The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Posts Tagged ‘communication

A simple, scientific look at #socialmedia and the rise of the sheeple

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This will be the shortest, most mind-numbingly boring post you will ever see on this blog but it doesn’t matter, because the point of it isn’t to entertain.

The point of it is to test a theory that social media is turning many of us into sheep who will like or follow something just because they are told to, or because “everybody else is doing it”.

As much as the part of me that loves Nineteen Eighty-Four, intellectual debate and music on vinyl doesn’t want to believe it’s true, the rational part of me has seen enough evidence to suggest sheeple are about to take over the world.

If we’ve progressed to the point as an electronic-based society where we do things just because we are told to, we really are screwed.

Here’s how we’re going to test my sheeple theory:

1. I’m going to provide the links to both The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page and my Twitter account below.
2. Then I’m going to tell you I’m fucking awesome and possibly the smartest – and funniest – human being on the planet, and that all the popular kids are following my musings.
3. At this stage, I’m going to tell you to follow me because, if you don’t, the universe will ostracise you as you disappear into a black hole of social media oblivion.
4. This is the point where the sheeple will pick up their smartphones or iPad and click the follow button simply because I said to, without giving a moment’s thought as to why they are doing so. It’s also the point where the anti-sheeples* will consider whether they want to follow a vodka-swilling lunatic or flee terrified from cyberspace.
5. Step five is where the anti-sheeples who decided to follow me will do so, even if it’s just to make them feel a little more normal about their own eccentricities. But, in order to prove my theory, I want the anti-sheeples to also leave a brief comment on this post as to why they followed me, so I can compare the number of new sheeple v anti-sheeple followers.

* Author’s note: If this isn’t real thing, it soon will be.

In all honesty, I’m expecting to gain more followers than I am comments, because it doesn’t take any time or independent thought to be a sheeple. If that turns out to be the cases, the anti-sheeples should kiss their loved ones goodbye and head directly to their Judgment Day shelters to wait out the reign of monosyllabic stupidity. If my calculations are correct, it should only last about 147 years.

If you have an aversion to 140-character bursts of communication and refuse to become a Twitter whore, you can always like The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page.

Either way, please don’t be a sheeple.

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Written by disseminatedthought

September 26, 2012 at 12:19

Ridic-tionary dilemmas: why laughter and vagina glitter prove society is screwed

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I’m sorry, but I’m not lolz-ing.

The Oxford University Press announced the latest inclusions to Oxford Dictionaries Online this week, some of which defy logic.

I used to enjoy perusing the quarterly updates of “current English” but now, the three-monthly read leaves me with a numbness in my special place and a strong desire to stick my head into an oven.

How the hell does formally acknowledging nonsensical words – or in the case of “mwahahaha”, a stupidity-inducing sound – as part of our lexicon make us a more evolved society?

If anything, recognising words like “douche” and “photobomb” demonstrates humanity is now officially catering to the lowest common denominator.

It’s almost as if we’ve waved the white flag and submitted to an army of faceless, iPod-toting, monosyllabic overlords who communicate with grunts , fist bumps and group hugs.

In a nutshell, it’s fucking ridic.

There was a time when people would consult a dictionary to become smarter. Source: flcenterlitarts.wordpress.com

If an alien race was to attack the earth tomorrow – which would be a pretty douchey thing to do – the first laser-wielding ET wannabes to hear us communicate could be forgiven for assuming the zombies had already eaten our brains.

When I discussed the list of latest inclusions with a friend, they played the “our language is dynamic and ever-evolving” card.

Until they reached the word on the list that pays homage to genitals that resemble rhinestone-emblazoned disco jackets.

Ladies and gentlemen, could you please stand and put your hands together for “vajazzle”.

Mankind has not only conquered space, it has also made room in Oxford Dictionaries Online for a verb that means to “adorn the pubic area (of a woman) with crystals, glitter, or other decoration”.

I feel like I’ve woken up after sleeping for 20 years to find out Kim Kardashian is the president of the world.

Despite my friend being more than 1000 kilometres away and on the end of a scratchy mobile phone connection, I could pinpoint the exact moment when their eyes locked onto the word that describes genital crystals.

If you ever want to pull out a lay-down misere on somebody’s argument about how the current evolution of our language is a good thing, show them an Oxford University Press reference to pussy glitter.

While the vodka-loving boozehound in me approves of “dirty martini” getting recognition, the inclusion of “vote” – as in a specific reference to reality television – saddens me and reinforces my belief that humanity has pushed boldly past the point of being astronomically fucked.

It can’t be long now until Skynet becomes self-aware and the living dead commence their attack.

The moment you see “ROFLMAO” in a dictionary is the very instant you should descend into your Judgement Day bunker and wait for the language-destroying hoi polloi to succumb to our zombie masters.

For all those Twitter users who have a yearning to become one of my tweeps, clicking the button below will unleash the 140-character lunacy.

Five things I’ve learnt about Twitter: Observations of a fully-functional Twit

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I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to Twitter.

Since begrudgingly signing up six months ago with the intention of only using it for intelligent, professional purposes, my tweets have descended into random thoughts and occasional nonsensical ramblings.  Damn it. I’ve become one of them.

At any rate, let me share with you five things I’ve learnt about the 140-character marvel of social networking.

Source: socialmediatoday.com

1. A hashtag can never be too long  

Let’s face it. Hashtags are cool. They are the 21st century equivalent of a one-liner and there’s no message or thought they can’t convey effectively. However, unlike the one-liner, which is renowned for being easy to comprehend, the hashtag has developed into a beast of unfathomable proportions. Apparently, it’s okay to use a 122-character hashtag that takes people 17 minutes to decipher.

Got a question about accommodation at a New York hotel? Use a #howmuchisyourdeluxesuitefortwonightsincludingbreakfast hashtag.

Planning a big night out and want your followers to know about it? Whip out #iamgoingtogethammeredtonightanditsgoingtobefreakinepic and set the tone for 13 hours of drunken tweeting from the depths of clubbing hell.

Would it be inappropriate to create a #fivethingsivelearntabouttwitterthatidliketosharewithyoutoday hashtag when I post the link to this article on Twitter?

2. Sometimes 140 characters just isn’t enough

Okay, I’m going to say this slowly. The whole purpose of Twitter is to send short, succinct messages no longer than 140 characters in length.

If you need to include any reference that your tweet is the first in a series that make up a full message you are doing it wrong.

140 characters maximum. Got it? Source: Twitter via @LyndonKeane.

3. Twitter can make you feel like one of the popular people 

One of the big attractions of Twitter is that you can follow celebrities, sporting stars and people a hell of a lot more interesting than you are.

Unfortunately, one of the downsides of Twitter is that you can follow celebrities, sporting stars and people a hell of a lot more interesting that you are, and users go nuts replying to these people in the hope that Johnny Depp will respond to their message or Lady Gaga will give them a retweet to her 25 million followers.

I know it happens because I’ve been guilty of doing it myself. Ricky Gervais didn’t retweet something I found witty and Seth MacFarlane broke my heart when he didn’t find my concept for a new animated series amusing.

I thought this was amusing. Seth MacFarlane didn’t. That bastard better not steal my idea. Source: Twitter via @LyndonKeane.

4. People will tweet about anything

People, Twitter isn’t Facebook. Tweets are meant to be – as far as I’m concerned, at least – informative or entertaining. Telling the social networking universe you are late for your bus or eating an apple is neither informative nor entertaining.

Contemplating unleashing a tweet about how blue the sky is today? Please cancel your Twitter account. Right now.

Not happy with your latte? Go and get another one instead of tweeting about it. Source: globalberdy.com

5. Inane sentences to no one in particular are the norm

Twitter had provided a virtual worldwide audience to users. Unfortunately, a disproportionate number of the aforementioned users have decided that means they can tweet boring, obvious sentences to no one in particular.

The referees don’t agree with you. Source: Twitter via @BuzzRothfield.

If these people’s 140-character revelations were amusing it would be a different story, but they aren’t. They’re dull and generic. Actually, they kind of make me wish I’d never started using Twitter in the first place.

To the person who tweeted Did you see that? #wow: Who the hell were to talking to and what was the Twitterverse meant to notice? If you were referring to your nonsensical tweet, I saw it. We all did and are now stupider because of it.

The odds of the person who this is directed at actually reading it are $1081. Source: Twitter via @bazarazzi.

Now that I’ve enlightened you about my Twitducation and bagged the hell out of Twitter, I’m going to whore myself out to the masses and suggest you all follow me at @LyndonKeane. If you prefer the Facebook touch, The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page can be found here.

Injecting humanity back into social networking, one keystroke at a time

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I’m writing the draft of this piece on a typewriter.  I’m enamoured by the way each keystroke caresses the A4 with romanticised authority, leaving its meaningful inked kiss on the cheek of the paper.  The battered machine also represents my protest against becoming a greeting card.  Against the dehumanising effect social networking has had on the way we communicate.

Back living with my parents in order to graduate within a ludicrous timeframe, I’m 1,800 kilometres from my main circle of friends and reliant on social networking to keep in touch.

Ironically, I realised this morning I’ve become robotised by the very thing I depend on to maintain my links with humanity.

The revelation came after sending a birthday message on Facebook.  Upon rereading what I’d written, I realised it was as clichéd and predictable as a Hallmark card.  When had my greetings become devoid of all originality?

The answer was simple: since embracing the social media phenomenon.

When I write my blog, I wear my professional hat.  My words have meaning and a defined purpose: to entertain and engage.  Unfortunately, my personal writing has fallen victim of the instant nature of the social networking message, more often than not constructed without deliberate thought or consciousness of its meaning.

The situation is ridiculous.  Messages to my friends should be intimate and heartfelt.  Thoughtful.  They deserve the same level of consideration and planning that goes into even my most hastily written blog piece; why aren’t they getting it?

In my blog, the carefully crafted words cause the reader to feel something, good or bad.  My words compel them to react.  It doesn’t matter whether they comment, subscribe or send an email; the point is, my words have meaning and incite a reaction.

With my personal writing, the responses I receive are as disingenuous as the greetings I send.  “Have a fantastic birthday!” is usually met with “Thanks, I’m having a great day.”  The words are there, but they’re meaningless and bereft of feeling.  It’s as if we’re communicating purely to adhere to social convention, not because we actually want to speak to one another.

We need to be cognisant of the fact our fascination with social networking has caused a regression in the way we correspond.  As someone who takes great pride in their ability to communicate effectively and with feeling, the impact it has had in such a short period of time bothers me.  It needs to change.  The quality of our personal communication needs to return to its pre-Facebook and Twitter level.  If it doesn’t, we’ll eventually become nothing more than numbed, fleshy greeting cards that fire off generic messages because we feel we have to.

In acknowledging my descent into communicative banality, I’m also attempting to redirect it.  I’m now making a concerted effort to ensure thought is put into every keystroke.  Each word that appears on my screen needs genuine meaning.  I urge you to do likewise.

Before you send your next tweet or message, ask yourself: “What would I say if this person was in front of me?”  If you answer honestly, it often won’t reflect what you’ve typed.

It’s not too late to rehumanise how we communicate.

Source: macfilos.com

Written by disseminatedthought

February 12, 2012 at 10:32

It’s getting dark in here: The Dissemination of Thought and the SOPA/PIPA blackout

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The Dissemination of Thought will be participating in a blackout on 18 January to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261) and the Protect IP Act (S.968).

From 12:00am until 11:59pm tomorrow, this blog will be blacked out with the “Stop SOPA” message displayed. Lamentably, readers won’t be able to access any TDoT content during this period.

To check out what all the SOPA/PIPA kerfuffle (that’s right, I said kerfuffle) is about, click here.

As always, I appreciate your feedback, positive or negative, so please feel free to comment below. If you’d rather send me a vehement, expletive-filled email, clicking on this bit here will allow you to do so.

See you all again on 19 January.

Author’s note: thank you to Neil Fein at Magnificent Nose for providing a step-by-step guide to setting your blog up for the blackout. Check out Neil’s piece here.

TDoT is going to look something like this on 18 January.

‬Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry on my BlackBerry Bold 9700

Has social networking made us braver than we actually are?

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My comment of the day award goes to Damien O’Keefe, a computer technician who had his employment with The Good Guys in Townsville terminated because he posted a threatening comment about a co-worker on Facebook.

It would seem that Mr O’Keefe posted a comment about the unnamed co-worker on his Facebook wall, apparently in an attempt to vent his anger about missing commission payments. For the few remaining people on the planet who aren’t initiated in the workings of this social networking phenomenon, a “wall” is essentially what it sounds like – somewhere that contacts can post messages to each other in lieu of more archaic 21st century communication methods like email. My, how we have evolved. The difference is that unlike email, depending on your Facebook privacy settings, wall posts can be read by your friends, your friend’s friends, and in some cases, people that you work with whom you may have threatened in the aforementioned wall post. According to the Herald Sun article, the exact wording he used was:

“wonders how the f *** work can be so f***ing useless and mess up my pay again. C***s are going down tomorrow.”

When questioned about the Facebook post, this allegedly intelligent individual defended his actions by stating that “the comments were not intended to be seen” by the co-worker. That probably would have been the case, had he not had 11 people he worked at The Good Guys as part of the make up of his Facebook friends.

He’s surprised that the co-worker found out about the comment, after he posted it in what is essentially a public forum? That’s the story he’s going to run with? Obviously Mr O’Keefe put as much thought into the actual comment as he did trying to come up with justification for doing so. I guess that it’s a lot easier to threaten and berate someone when you don’t have to do it directly to them.

The situation leads to a few pivotal questions, the most intriguing and controversial of which is: has electronic communication made us braver that we actually are?

Prior to Facebook, Twitter (which I still believe is the most aptly named application of all time) and MySpace, people communicated face to face. For my Gen Y readers, yes, it really did happen. If you had a problem with someone, you could do the adult thing and air the grievance with them to try to resolve it in a rational manner. Or you could repress and get on with life. In 2011, it seems that the socially accepted way to resolve an issue is to either libel or threaten people electronically. You don’t even have to do it to them directly: you can tweet about what a prick they are, call them a useless, fat whore on a forum, or even start a Facebook group and get people to agree with your biased and usually irrational, incoherent viewpoint. All of these personal attacks can be done in relative anonymity, from the perceived safety of your computer. What people tend to forget though is that everything we do in life has a consequence, be it positive or negative, substantial or seemingly trivial. People also tend to forget about the whole concept of personal accountability, especially when an impersonal electronic communication medium is used. What percentage of comments made online would have never been made to the intended target in person?

The internet has many uses. Unfortunately, one of those uses is to give cowards who hide online the false bravado to attack someone that they would have otherwise lacked the intestinal fortitude to confront face to face.

Who likes short shorts? Not JDW, apparently…

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As a general guideline, I abstain from reading anything that publishes the opinions of someone who is referred to as an “etiquette queen”, especially when that anything is The Sunday Telegraph. But when an article contains phrases like “moral disrepair” and “heathen era” in the first hundred words, I can’t help myself. For those that missed it, June Dally-Watkins, or JDW, is mortified about the current state of social interaction in Australia, and has expressed concern that if things don’t change, we may not be too far from sitting on our haunches and flinging faeces at one another. Now, JDW isn’t to be confused with SBW. One knows which forks and spoons to use at the dinner table, while the other boxes and has a proclivity to switch sporting codes and teams like most of us switch socks. It’s the former we are interested in, for the purpose of this discussion.

We’ve postulated about the disappearance of manners and common courtesy on TDoT before. It’s something that I’ve gone on the record as questioning, and I’m not going to waste my Sunday afternoon doing it again. The segment of the article that caught my attention was how changes in communication methods are, at least in part, apparently contributing to the demise of humanity. June Dally-Watkins cites other causes as Germaine Greer and denim, but we won’t go into that in this post – I assume that JDW will be asked to clarify her “’I’m yours, take me” comment by other members of the media.

While I agree with Ms Dally-Watkins that hand-written correspondence carries with it a level of romanticism, it’s just not something that’s feasible in what has become such a time-poor society. Upon completing a quick audit in my head, the only things that I’ve sent or received in the last decade that have demonstrated any level of penmanship have been the obligatory birthday cards that we feel socially compelled to send each other. If you analyse them, most contain a marginal amount of forethought, and a tepid, generic level of familiarity. Why? Because in the time we should spend trying to create an original and genuine message, we’re too busy fucking around trying to buy the cards, stationery and plethora of other paraphernalia one needs to send anything via snail mail. Producing hand-written correspondence has become an inconvenience in the 21st century – why would I bother attempting it, when I can send the same well thought out, impassioned message instantly – and essentially for free – via text or email?

As long as you use manners and show respect for others when you communicate, why should the actual method of delivery matter? Technology is continuing to advance at a seemingly exponential rate, offering new ways in which to keep in touch with people, both on professional and personal levels. The telegram and weekly letter have long left the station, and while they are, for those who experienced them, charming to reminisce about, they didn’t purchase a return ticket. Things constantly change, and perhaps one day, those who grew up not knowing life without Twitter, Facebook or their iPhone, will look back on receiving a grammatically correct, punctuated email with the same fondness that their grandparents do a letter sent par avion from afar.

In closing, I’d like to thank you for reading. If you’d all be so kind as to advise me of your mailing addresses, I’ll be forwarding hand-written testaments of gratitude in the coming days.