When Isolation and Disconnection are Desirable

In his article on Scuttlebutt, Bogost asks, “What if isolation and disconnection could actually be desirable conditions for a computer network?” He says this in the context of describing how Dominic Tarr, the creator of Scuttlebutt, lives largely offline in a sailboat in New Zealand, but it makes me think of the not-yet-wireless phone in my house growing up. Before I got older and started carrying around a heavy black rectangle of potentiality and dread, it worked like this: You thought about the call you needed to make, you went to the phone made the call, and then you walked away. If you decided you had something more to say, you called back later. Not only that, the interaction was with the one other person you had decided to contact. Even calling someone to chat aimlessly had more intention than many of the ways I communicate now. I feel the same way about libraries, another place where you go with the intention of finding information. In the process of writing this book, I realized that the experience of research is exactly opposite to the way I usually often encounter information online. When you research a subject, you make a series of important decisions, not least what it is you want to research, and you make a commitment to spend time finding information that doesn’t immediately present itself. You seek out different sources that you understand may be biased for various reasons. The very structure of the library, which I used in Chapter 2 as an example of a noncommercial and non-“productive” space so often under threat of closure, allows for browsing and close attention. Nothing could be more different from the news feed, where these aspects of information—provenance, trustworthiness, or what the hell it’s even about—are neither internally coherent nor subject to my judgment. Instead this information throws itself at me in no particular order, auto-playing videos and grabbing me with headlines. And behind the scenes, it’s me who’s being researched.


Folksonomies: networking attention economy information pollution

/technology and computing/internet technology/web search/people search (0.866403)
/business and industrial/business operations/management/business process (0.731335)
/family and parenting/children (0.727199)

New Zealand (0.958905): dbpedia_resource
Research (0.783846): dbpedia_resource
Time (0.736818): dbpedia_resource
Question (0.674883): dbpedia_resource
Consciousness (0.621124): dbpedia_resource
Perception (0.616614): dbpedia_resource
Psychology (0.614879): dbpedia_resource
Knowledge (0.590915): dbpedia_resource

 How to Do Nothing
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Odell, Jenny (2019-05-07), How to Do Nothing, Retrieved on 2023-09-23
Folksonomies: new media cyberpunk