Category Archives: culture, media & technology

Bewildering Spam

bewildering email spam
I’ve been getting a string of bewildering messages infiltrating my email in-box recently. Yeah we all get this crap. It’s become a nauseating part of the morning routine. Wake up, eat breakfast, brew coffee, open email and waste a few minutes or so deleting dozens of bogus email messages.

Lately the senders oddly appear to be randomly generated Gmail accounts. No fabricated identities here just automated nonsense. What’s going on here? Has Gmail become a conduit for bottom-feeder spammers?
Let’s call them digital hucksters. Unscrupulous individuals looking to push useless wares on us or, worse, grab our personal information and exploit our bits and bytes for financial gain.

Yes the brilliant minds over at the Googleplex can devise cutting edge innovations like self-driving automobiles but can’t solve the seemingly rudimentary task of freeing us from the tyranny of junk information circulating the net each day.

As I write this post I see that I have no less than 647 spam messages awaiting moderation in the comments area of my blog. Akismet tells me that in the past 6-months 36,449 spam comments have been blocked and in the month of May alone apparently 6,733 spam comments have been effectively thwarted.
Oh hurray… …I’m overjoyed.

Just this week one of my clients emailed me with questions and concerns over the large number of spam comments their blog has been receiving in the past few weeks. I’m really at a loss to explain this recent rise in spam. It’s as though the Web is becoming this vast digital apparatus for circulating fake automated information of absolutely no real value other than wasting our time.

Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, is this the networked world you envisioned?

The Networked Society, On the Brink

On The Brink, part of Ericsson’s Networked Society series, primarily explores the future of connectivity and the changing dynamics set forth by our rapidly evolving digital economy.

We’ll live healthier longer lives as a result of nanotech sensors used in conjunction with embedded wireless devices that will constantly monitor and optimize our physiology by relaying data back to cloud based medical services.
We’ll engender a smarter more innovative culture and workforce because of widespread access to higher education and knowledge resources through wireless information networks

The barriers to running a successful business, building an audience, and reaching end consumers with products and services no longer exist because of the low cost of entry provided by networked tools and technologies.

These are some of the most encouraging ideas considered by the continued growth and development offered by our increasingly networked world.
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Shortcut Experiences

In a recent opinion piece for the New York Times, Roger Cohen writes:

Everything seems filtered, monitored, marshaled, ameliorated, graded and app-ready — made into a kind of branded facsimile of experience for easier absorption. The thrill of the unexpected is lost.

The modern world’s tech-giddy control and facilitation makes us stupid. Awareness atrophies. Dumb gets dumber. Lists are everywhere — the five things you need to know about so-and-so; the eight essential qualities of such-and-such; the 11 delights of somewhere or other. We demand shortcuts, as if there are shortcuts to genuine experience. These lists are meaningless.

This is a very astute observation of the modern tech-centric economy in which we’re currently living. Lists are in fact quite insidious and could be regarded as the quintessential attention-thwarting shortcut one finds permeating the digital space. Listicles as they’re sometimes called (why yes, there’s a Wikipedia entry) obliterate mental focus and encourage us to read less.

There is arguably no better way to fragment audience engagement. Create a list and people will skim rather than absorb your content.