great tool for teen me back then. I used to link to all sorts of weird and stupid stuff.

It was fun, especially since I tried to purposely, rather than get a "haha thats so funny" effect, I tried to induce the WTF effect. I guess it was just another teen trying to be annoying for attention. I carried on some of my weird to twitter, but the hyperlinks wasn't there anymore. Even though, after that, I have probably started more than 10 blogs that I've abandoned, and I never got onto that blogging game again, sadly. Hopefully this will change things.

Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

Hyperlinks are ways of making sure that the words you say can have deeper implied meaning (and as we shall see later, Conversational Market value) than it would if it was just a piece of text. Usually, in text, if you want to imply something, you have to make it clear. The word dog, for example, can never mean "dog on a tricycle" written in plain text unless you specify that the dog, is specifically on a tricycle. Now I can just do this:


And by clicking that, it is understood that "dog" in this case means "dog on a tricycle".

Now, hierarchies don't like this thing were words have different meanings. They don't like it when any cog in the machines of society do not function in a way that is easily calculated, predictable and with constant attributes (Homo Ecomonicus anyone?). When the people, things, words, dogs, the word "dogs, cars, markets or thoughts don't work in a predictable way it messes up the hierarchies attempts to make their subjects "legible", in James C. Scotts terms. When things, like words in a publicly accessible blog-post, start acting differently from what the hierarchies that have been formally predetermined in an abstract sense, the hierarchy collapses.

The attempts at making the internet legible and controllable, in general, been a failure. Filesharing is a great  example of this. Que Kevin Carson (and Cory Doctorow, I guess): 
As Cory Doctorow points out, the record companies developed their DRM in the mistaken belief that it only had to be strong enough to deter the average user, and that the small number of geeks capable of cracking it would be economically insignificant. But in fact it takes only one geek to crack the DRM and post an MP3 on a torrent download site, and it becomes freely available to average users. 
Because of the networked, stigmergic character of the internet, the various ways of sharing on the internet subvert the hierarchies that attempt to control them. Information is quickly spread, mirrored and responded to.

Now, this hyperlink bizniz adds another level to this Conversational Market bizniz. There value exchanged is not fixed, and can appear differently after need and want. Unlike  the "commodity", which has a specific, fixed character and can be exchanged for another value of fixed character, "currency", it is harder to control by state and corporate authorities. With this fixed, legible form of human activity, hierarchies have all the power of the world, especially if they control what commodities are made and what currency there is.

If I wrote the word "dog" on a paper, and tried to commodify it for the capitalist market, I could only sell it as "the word dog on a paper", against whatever amount of fixed value tokens (currency) somebody is willing to give for "the word dog on a paper". If I write "dog" here on my blog, though, dog could have the value of, for example, dog, or dog.

It can then be exchanged on the Conversational Market for the attention, appreciation and sharing of others, who are equally able to produce the same values. The flexibility and informality of this value creation and exchange makes it harder for hierarchies to impose themselves upon the exchange and control it.

See you soon, Thesis 8.

Me and my girlfriend are in need of help. We live on opposite ends of planet earth, and would like to meet. If you want to help us out, read this.

No comments:

Post a Comment