Notes for "What Happened to Sharing Is Caring" (4): What's To Be Done?

London, April 23, 2018 | #Facebook #NewYorkTimes #RiotPorn


please read - and how can this possibly be combatted?


  1. The New York Times is not a trustworthy source.

  2. The title image/animation serves a purpose. It's quite openly pornographic: exploits a subject, produces arousal, presents as objects some mysterious others, asks: how would it feel to be in or under their skin.

  3. Countries are not "tinderboxes". Not being American helps to understand this.

  4. Familiarize yourself with the history of political and religious violence in South Asia. The world was not created in Zuckerbergs dorm room.

  5. Stop blaming Facebook for everything, be it Brexit, Trump or worse.

  6. Collect empirical evidence. It could be that social media do not just accelerate the spread of conspiracy theories and violence, but just as well, and maybe even more so, the analysis of and response to conspiracy theories and violence.

  7. Do not participate in the amplification of hysteria. Realize that hysteria is not a only a tech problem (amplification, "fanning the flames"), but also a people problem (anger, boredom, setting stuff on fire). Most importantly, do not fall for the meta-hysteria of the New York Times.

  8. Amplification is not causation. Don't shoot the messenger (the "medium"). In case the messenger is the message, simply ignore her. Start with yourself, then help distract others.

  9. Facebook is an addiction. Remember "opium for the masses"? This one doesn't sedate, it makes people nervous. It's more like "crack for the masses": living from quick fix to quick fix. "Its gamelike interface rewards engagement, delivering a dopamine boost when users accrue likes and responses". Remember that "deleting" yourself doesn't change anything (and doesn't work anyway). If you want to stop but cannot stop, seek help.

  10. Finally, a bit of 9/12 2001 wisdom: if you feel stressed about faraway violence, stop posting on the internet. Turn off your computer. Get out and take a walk in the park. Be with people, observe animals, go swimming.


Further reading:

The middle distance fell away, so the grids (from small to large) that had supported the middle distance fell into disuse and ceased to be understandable. Two grids remained. The grid of two hundred million and the grid of intimacy. Everything else fell into disuse. There was a national life—a shimmer of national life—and intimate life. The distance between these two grids was very great. The distance was very frightening. People did not want to measure it. People began to lose a sense of what distance was and of what the usefulness of distance might be.


The fact that mere accidents intervene to confuse our situation unnecessarily, that my telegram should arrive at your office on an afternoon when you are not there, that your telegram should be incorrectly addressed, and finally, as I now see, the fact that my letter to your parents should be delayed by one day (it was mailed on Thursday as the enclosed receipt shows)—all this is bad enough, but things between us have reached such a point that even the gravest accident cannot make things worse. Today on receiving notification of your telephone call I could not very well leave the office, and anyway couldn't wait to hear as soon as possible what it was you wanted; besides, with unreasonable hope I thought you might be telephoning in order to rob your express letter of some of its acrimony—which is why I asked for the call to be put through to the Institute. That was a mistake; we haven't got a booth; there are always a lot of people hanging about in the president's anteroom where the telephone is, and as it happened one of the directors, a tiresome man, was standing behind me cracking jokes; I could have kicked him. As a result I couldn't hear properly, but above all for quite some time I couldn't even take in the meaning of your words. After all, I had reason to assume that my letter to your parents had arrived the day before, that you had known about it before sending your telegram and of course before writing your letter as well. Thus, on the telephone, apart from the fact that I couldn't hear properly, I couldn't help wondering what it was you wanted, and why in fact you had called me. Moreover with the sound of your voice—and this, after all, is why I am afraid of the telephone—that passionate longing to see you came over me again; the simplest method for clarifying everything and having everything clarified, was to come; so I said I am coming to Berlin.