I think the title of the post revealed which article that I’ve chosen to examine. I mean, come on… the title of Sacasas’ article is simply amazing and really hard to ignore. I hope that I managed to do some service with mine.
Although I had opened up an account for my Alchemist character on Hypothesis.is, I was reluctant to annotate anything because there were no other annotations available. I’m thinking that maybe we should start a private group for these intended annotations. I’m not so sure if public option is the best one. Anyways, onto the article itself.
Sacasas mainly focuses on the discourse online. It starts with a great analogy: “‘Don’t read the comments’ is about as routine a piece of advice as ‘look both ways before crossing the street’”, which perfectly captures the ignorance of people in general. Most people tend to prefer dismissing an issue rather than actually dealing with it. What else is new, right? The problem is that the online discourse is not something that could correct itself on its own, naturally. People, especially social media users, need to be conscious of what direction that “unlawful” discourse is heading. So, they can at least contribute to its expected course-correction instead of allowing the platform runners to enforce rules or conditions to automatically fulfill that role, and potentially cause a damage to its free nature. Then again, isn’t the free nature of the internet that allows it “to encourage rancor, incivility, misunderstanding, and worse” as Sacases puts it? He inserts that “anonymity has something to do with [it], and so does the abstraction of the body from the context of communication”, which I agree.
Sacases also claims that both the traditional discourse and the literacy aspect of writing on digital medium get unintentionally lost. The reasoning behind that claim is the public interaction among people that occur online by writing instead of speaking. Moreover, “expectations of immediacy in digital contexts collapse” the space in which the writing skill can flourish. Thus, “we lose the strengths of each medium: we get none of the meaning-making cues of face-to-face communication nor any of the time for reflection that written communication ordinarily grants”. Not to mention the “time limitations” set by the users themselves within that environment. The end product, therefore, is a communicative space “being rife with misunderstanding and agonistic” and “it encourages performative pugilism”. Fun times, indeed.
One last thing that I’ll mention about the article before wrapping up —I prefer the Field Guide posts to be short— that needs to be highlighted is the notion of identity clash. What I mean by that is social media users are unable to draw a line between a subjective opinion and “an attack on their views and ideals”, which forms their “internet identity”. So, basically, there is not room for a civil discussions but rather “my way or the highway” in a nutshell; unwillingness to be open to other perspectives, or at least find a common ground. Sacases notes that “we’ve conflated truth and identity in such a way that we cannot conceive of a challenge to our views as anything other than a challenge to our humanity”, which is pretty powerful.
As you can see, there are a lot of great stuff in the article that needs extracting and examining for the final project. I’m glad to have found it… at random, on Google search. Go figure. I’ll be adding the annotations as soon as I figure out the options.
Reference (I actually quoted stuff this time around):
Sacasas, L. M. (2014). Waiting for Socrates… So We Can Kill Him Again and Post the Video on Youtube. Technology, Culture, and Ethics. Retrieved from https://thefrailestthing.com/tag/digital-dualism/