Category: Affect and social media

A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media

Image result for Frank Donnie DarkoWAKSLEEPWALKER_COVERE UP DONNIE! This is a targeted ad. Sleepwalk your way to Barnes and Noble. Purchase your pre-order copy. Pass on this message to your lookalikes. WAKE UP DONNIE! This is a targeted ad. Sleepwalk your way to Barnes and Noble. Purchase your pre-order copy. Pass on this message to your lookalikes. WAKE UP DONNIE! This is a targeted ad. Sleepwalk your way to Barnes and Noble. Purchase your pre-order copy. Pass on this message to your lookalikes. WAKE UP DONNIE! This is a targeted ad. Sleepwalk your way to Barnes and Noble. Purchase your pre-order copy. Pass on this message to your lookalikes.WAKE UP DONNIE! This is a targeted ad. Sleepwalk your way to Barnes and Noble. Purchase your pre-order copy. Pass on this message to your lookalikes.WAKE UP DONNIE! This is a targeted ad. Sleepwalk your way to Barnes and Noble. Purchase your pre-order copy. Pass on this message to your lookalikes. WAKE UP DONNIE!

A&SM#5/Sensorium registration open, full programme published

The organisers of the 5th Affect and Social Media/Sensorium Conference and Art Show (25-26th June 2020) are very pleased to announce that registration is now open.

The confirmed full programme for A&SM#5 MORE-THAN is published here: https://viralcontagion.blog/asm5-summer-2020/

There is also a link to registration on this official UEL event page: https://www.uel.ac.uk/events/2020/06/affect-and-social-media-conference

As with previous events, we have tried to keep costs down so that the conference is affordable to colleagues from other institutions on hourly paid or fixed term contracts, students and artists. The event is free for all UEL staff and students.

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Very best wishes,

Tony

A&SM#5/CfP Closed/Registration Open

A&SM#5 International Conference and Sensorium Art Show

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25-26th June 2020

University of East London, Stratford Venue USS Building.

Registration Now Open

Link to Registration: £20, Concessions £10, free for UEL staff and students:

Programme

Confirmed Keynotes

Carolyn Pedwell

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Carolyn Pedwell is Reader in Cultural Studies at the University of Kent. Her research focuses on affect, habit, embodiment, digital culture and social transformation. Carolyn is the author of Transforming Habit: Affect, Assemblage and Social Change in a Minor Key (forthcoming, McGill-Queens UP), Affective Relations: The Transnational Politics of Empathy (2014, Palgrave) and Feminism, Culture and Embodied Practice (2010, Routledge). Her new research project, ‘Digital Media and the Human: The Social Life of Software, AI and Algorithms’, examines the production of the human, non-human and more-than-human in the context of emergent media ecologies.

Tero Karppi

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Tero Karppi is Assistant Professor at the ICCIT & Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. A Finnish-born new media scholar, his book Disconnect: Facebook’s Affective Bonds was published by the University of Minnesota Press in October 2018. In it Karppi contends that platforms like Facebook see disconnection as an existential threat — and have undertaken wide-ranging efforts to eliminate it— Karppi’s focus on the difficulty of disconnection, rather than the ease of connection, reveals how social media has come to dominate human relations.

Keynote Panels

In addition to a full programme of presentations and sensorium performances (tbc), there will be a keynote panel, including responses and discussion with Amit S Rai (Queen Mary), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Ian Tucker and Darren Ellis (UEL). Chaired by Tony Sampson.

FULL PROGRAMME

Coming Soon!

PANELS INCLUDE

MORE-THAN INTIMACY 1

MORE-THAN SUBJECT

MORE-THAN INTIMACY 2

MORE-THAN DATA

MORE-THAN CONTENT

MORE-THAN NEWS

MORE-THAN EMOTION

MORE-THAN CAPITAL

MORE-THAN EXPERIENCE

WORKSHOPS

SENSORIUM ART SHOW

BOOK LAUNCH

 

A&SM#5 CfP deadline fast approaching

Senior researchers, ECRs and PGRs all welcome.

Call for Papers and Artworks Deadline 21st Feb 2020

Affect & Social Media#5 & Sensorium Art Show

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>MORE-THAN>

Stratford, East London: 25-26/06/20

Confirmed Keynotes

Carolyn Pedwell (Kent)

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Tero Karppi (Toronto)

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Keynote Panel: Amit S Rai (Queen Mary), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Ian Tucker and Darren Ellis (UEL). Chaired by Tony Sampson.

Full details of CfP on the theme of More-Than: https://viralcontagion.blog/asm5-summer-2020/

Call for papers and artwork deadline to A&SM#5/Sensorium Fri 21st Feb

The deadline for submission to Affect and Social Media#5 and the Sensorium Art Show is fast approaching.

Call for Papers and Artworks Deadline 21st Feb 2020

Affect & Social Media#5/Sensorium

>MORE-THAN>

Stratford, East London: 25-26/06/20

Confirmed Keynotes

Carolyn Pedwell (Kent)

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Tero Karppi (Toronto)

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Keynote Panel: Amit S Rai (Queen Mary), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Ian Tucker and Darren Ellis (UEL). Chaired by Tony Sampson.

Full details of CfP on the theme of More-Than: https://viralcontagion.blog/asm5-summer-2020/

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A&SM#5 Sensorium Song

This year’s A&SM#5 has its own conference song!

Data Streams is a digital film collaboration between Mikey Georgeson, film-maker Cameron Poole and performed by the band David Devant and his Spirit Wife. The work is a speculation in transmitting art’s more-than registers outside of conceptualised models. Check out everything you need to know about A&SM#5, including the cfp for the conference and art show

 

Keynotes confirmed for A&SM#5 – and a Sensorium Song is on its way!

Very pleased to announce that Tero Karppi joins Carolyn Pedwell as our second keynote at Affect and Social Media#5: More Than (East London, June 25-26th 2020). Check out his excellent book: Disconnect: Facebook’s Affective Bonds

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Tero Karppi
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Carolyn Pedwell

Sensorium Song

We are expecting to announce soon the release of this year’s Sensorium Song. Attendees at A&SM#4 will remember Mikey Georgeson’s Kindness is a Virus was centre stage at the after conference Sensorium performances.

The cfp for More Than is live here: https://viralcontagion.blog/asm5-summer-2020/ Deadline is 21st Feb.

A&SM#5 cfp

A&SM#5 presents:

MORE-THAN

Cfp and artworks 21st Feb 2020

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International Conference and Sensorium Art Show

25-26th June 2020

University of East London, Stratford Venues: USS Building and The Dome Stratford Campus

Confirmed Keynote: Carolyn Pedwell

Registration opens early next year: £20, Concessions £10

>Call for Papers and Artworks>200 word abstract DEADLINE: 21st Feb 2020

Please email 200 word abstract to t.d.sampson[at]uel.ac.uk. Be sure to include your name, any affiliations and contact email in the same text.

Details

The call for the 5th international, interdisciplinary Affect and Social Media conference and Sensorium Art Show asks established academics, postgraduate writers, artists and media practitioners to broadly conceive of a more-than social media.

>More-Than Connectivity

The corporate rhetoric of digital enterprise has often couched connectivity in celebratory terms. There can never be too much connectivity! Expanding on the ambitions and tools of Web 1.0, the social technology paradigm promised to (as Tim Berners Lee put it) connect users to everything and everybody. A social media business model swiftly followed that monetized too much connectivity by way of platform architectures designed to persuade users to spend increasingly more time connecting to each other. Users would now produce more and more relational data through linking to friends (more friends than they had offline!), building groups and communities, posting, sharing, and liking, liking, liking!

>More-Than Data Power

Social media is a corporate Empire of Like. It extracts value made from these abundances of connectivity and data. This is an empire that knows no bounds. An empire of excess wherein the endless accumulation and surveillance of all this data seems to be infinite. There can never be too much data. There is so much of the stuff that marketers and consumer researchers often ponder over what exactly to do with it all. What do Facebook really know? Do they know more than we think they know or do they know too much to compute?

>More-Than Information

Counterintuitively perhaps, these information excesses do not equate to user empowerment. The surpluses of connectivity and data have not produced the assumed information fuelled age of enlightenment. This is a dark age of social media in which James Bridle contends, we may well ‘know more and more about the world,’ but at the same time we are ‘less and less able to do anything about it.’

Platform architectures are designed to do more than make more information available. The behavioural data science teams behind the scenes claim to produce predictable user performances. But more than this, social media developers, researchers and marketers want to stir up a profusion of emotion, feelings and mechanical habits. They want impersonal affects to overflow their threshold points and spread contagiously through transmedia communities. These are viral flows and contaminations that produce affective bonds (Karppi, 2018), keeping users engaged in the process of making more and more sharable data. It is indeed these affective bonds of social media which become entangled with a more-than-human user experience (Clough, 2018).

>More-than User Experience

Much attention has been paid to the negative effects social media can have on a user’s emotions and mental health. Social media addictions and potential overdoses are endemic to a discourse of care. Are We All Addicts Now? Systems of withdrawal, detox, and disengagement have been proposed as an antidote. Yet, as personalities and technologies collapse into Clough’s impersonal user experience (and Chun’s YOU), what kinds of care system can ease the pain of identity loss? What happens when the “I” of the user collapses into these impersonal experiences to become a Facebook lookalike audience?

The failure to produce mass disconnection shows the extent to which digital dependencies are produced by a kind of Skinner’s Box. It is the seemingly endless circulation of impersonal affects in these boxes that bring users together in involuntary acts of collective mimicry, and keeps them pecking for more.

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A New Syntax for User Experience by Mikey B Georgeson

>More-Than Design

Should we be surprised? Social media appears to have been predesigned for More-Than. As Vaidhyanathan (2019) argues, Zuckerberg’s original design intentions have been dramatically supervened by unanticipated uses of the original Facebook architecture. The overproduction of online harms, hate speech, rumours, conspiracy and fakery are surplus platform productions that algorithms churn and digital immune systems struggle to frustrate. This is a design that has proven to be the perfect environment for a divisive populist politics with further excesses of hate and online harm.

Zuckerberg thinks the solution to these immunological breaches will be AI. And yes, AI is of course a More-Than production of experience. It produces digital emotions which portray, detect, and manipulate predictable patterns. In the social media behaviourist labs, the psych-corps are able to clandestinely experiment on users as if they were Skinner’s pigeons. Users become caught up in a teleological suspension of ethical research. This is a More Than production of pecking subjectivities.

Peck! Peck! Peck! Peck!

Like! Like! Like! Like!

Peck! Peck! Like! Like!

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Skinner Box Head by Milos Rajkovic aka Sholim

 

>More-Than Atmospheres

But at least this overproduction is kept to online phenomena only. It all seems so clean. The user experiences of social media is a world away from the smog filled streets and bush fires of climate disaster. Up here in the fluffy whiteness of the digital clouds, it would appear that the only waste users have to manage is the limitless waste of time these platforms offer for thumb exercises.

But of course, digital clouds are not fluffy white areas for excess data storage. The cloud is itself a more-than atmosphere. It is an ideological avatar. More precisely, these clouds are not virtual, but are toxic clouds that obscure the actual dirty heat of the corporate social media server centres. What we find, then, in the cloud, is a user experience of time wasting readily aligned to the excesses of digital junk and the toxic sludge of the Anthropocene.

>More-Than Human

But after all this dystopian media theory dirge is expended, could there not be a more promising More Than, yet to come? Can the user experience be wrestled back from the clutches of the dark refrains of corporate social media and poisonous populisms? Or will the finite overproductions; the endless acceleration of more thans, reach a point where perhaps endless accumulation turns in on itself. A point where more thans become other thans or more than more thans, perhaps? Like Deleuze and Guattari’s final affirmative more than in What is Philosphy? is there a new people yet to come. We might already be seeing the start of a new ‘intuitive digital subjects’ (Serres, Pedwell) whose habits and addictions are not steered by way of behavioural marketers any longer, but instead delegated and synthesised to digital technologies, opening up cognitive capacities and affective atmospheres in which users might experience ‘intuitive’ modes of being-in-the-world.

Evidently, the list is endless, but here are some other More-Than topics to ponder…

More-than connectivity>More-than data power>More-than information>More-than user experience>More-than democracy>More-than words>More-than feelings>More-than art>More-than design>More-than atmospheres>More-than human>More-than-more-thans>More-thans, yet to come

  • The light and dark ages of social media data excesses
  • Surplus affect
  • Breaching thresholds
  • Frustrating immunological systems
  • Anomalous overproduction
  • Too much harm, too much hate!
  • Designed excess
  • Time/waste management
  • Waste/time management
  • Viral architectures
  • Virality/growth
  • More-than atmospheres
    • Dirty clouds
    • Toxic sludge
  • Psychologies of the more-than-human
  • More-than-human strategies
  • More-than potentialities
  • Other more than, more thans

 

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More Thans by Mikey B Georgeson

A new, modified blurb for A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media

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Social media has taken a dark turn, encompassing both economic and political expropriation of the user experience. Users not only give away ownership of their community relations to big platforms, but the potential for positive change through revolutionary contagion is under threat. What was once the domain of pro-democratic movements has been annexed by the far right.

Tony Sampson focuses on the role social media play in this somewhat abrupt capitulation to the dark refrain of post-truth, fake news and hate speech. Positing online users as “sleepwalkers”, he argues that by understanding their collective behaviour we can identify the different lures that are used to capture them and which, in turn, produce their subjectivities.

Drawing on a wide range of theories, this book offers compelling ways to understand social media at a time when it is more important than ever. It is an important reference for students and scholars of media theory, digital media and social media.

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A New Syntax of the User Experience. Diagram by Mikey B Georgeson

A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media is now in production with Polity, due July 2020

A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media

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A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media is now in production with Polity. It will be published in the UK in early July 2020 and in the US in August.

Below is the blurb, contents and a collection of wonderful matter-flow illustrations and diagrams the artist Mikey B Georgeson produced for the book and our related collaboration at the Society for the Study of Affect Summer School in Lancaster PA this year. They will become part of an exhibit planned to coincide with the book’s launch in the summer.

The Blurb for A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media

Positing online users as ‘sleepwalkers’, Tony Sampson offers an original and compelling approach for understanding how social media platforms produce subjectivities.

Drawing on a wide range of theorists, including A.N. Whitehead and Gabriel Tarde, he provides tools to track his sleepwalker through the ‘dark refrain of social media’: a refrain that spreads through viral platform architectures with a staccato-like repetition of shock events, rumours, conspiracy, misinformation, big lies, search engine weaponization, data voids, populist strongmen, immune system failures, and far-right hate speech. Sampson’s sleepwalker is not a pre-programmed smartphone junkie, but a conceptual personae intended to dodge capture by data doubles and lookalikes. Sleepwalkers are neither asleep nor wide awake; they are a liminal experimentation in collective mimicry and self-other relationality. Their purpose is to stir up a new kind of community that emerges from the potentialities of revolutionary contagion.

At a time in which social media is influencing more people than ever, A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media is an important reference for students and scholars of media theory, digital media and social media.

Contents

Acknowledgements

Intro

1        Feeling Facts and Fakes

2        On the Viral Spectra of Somnambulism

Coda    Christchurch; El Paso

3        The Virality of Experience Capitalism

Segue    A Dark [Viral] Refrain

4        Immunity, Community and Contagion

5         Deeper Entanglements

Outro    Disrupting the Dark Refrain

Notes

Index

Illustrations and Diagrams