Once And Future Infowars

Well first the Infowars in this post has nothing to with the site from the uber-conspiracist, Alex Jones….or the tin foil hat crowd…..

We have seen how social media has played into our elections and the spread of crappy world views….some might even say “fake news”…..but the future of social media is in question….maybe not by everyone but some at least……

A new book covers this subject……..

Violence, like Twitter, is a means of communication. If we do not understand it as such, its place in international relations makes no sense. As Thomas Schelling wrote in 1966: “The power to hurt is bargaining power. To exploit it is diplomacy — vicious diplomacy, but diplomacy.” Thinkers such as Joseph Nye and John Arquilla have argued that future wars will be determined by “whose story wins” more than who wins on the battlefield. Any analysis of narratives affecting war, however, must explain how violence itself shapes and destroys narratives. Violence may be a terrible way of communicating, but it will always be the ultimate way for states to signal their intentions and capabilities when discourse fails.

Journalist David Patrikarakos’ War in 140 Characters is an extremely rewarding, yet hopeless attempt to argue that new information technology — specifically, social media — has fundamentally “destabilized classic forms of war” and suggest that something new is upon us. According to Patrikarakos, social media is “one thing above all else: effect without cause.” As a result, it has given actors without any resources the ability to have an impact on what he calls the “narrative” and “discursive” levels of war, at which actors interpret the truth and political meaning of military action. Since the narrative and discursive levels of war have a greater impact on the political outcome of a war than military operations, effective tweeting can make battles irrelevant. And since non-state actors are better at tweeting than the West’s discredited institutions, they have gained an unprecedented advantage. The pernicious effects of battlefield social media thus threaten “the very idea that wars between state and non-state actors are asymmetric.”


It is up in the air on the future of social media….Facebook has called into question the security on these sites and points to ways they can be exploited.

Personally, I have never trusted any of them as far as I could spit them….my footprint on social media is very small to the point of being damn near none existent.

I have no confidence still and will continue to use them sparingly.

11 thoughts on “Once And Future Infowars

  1. Use of any social media, including our blogs, comes with the sure and certain knowledge that our actions are being observed, maybe recorded, and possibly manipulated. But even in the days when letters were sent by post, they could be intercepted, copied, and re-posted. Nothing has changed except the speed with which the information can be gathered.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Actually, while largely true, there are some very important differences.

      First, who is doing it. Back in The Day, only your government could intercept your (domestic) real mail…and “not exactly legally” at that. Today, most governments intercept everything everywhere, usually for no purpose whatsoever. Not only that, more & more government snooping activity is being privatized. Thus enters the corrupting “profit motive” into the equation.

      Speaking of profit, corporations are spying on people far more than governments used to in order to manipulate you. Hell, your average virgin living in his mom’s basement can probably get more dirt on you than Hoover’s FBI could ever get and can distribute more false communications to you/in your name than Hoover ever could too. And none of these people have the “National Security” excuse. They just do it because they can now. Nor does anybody give even a pretend fuck about “privacy” or “legality” anymore because there are all kinds of incentives and no consequences.

      Second, the ease and completeness. Reading everybody’s real mail was just impossible. Way too much volume. At best, you could do it situationally. (ie Soldier’s letters home, all of Bill Smith’s mail, etc.) But even then, some stuff slipped by. Today, almost every single communication in any format is snatched up just by agents of the US government alone.

      Actually, your post-cards with your words sitting in plain sight are FAR, FAR, more safe from prying eyes than anything digital. That’s why Jimmy Carter only uses real mail now.

  2. The Twit Zone in particular is, by its very nature, a violent form of communication. You sit in your trenches with your brothers in arms and fire off short, sharp, bursts at the enemy.

    Rapid fire. There is no debate, no nuance. No time to think, or reflect. Just let your “training” take over.

      1. Yeah, it just might work.

        We’ve built a societal infrastructure where a guy who…at his intellectual “best”…couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in his own borough 30 years ago….but he can now be considered “White House worthy”. In large part due to modern “communication” and it’s dumbing down & “combating-up” of everyone exposed to it. That’s how far we’ve fallen, because he’s a shadow of what (little) he used to be.

        The filters (quality, accuracy, objectivity, importance, etc) have all been stripped away by the Alternative Facts of the Webpipes. And a mainstream media obsessed with profit, has largely abandoned their standards in order to “compete” over the ever growing number of fucktards who actually do think the Earth is flat. https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2017/11/daily-chart-21

        It reminds me of a recent (Nerd Alert!!) X-Files episode “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat” The basic premise of the episode was that a paranoid guy shows up in the parking garage and desperately tries to convince Scully & Mulder he was their FBI partner for a decade. He claimed there’s a conspiracy to eliminate him from everyone’s memory because he knows the truth. The episode is really just a discussion of the Mengele/Mandela effect, the fluidity of facts & memory, CIA psy-ops..and the state of the world. There’s even a silly scene with an Alien Trump saying the universe is building a wall to keep Earthlings out.

        I debated which of the hilarious/confusing/timely clips to include (and hopefully not embed..but I don’t control that, or even my bladder anymore) But I went with the TV scene-of-the-year where Mulder finally tracks down “Doctor They”; the mastermind of the memory manipulation conspiracy…Who is, if I’m not mistaken, “Angel” from The Rockford Files. (Or maybe my memory has been altered. Angel would try to pull a con like that.)

      2. Yeah, man! You been abducted by aliens, or something? They’ve just completed their 2nd season on FOX..and are back in Vancouver where they belong!!! They even featured my favourite building there this season, the Del Mar Inn (featured in 3-4 shows in the last 5 years. Great backstory to it, the underdog defeating Goliath!) http://www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org/place-that-matters/del-mar-inn/

        Anyway…I think I showed the Robot Sushi episode trailer a few weeks ago here…didn’t I? (Damn that Doctor They! Always fucking with my head. Rockford really needs to slap some sense into him.)

        They’re short seasons and picking up the “alien conspiracy angle” after so long & after leaving it at such a high level…kinda feels odd/clumsy really…But the one-off episodes are classic X-Files. I think my favourite was this one and the Robot Sushi episode where it’s the two of them vs an automated world.

        The Lone Gunmen are still dead…well…maybe. Skinner is still on their case and sitting on the fence. Cancer Man (Canuck William B Davis) is…as menthol as ever. Watching the two lead actors now is like watching two veterans in their prime who are finally comfortable in their own skins & with each other. Watching actual adults acting naturally on primetime network TV is a rare treat anymore.

        Unfortunately, rumour is that this was the last season of their comeback. I think Scully keeps getting all kinds of interesting roles offered to her that weren’t offered for a long time after the X Files ended the first time. (See: Hannibal the TV show) I can see how she doesn’t want to get type-cast again…but I hope they come back next year.

        This is what happens when you don’t get TV Guides delivered to your door. With all that’s out there now, it’s probably more necessary now than ever.

      3. BBC America is showing a marathon today of the original series…not as “cool” as it was so many years ago….LOL chuq

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