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Re: <nettime> Will your insurance company subsidize your quantified self
Florian Cramer on Thu, 17 Apr 2014 04:30:52 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Will your insurance company subsidize your quantified self?

On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM, Alexander Bard <bardissimo {AT} gmail.com>

> What it is not taking into perspective is the fact that the Internet itself
> fosters a new parallel class system of a netocracy versus a consumtariat.

A netocracy would be the class that controls the infrastructure and
policymaking of the Internet - and, by implication, the economic and
political systems connected or depending on it.

> But that is of course because the members of Nettime themselves are all
> netocrats

According to the definition above, not.

> For example, you can no longer ignore the fact that there is an enormous
> difference in power between somebody with 400,000 Twitter followers and
> those with merely 10.

This is what not-so-critical media studies and "Web 2.0" marketing want to
make us believe. The actual difference is between the users of Twitter and
the owners of the Twitter platform making their money from mining and
selling their users' data [
and those who made their money on Twitter's IPO and $40 billion
capitalization [

In that light, the perceived power difference between Twitter posters and
Twitter followers is, for the most part, a smokescreen for the real power
politics and economics at work. It couldn't be better illustrated than with
a cartoon by Geek & Poke that later became an Internet meme. It's attacking
Facebook but applies just as well to Twitter:
[Pig 1: "Isn't it great? We have to pay nothing for the barn."
Pig 2: "Yeah! And even the food is free"
Punchline: "If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer. You're
the product being sold."]

>From the point of view of business management, media like Twitter only have
consumers, no matter what their user interface nomenclature (of "tweeters"
and "followers") might say. Those with the user interface status of
producers are just the hardcore consumers providing the most valuable data
for mining and resale.

Twitter, by the way, is a striking example of how a corporate web site has
been able to position (or market) itself as network infrastructure - as if
it were an Internet protocol like E-Mail or IRC. People who didn't use the
Internet before the year 2000 are unlikely to even know the difference
between a proprietary web service and an open Internet protocol anymore.
The whole history of the Internet since (the marketing term) "Web 2.0" is
one of public Internet protocols and services such as FTP, IRC and Usenet
newsgroups being replaced by privately-owned proprietary web services. In
this course, even the World Wide Web as one of those public protocols and
services mutated from a decentralized electronic publishing system (based
on http and HTML) to something lower level and more generic, a protocol
(http) and user interface API (HTML+CSS+Javascript) for proprietary
services replacing public services. It's the history of privatization of
other public infrastructures (such as the electricity grid, waterworks,
energy supply and transport) having repeated itself.

Not that the division between a bourgeosie (those with money) and workers
> (those without) in a Marxist sense no longer exists, just that the new
> division in attention arther than capital complicates things further.

Sorry if I sound rude - but: In which world are you living? Or I'd better
say: in which world do the media theoreticians and marketers live who have
been making such claims?

If there's any sense to the various "post-"prefixes such as post-digital,
post-media, post-Internet, then for sure in the break with the idea that
there are new form of virtual assets and capital - like "attention" - that
supersede the capital of old economies with its power base in the control
of natural (and other physical) resources, industrial means of production
and control over services.


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