Categories
Aesthetics Internet Culture

Day 280 and Scooping

I first started blogging in college because a friend of mine pointed out that I needed to own my digital identity. I had written something about designer jeans in the lesser school newspaper and another student was dunking on me in her personal blog.

Unless I acted swiftly, Google results would be tainted forever he assured me. So I started blogging. Not because I necessarily felt like I was meant to be a writer but because I didn’t want this other girl to scoop my life story. I didn’t want to get “Bad Art Friended” by letting someone else tell my story.

I’m pretty grateful to both my friend James and the “mean girl” Phoebe for launching my social media habits. Every big break I’ve ever had has come from the connections I made on the Internet. If I hadn’t been petty enough to want to own my own digital identity I might have missed out.

Rather like the “Bad Art Friend” piece where one writer uses details from another’s life for her art, whoever is able to own the narrative is the default winner. It’s not terribly fair but it could have been someone else telling my story had I not chosen to write. If the victors write history then there is an incentive to be the one whose narrative wins. And the only way to win in our social media saturated works is to be sure you’ve got the scoop on your own life.

Categories
Aesthetics Internet Culture

Day 276 and Magical Thinking

I like to watch television to let my mind take a break. Because I spend so much of my time intaking and integrating new information for a living, I find it relaxing to have someone do that work for me. Plus I wasn’t allowed to watch TV as a kid so rebellion.

I’ve been getting served up a lot of tv shows about magic. Earlier in the year WandaVision was all about chaos magic. Then we had Loki. The algorithms then sent me to a Norwegian show about the Ragnarok. And now all I seen to find on Netflix has some kind of magic plot line. A secretly Ivy League university for magic? Check out the Magicians. Prefer Victorian era? I started with on The Irregulars. But only because I just finished Witcher as I thought I’d tried some medieval fantasy. Basically any setting you might like now has a show about magic. Outlander, Supernatural, The Order, The Umbrella Academy, Shadow and Bone are all popular right now and available to binge on Netflix.

I’m beginning to think that Harry Potter might have rotted too many brains in the millennial generation as now everyone needs stories about how they are secretly on the edges of society because of powers only a select few can ever wield. If reality is so disappointing then we need to have some other layer of existence revealed where we can thrive.

I remember being depressed when I was in 3rd grade when my mother explained to me that it was unlikely I’d ever be able to work on The Enterprise. The one TV show my parents approved of was Star Trek because I guess they wanted me to be into utopian science driven worlds. But once it was explained that this was so far in the future it’s not likely that I could be a science officer on a space ship I was sad.

Now granted I got over it and did the next best thing to living in a science fiction utopian and went to work in startups. I still feel like I get to help the future come about. But what about all these kids being raised on magic? There is no easy career alternative for the dismal prospect that you cannot manipulate physical reality with a wand or saying a spell in some elder god language.

Or maybe kids will figure out you can manifest stuff into reality. I guess the meme mobs have done weirder things like turn a washed up tv star into the president. Maybe chaos magic is real for someone. Or are least chaos is real.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 272 and Small Steps

I talk a lot about pacing and routines and rhythms but it’s mostly because I struggle with it so much. As soon as I notice something is going in a direction I dislike, rather than course correct a little bit, I love to run in the opposite direction as fast as I can. Why be steady when chaos begets creativity?

Silicon Valley success myths are tied heavily to people that go their own way. We’ve coined terms like contrarian and narrative violation to add a high gloss to the basic truth that we just don’t like having our hands forced. Not even by ourselves. We like being able to pick and chose our direction.

This isn’t just truth of institutions or common knowledge. I get pissed when I’m forced into something by my own body. Heck, I especially dislike having my hand forced by my own biology. There is no authority more unforgiving than my own flesh.

Which has sometimes meant if I can overcome a biological reality my ego finds painful I’m inclined to do it. I love imposing brute force on myself. Naturally this habit isn’t the sort of thing that makes for a comfortable or pleasant life. But it’s a huge comfort to know that if you simply apply a little willpower you can undo the sins you’ve spent too much time accumulating.

Just look at some of the habits that have gained popularity in startup culture from intermittent fasting to overnight work sprints. Those techniques work. Some are arguably even sustainable for people. But it’s important to remember no matter how much we like to make things happen quickly, decisively or in new directions that sometimes the reality of being human cannot be ignored. On those days remember it’s ok to take small steps.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 268 and The Game

Twitter addicts like myself love to praise the platform’s connective capacity. Sure, we might admit it’s dopamine factory that amplifies bad takes, but we’d rather focus on how it is so effective at bringing together all kinds of people and leveling the playing field of discourse. Twitter power users tend to be utopian that way. But it’s really because we’ve won the Twitter meta-game.

Twitter meta-games have been capturing the imagination in the long form discourse of Substacks and podcasts. The aggregation of influence, audience, and opinions have sorted themselves into status games that are being monetized as crypto economies and investing.

Alex Danco is the first person I saw articulate the perspective of status and world building through his Dancoland writing but recently Packy Mcormick has been furthering the discourse with his Great Online Game theory.

I wish I had a bit more capacity to go on with this topic as meta-games have been a topic I love as someone that has spent time in fashion but I find my brain and body are just coping out so I’ll remind myself that it’s alright to just capture my thoughts on the day with some links and carry on the discourse tomorrow. Save game progress. It will be here tomorrow.

Categories
Emotional Work Internet Culture

Day 263 and I’m Baby

One of my friends got me an embroidered “I’m baby” patch with a Moomintroll holding a knife in place of the original Kirby. It’s an elaborate play on the “I’m Baby” meme and was a truly excellent Christmas gift. I’m a fan of the Finnish children’s author Tove Janson who created the Moomin series and also emotionally baby and my friend knows it.

Original “I’m Baby” Kirby meme vs a photo of my Moonin “I’m Baby” embroidered patch

The “I’m baby” meme is generally a play on why someone should be allowed to continue with their behavior or emotions without consequence. It’s a kind of elaborate joke about wishing to dodge responsibility if only for a few minutes. Obviously it’s very popular with Gen Z but it’s really more about wishing to live in a world where it’s even possible to be a baby when life feels overwhelming.

The original meme came out of an emergency but it’s come to be a kind of wishful demand and hope that one can just well be a baby for a bit and have someone else handle it.

Moomintroll is an excellent stand in for Kirby in the meme because in the Finnish cartoons he never has to live without Moomin Mama. Moomintroll is an archetypal baby. The Moomin universe has constant catastrophe (no seriously there are floods and asteroids) but Moomintroll can always count on Moomin Mama. It’s a soothing set of books for children obviously but it’s also just nice that there are parental figures to which one can turn. That’s a fantasy we all have at some point. Especially when shit looks bad.

But being baby also means someone else has to be the adult. The willful insistence on being baby is about giving your power to someone else. Unless you are literally baby (in which case how are you reading this blog) you’ve chosen to put someone else in the position of power. Which is an important lesson for adulthood. You always have the power. Even if you chose to be baby. Especially if you are baby.

So be careful when you say “I’m baby” and act helpless. You gave up your power. And that’s alright. Being helpless can be a totally cool sex thing and it’s great to chose your kink when. But you’ve got to have consent for that shit. Bringing someone else into your fantasy of being baby might be non-consensual. When my friend jokes that I’m baby it’s because he knows I like to give up my power. But alas it’s a fantasy and I can’t go back to being Moomintroll for real. But it’s a nice patch right?

Categories
Aesthetics Internet Culture

Day 260 and A Good Schtick

I admire a well executed gimmick. Being clearly branded has become a necessity in digital life. Living life at a scale larger than your local community turns out to require we communicate who we are for easier communication.

Mediocre marketing people will insist that you find areas you can “own” in planning materials for promotional campaigns. They want you to find a schtick. But you better like what you come up with as you will be forced to repeat your greatest hits ad nauseam.

It’s not that they are wrong. Repetition is pedagogy. Which is a fancy way of saying in order to teach you must repeat your lessons. Humans usually require hearing something a few times before the information will stick. But then it can be very hard to dislodge a piece of information that we’ve become convinced is true. That’s why it’s much harder to change a brand than it is to build one. We get indignant when we feel someone has mislead us with their brand.

That’s why you need to be very sure if you are going to dig into a schtick. The temptation to go full Tucker Carlson or Rachel Maddow can be tempting. It’s seems like it’s an easier path to attention and awareness if you develop a clear point of view. But be warned, if you change it people will get mad at you. If you explore shades of grey you will get called a hypocrite. Nuance is the enemy of clarity. And clarity is required to reach big audiences.

I swear half of cancel culture is just assholes who don’t understand that their friends may see them as whole empathetic humans who are more than their schtick but the masses won’t. And remember you too are a member of the masses and judge others hypocrisy just as harshly as they judge yours. That’s like the basis of all Abrahamic religions. If the golden rule was easy we probably wouldn’t need to attend various worship services regularly.

So if you see someone with a good schtick admire it. But recognize it’s a Faustian bargain. They sanded off some portion of the wholeness of their being in order to be easier to understand. And if they drop some portion of that gimmick in the course of their lives it’s worth showing a little grace to them. You’ll appreciate it when you require the same.

Categories
Internet Culture Politics

Day 246 and Culture Bores

Anytime a new conflagration breaks out in the culture war I worry. What if this is the time I finally get information poisoning? I’ll surf the discourse and try to wrap my head around the issue. If it’s just a minor flare up, an outbreak of zeitgeist, my rational antibodies react swiftly and I bounce back from any emotional reactivity without getting sick. But when it’s full blown infection of the entire body politic I am not so lucky. I will succumb just like the rest of the country.

To fight off cultural contagion it will take several days of inflammation. I’ll be hot, bothered and have muddled thinking. It will take all of my energy and focus to see through what is the immune response and what is the infection. And then only then can I begin to consider treatment to get back to an emotional baseline.

Yes I am absolutely torturing a metaphor here but I’ve dealt with several cultural infections over the last year and it’s been a mess. My natural immunity to poor information environment isn’t total. Raging partisans spewing talking points can infect anyone. I’m sick of being infected just because I read the news. No one can be expected to quarantine their entire lives from current events but it sure feels like the isolated forever crowd is winning when someone tells me “just don’t pay attention.”

I encourage you not to be a culture bore. A culture bore is someone who spreads culture war contamination. Sure you might not realize you are infected. But you can take sensible precautions and it makes the informational commons better for everyone

Don’t spread a malicious informational meme unless you are willing to let others get infected. Which you might be. You might be a partisan. I don’t know. That is your right. But then you’ve got to ask yourself if I am sharing some tidbit of bullshit am I doing so because I think it’s beneficial? Or am I an unwitting carrier of some viral nonsense?

Sure I get it. It sucks to consider that your meme hygiene might be bad! I’ve been there. I picked content up from some dive account that only retweets resistance grifters and regretted it later. I’ve liked some kooky tweet from an account who turns out to believe the January 6th insurrection was patriotic. We’ve all done it. But for the sake of everyone else enjoying the information commons and being decent citizens together try not to do it deliberately.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 234 and Information Poisoning

Do you ever read a tweet and check the person’s mutuals to make sure you understand the context?

Because I follow a number of extremely different communities with wildly different priors, it’s actually quite a challenge to see if someone is black pilled, red pilled, tankie or neo reactionary.

I consider it crucial to keep a balance of crazies in my timeline lest I accidentally get pilled by one group simply by mere exposure bias.

That’s a good argument for following as diverse a group as possible. A full timeline is one with a thousand biases blooming. This is good for keeping an open mind but it is also a protective technique known as flooding the zone. It is much harder to determine where one’s sensibilities lay if they consider counsel from all.

The downside is that we call people out for following “wrong think” in some corners. The only way to inoculate against that risk is heavily telegraphing that you follow all kinds. Impossible to show purity so to protect from any charges you muddy the waters.

I’ve noticed that progressive tech & red pillers are especially gnarly about policing for thought purity. It is relatively easy to fight back against, but then you have to be committed to seeing ALL zeitgeist which is exhausting.

I had to stop consumption for 48 hours last week. Floating above the discourse generally stokes my creativity. I live on the energy of the zeitgeist. But a few issues (vaccines & Kabul) are so upsetting that I just had to stop and recenter.

I think I have what might be labeled natural immunity to discourse. It doesn’t usually hurt my emotional state. For me, discourse functions more as a barometer of positions I follow to indicate long term movements.

Very rarely does it overcome my long term stakes. When it does it’s usually because I have information poisoning. It doesn’t happen too often. And I can shake it fast. But it’s not easy to cultivate for most people. I think it might be innate. That natural immunity I mentioned. Some people just have a higher tolerance for information toxicity and flow rates. Best to find out what yours is and to sense in others their informational environment as well. It’s edge.

Categories
Finance Internet Culture

Day 220 and Crypto’s Publicist Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about my proposal to create an activist DAO to engage in public relations for crypto. The goal of the organization would be to create a groundswell of support for the space, it’s values, and opportunities as well as engaging in support for a more positive regulatory environment.

If you would like to hear more about why I think it is time for the wider decentralized crypto community to engage in a public relations and media campaign please see my post yesterday. Today I am putting down further notes on what I think our values and priorities might be. As always, this blog is a work in progress so consider this my thoughts as of now that are open to being edited and changed.

What kind of values are crucial in a PR or communication DAO or interest group?

  • Open
  • Participatory
  • Trustless

It’s important that whatever we do on behalf of crypt it must be done in the spirit of the space and why so many disparate types of people believe in its values. While there may be structures like executive teams, core teams, board members and studios and contractors to execute on our mission we want to use the tools and transparency of crypto.

But to what purpose are we organizing? We will create content and engage in conversations to shape media narratives and public sentiment aimed at promoting the positive elements, potential, and impact of crypto.

How will we do this? We will hire publicists to promote our stories in mainstream media along with commissioning content meme-ers and creators to share opinions. We will engage with spokespersons to share talking points created from the priorities of the community. We will place our content, from memes to editorials, on our own properties as well as in supporting communities and member publications.

I expect I’ll be doing quite a bit more note taking and research. If you want to be a part of this effort I’ve started a shared Google doc for collaboration. Email me Julie @ chaotic dot capital or DM me @ AlmostMedia. This won’t be built in a day but together we can push it forward.

Categories
Finance Internet Culture Media Politics

Day 219 and Crypto’s Publicist

Most industries have interest groups. Publicists, lobbyists, and spokespeople weave together stories, talking points and preferred legislative agendas. Anyone or any group is free to discuss why their preferred business or issue is worthwhile and convince others of their view. We have a marketplace of ideas. Sure, not all interests are good but anyone is free to promote what they believe in. So why aren’t we doing anything for our cause in the crypto community? I say it’s time crypto had a publicist.

Not every country allows for this. The crypto community has an obligation to recognize that when we fight for our own interests it isn’t just we who benefit. The entire world benefits from open, decentralized and permission-less systems. What we do benefits everyone who wants to live in a freer world. It’s time crypto had our own activist DAO to protect and promote our values.

I am proposing the formation of an activist DAO promoting the use of crypto. Our goal is to advocate for positive popular culture narratives about crypto. We vote on our issues, stories and key initiatives through the DAO’s native governance tokens. The DAO will hire publicists and communication professionals to promote our stories in mainstream media along with commissioning content meme-ers and creators to share opinions. Policy is crucial but public perception is faster and pushes the right policy down the right.

As place holder I’ve purchased CryptoCommsCoalition.org. The Crypto Communication Coalition. I am working on a shared collaboration doc in Google Sheets to collect input, feedback, and priorities. Anyone who is interested can participate in our effort. Email me Julie @ crypto comms coalition dot org or DM me on Twitter.

We need DAO creation specialists, legal experts, memers, streamers, Reddidters, governance folks, publicists, lobbyists, fundraisers and a thousand other specialists I haven’t thought of yet. This won’t be easy but it’s an eating our own dog food moment for crypto. We can use our own tools to advocate in a participatory, transparent and open way for our own interests. If banking and big oil can can afford publicists then so can we. gmi.