Sunday, 13 October 2013

Journey of the videographer - quitting Twitter.

Illustration by Eric Glasier (cc).

It only took a few days thought, but I eventually came to the conclusion to shut down my 'personal' Twitter account. Why? The thought came about whilst examining gravestones from the 18th century, and also pouring over parish records from the 17th century. I had an amazing sense of what it was to have very little communication in one's life other than ephemeral contact by fellow persons in one's lifetime. It felt neither good nor bad, but I felt something and need to reflect on it a little more; to make sense of where I am at with it now.

After six years of Tweeting I've become a bit disillusioned with the pleasure to be had by social networking. It's all well and good being prompt on receiving information through various threads, finding the odd gem of knowledge here and there, keeping up with the media Joneses, and admiring titbits from friends and peoples known/unknown to me. However, and a big however, organic perspectives on life can change what deepens your needs/wants from communication. It's not that I have decided to ungrid and live an ascetic life in some cavern somewhere - but more to the point, it's time to be distracted from these monsters of connectivity and take some time to explore and discover other alternative ways of knowing and being known. In an odd kind of way I have a desire to be a part of forums again, and involved with smaller groups of people with particular interests and web safe coloured avatars. Context specific communities instead of a constantly updating stream.

I will be keeping the snuffboxfilms Twitter account because it is a useful splash element to this Blog. This rickety 'old school' Blog. These social networking sites are 'useful' modes of sociability, whether that be keeping up with family, friends, or promoting your 'doings'. They are 'useful' in exchanging ideas and keeping the ripples going over the knowledge pool.

So, I understand that 'usefulness', and quite readily accept the purpose of such modes. Yet, it's a bit like subscribing to Readers Digest, how, I am not entirely sure, but in a strange way the analogy seems pertinent. A much better way of looking at it would be what is occurring between the signified, the signifier and the receiver. That I check my Twitter account everyday, and scroll through the feed, picking up bits of this and that has become part of my daily routine - but why exactly am I doing it and to what end? So to get a better perspective of that, I feel I need to step away from it, and see these things through a different lens.

Read on below to why I stopped using BaseFook in 2011.

Why I'll be giving my adieu to Facebook in the New Year 2011

Picture from an article by Amanda Talar

I felt it was necessary to write a 'dear all and sundry' for leaving Facebook in 2011. In hindsight I found it interesting that I was compelled to do this, although it stands to reason that unlike other social networking sites, the emphasis seems to be almost like a virtual auxiliary club, that upon leaving after many years one should perhaps address those who for whatever reasons requested or accepted to participate in your profile and updates on their live feed. Those who willingly opened their walls to be posted on, their updates to be liked, requests to be ignored, and events attended ... maybe.

The point of exit is when? Excuse the double entendre.

I joined Facebook around October the 5th 2007. In Feb of 2008, I signed up for Twitter. This was after having been an active user of MySpace for many, many years (Must of been around 2004). Previously to that I was a Blogger by heart and soul (Blogging since 1999). The satisfaction that Blogging gave me was tremendous and the community I was and still am a part of is comprehensive by size and diversity. MySpace was a deviation from that principle of designing one's thoughts in the considered manner of the Blog post. A process I enjoyed. MySpace was different, it was a Social Networking platform I became part of simply because my virtual existence as a Blogger naturally gave me a persuasion for also wanting to experience other facets of the Net and the Community therein.

So registering with online networking sites has been a process ongoing for me. Registering and then seeing what they are about for a number of years. Maintaining and communicating, but of course some sites no longer exist, some are now obsolete to the point of simply just hanging on to the original sign-ups. Some sites are still growing, perhaps to blossom several years down the track.

Web 2.0 saw many a Social Network site spring up ... and with 3.0 now in full effect many sites have grown into content specific networks of which I am further intrigued by. The codification behind FB has been one I have mused over for some time. I liken it to a 'shopping mall' experience, when I first arrived at FB, there was the electronic tinted doors alluding to activity within. It didn't reveal anything much except for a blue and white 'log in' splash screen and a promise of connecting with friends. What would I find in there? Well, the period of inhabitation has been remarkable, the nostalgic associates and school buddies from days of yore, the occasional like minded affiliate of my underground film Blog, other Bloggers from other spheres around the globe, and people I see everyday or at least every couple of years. All of whom have in some way connected with me via this network. The thrill of meeting more 'personally' other Bloggers and festival film peoples has been exceptional.

However, it is the interface and the content of which I question for myself. As a means of contact, FB does not provide anything particularly different from any other variant of contact client I use in the virtual sphere. Not that I contact people less since having employed FB as a rather flimsy representation of myself, but, I also have shown no signs of contacting people more then I usually would. My interactivity skills remain essentially as estranged as they always have been. So, I have not experienced any intrinsic changes in my communication modus operandi.

The exclusionary context to which FB builds its foundations was birthed from its conception within Harvard University (Universities of which have had long traditions of Fraternity/Sorority clubs). Particularly Harvard's 'Final Club' a trust-fund wealthy, predominantly white Protestant club. This was the environment in which Mark began FB - with principles of afore mentioned club attached within the FB schema. Thus terminology such as 'reject/accept', 'friends', 'like/dislike', these monosyllabic navigations within the social loci tend to restrict interaction rather then offer a scaffolding for building fresh and liberating ways to communicate.

As Stephen Fry said when he left FB as Stephen Fry ... "Etiquette demands that messages be answered, that friend requests be attended to and the whole thing cultivated and cared for" ... this is also something that has gnawed at my time usage. FB requires cultivation and a degree of maintenance that has tendency to occupy one's time whilst other network endeavours are neglected. Thus, I have a spiral of Online spaces that require more attention and FB after many years can now rest of my attention.

This is also part of my desire to diversify my virtual presences to refine specialised interconnected spaces with Open Standard principles. FB doesn't quite fit that roll model, although, that is not to say I wont be fluttering around using Twitter, but I also wish to devote my attention to content specific sites like Perpetual Art Machine and the Open Source Social Network Diaspora ... et cetera. (The title of this post will teleport you to Diaspora when clacked with your mouse/Trackpad/Stylus/Trackball).

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