Scribbles in my Research notebook, Monday 29th March 2021: observations and writing I have found interesting in the last week.
Scaachi Koul, writing for Buzzfeed News, discusses a year spent mostly online, and highlights what I suspect many will agree are limitations of what digital places can provide. Obviously this last year has been an extreme situation, so perhaps that is an unfair comment, but the article effectively poses the question: if this is what we wanted, why does it feel so hollow and unsatisfying?
For the last couple of years, I’ve been developing some thoughts about how to host online discussions based on the assumption that it is still possible to have a respectful debate in this day and age, and to try to tackle a series of contentious discussions with nuance and encourage less tribalistic kneejerk reactions to thorny issues. I’ve tentatively titled this ‘Crowdmoot’ and suspect it may end up as a feature on ShiverWriggle, which is stirring from what seemed to be less of a hiatus and more of a permanent state of being. In any case, I appreciated Alan Jacob’s recent article, “Do We Absolutely Disagree?“, pitched with the tagline, “Even in the fiercest debates, there may not always be a significant difference in principles.”
Ideas: Absence or Removal of Place
Following the thoughts I captured in my thesis on the idea of virtually filtered places, I have been wondering what would happen if or when such places were taken away, changed, or reduced; something that is entirely feasible given how little control we have over many of the digital places we choose to frequent. I am sure there must be some writing on this, but I haven’t yet followed this up and investigated it further. Specifically, what might the removal of key platforms mean in relation to virtually filtered places? It seems like a logical issue to consider and include in any further related theoretical observations.
Fractionally related, if you sort of squint sideways: L. M. Sacasas discusses the impossibility of online silence. References to “seeking a fullness of experience in the absence of the materiality” and “embodied presence”, though considering silence (or an attempt at silence) rather than overload, circle back neatly to Koul’s article, above. The limitations and disembodiment of digital media.