#BlackLivesMatter
I don’t really like likes. On the big silos of the social industry they have become weaponised; a kind of social Taylorism, where the craft of building social relationships has been reduced to unskilled labour – just another way of automating us.

Even on the open web, where they are not designed to distract, likes are still a bit of a weak form of interaction. I think they have their place, but I want something a bit more. Something more than comments below a post, too. They’re a bit constrained – in hock to the main body of text above.

Blogchains

I came across the idea of blogchains the other day, on Tom Critchlow’s blog I believe. The word is from Venkatesh Rao, and the very tl;dr is that it’s a string of short, ad-hoc blog posts that build on a theme. That’s cool, and tied in with a wiki is kind of how I see me builing up ideas over time.

But where the idea gets really interesting (for me) is when it extends to cross-site blogchains and open blogchains. These are more open-ended, involving two or more people conversing and building on a theme, simply by posting to their blog about it and linking the posts together.  Kind of like a webring, but for posts rather than sites.

There’s definitely something to be said for the long-form, turn-based conversation. One of the best conversations I have had recently was a long email chain. And some of the thoughts that have stuck with me the most are ones I’ve written as a long reply to someone else’s open question or musings on a topic.

Hyperconversations

The blogchain thing reminded me of something Kicks wrote about a few months back – hyperconversations. It’s a chat between friends, conducted across blogs and wikis. Less formal than a blogchain – no predetermined theme.

It’s very informal and fluid. It’s completely simple: just leaving messages for each other on our sites.

The Hyperchat Modality

Conversations that last

I think what they’re both getting at, is using social software to have distributed conversations that last more than just an hour or two.

Chris wrote about the temporality of social media.

Taking this a level deeper, social is thereby forcing us to not only think shallowly, but to make our shared histories completely valueless.

Shallow conversations disappear off the timeline and out of our minds pretty quickly. As mentioned, I don’t think this is true just for Twitter and Facebook though. It’s more a problem of the medium.

Relatedly, contemporary fediverse interfaces borrow from surveillance-capitalism based popular social networks by focusing on breadth of relationships rather than depth. […] What if instead of focusing on how many people we can connect to we instead focused on the depth of our relationships?

Spritely: towards secure social spaces as virtual worlds

Not to rag on likes and reposts too much. I do them plenty. There’s a time and place for everything. And I’m not saying that I want to have to sit down and write a 500 word blog post every time I want to say hi to a friend. But! I would definitely like some more conversations that last.

So who’s up for a blogchain, or a hyperconversation?

Read Mannequins

I turned in my book manuscript a few weeks ago. It took 18 months to complete, if I start counting from the moment when the idea first wormed into my brain. It’s by far the biggest writing project I’ve ever tackled.

Nadia Eghbal, someone who obviously loves writing, writes about writing a book. It sounds less… enjoyable than you might think.

What I hated most about this past year was feeling unable to seriously think about anything besides this one thing. Everything I read or talked about was in service to the thing. There was nothing but the thing.

Afterwards, I expected to feel a satisfying sense of completion, but mostly I just felt relieved. I didn’t think of it as having finished a manuscript so much as having expelled a virus from my body.

Just started reading The Shallows (strapline: ‘How the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember’) by Nicholas Carr. Enjoying it a lot so far.

He has mentioned HyperCard, Marshall McLuhan and how neurons work. So this is all relevant to my interests.

Finished Dune off the other night. It was a bit Shakespearian, duelling families, noble characters, sweeping arcs of history and all that. Soliloquys. I did enjoy it and finished it off quickly. But on reflection I can’t say I really actually *liked* any of the characters very much. Interesting yes, do I care what happens to them, not so much.

On the plus side I can watch the David Lynch film now.