Virtual Media

It’s rare for an image to become iconic so quickly:


There’s a Rorschach Blot element to it, with everyone seeing what they’re expecting to. The source adds some context. The folks buried in the matrix are journalists. (Everyone knows who the other guy is.)

The picture was everywhere on social media, almost immediately. Zuck isn’t really looking at anyone (he’s staring forward into his own — eminently practical — dreams). The journalists are looking at what he’s showing them, and only that. We’re looking at them, asymmetrically (through social media). In other words, we’re seeing a new media system interring an old one inside itself. The press is being buried alive, in front of our eyes, and we’re (typically) trying not to laugh alongside Zuck too conspicuously, because the idea of that makes us nervous — perhaps even slightly nauseous. Everyone knows something real is happening, precisely because of its near-parodic virtuality. When people look back at this, it’s the obvious bizarre novelty of it — to us — that will look comical.

Social media is a phase. What comes next will still be social media, just as social media is still the Web, and the Web is still the Internet, but it will have been reconfigured no less drastically. Decentralization, potentially, will have been raised to a higher power, which will demand a superior strategy of re-centralization from the coming big winners. Bandwidth will continue to rise, with VR proposed as a way to soak some of that up. News will be consumed predominantly through these channels. Whoever dominates them will command the landscape of opinion. The existing social media giants will be the threatened dinosaurs of this rapidly changing environment. Knowing this, they will leverage all the advantages of incumbency to make bold strategic moves. (Most of this is clearly visible in the picture.)

As systems decentralize they take on the characteristics of self-organizing collective intelligence (SOCI). Agency becomes distributed in increasingly complex, unpredictable ways, and positions of domination have to be earned and defended with ever-greater objective cunning. Placing target audiences in the role of passive consumers requires perpetual dynamic effort. Already, social media users are showing this picture, as well as absorbing it. At least nominally, relationships within the emerging media-matrix are orchestrated as ambiguously competitive-cooperative games, rather than as a simple matter of service delivery (with clearly settled producer-consumer roles). People use social media to produce media, and not merely to accept what they are told. This disruption of informational hierarchies can only intensify, erratically (as it has for half a millennium).

Twitter is not dealing with this well. Things are happening too fast for them. The down-grading of (content-relevant) media power from monopolistic broadcasting, to competitive broadcasting, to curation is already slipping into something else — following the inherent censorship-resistance of the Internet. Trust-vaporization is still accelerating. This is what corporate death looks like, when formulated as a mission statement. (I’m not sufficiently interested in Facebook to pull out the parallels on that side.)

Zuck’s smile in that picture isn’t Mona Lisa material, except in its capacity to absorb analysis. If it looks as if he’s laughing at you, you’re responding like a loser. The coming chaos is far too unpredictable to justify that.

February 23, 2016admin 37 Comments »

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37 Responses to this entry

  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Decentralization, potentially, will have been raised to a higher power, which will demand a superior strategy of re-centralization from the coming big winners.

    This is the point lost on most: the goal of big internet companies is always re-centralization. Humanity exists on a pulse of fragmentation and re-centralization. This corresponds to our cycle of inventing new things, then adapting them to fit the Crowd and not the environment, thus ruining them and turning them into the same old stuff (Big Macs, Coke and Budweiser).


    grey enlightenment Reply:

    centralization is why these companies are worth billions. the network effect grows exponentially more valuable as more nodes are added


    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 at 3:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • Virtual Media | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Virtual Media […]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 at 3:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • TheDividualist Says:

    3D TV didn’t take off because people have to put on glasses and that is a bother. Apparently people want either zero amount of bother, or very much (for signalling and bragging) but slightly annoying hassles not. I think most people will try out these VR glasses as a novelty, maybe even buy one, but sooner or later they just can’t be arsed to put them on when turning on the TV is lazier.


    Hattori Reply:

    3D TV also kind of sucked. These new VR devices give you near perfect 3D and great motion tracking.


    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 at 4:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • TheDividualist Says:

    What could cause decentralization? I think we live in an age where the main driving force is laziness, and that suggests centralization. For the average consumer, the ideal thing would be one app on their phone, PC, TV that handles all their communication and entertainment needs. Facebook acquiring NetFlix and Grooveshark, as an approximation.

    I mean, the big player re-centralization is not a reaction, it is just the centralization. From the viewpoint of average consumers nothing really is happening outside what big players are doing. Silicon Valley startup products are consumed by neophile hipsters. It does not really trickle down to the aging, more “diverse”, fatter and ever more Idiocracy-like population. Their inputs are extremely easy to filter by big players and their curiosity is low.

    There are more and more censorship and all that, but since I am unable to convince people even from these deep-right circles to show any enthusiasm towards starting a Diaspora pod, why would the masses care about that? They will not exit Twitter. Because Twitter probably won’t even censor anyone who isn’t high-profile because it has no status payoff for the SJWs. I don’t think they will care if one semi-literate burger-flipper calls another one a fag. They will hunt the big game.


    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 at 4:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • Apothecary Says:


    There are several orders of magnitude between a 3DTV and what real VR will become capable of in the next few years.

    Think of 3DTV as a cup of caffeinated coffee and the Oculus Rift as 100% pure Columbian powder.


    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 at 4:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • grey enlightenment Says:

    Zuck is the closest thing to a techno-nobility of sorts , along with Amazon and Google.


    vxxc2014 Reply:

    Wrong. No nobility there.


    SydneyTrads Reply:

    How is it that redpillers don’t understand the difference between authority and power? We literally live in the era of total power centralisation minus any and all authority. That is why there is no aristocratic class today. None at all. In today’s world, true nobility ends like di Lampedusa or Mishima.


    Grahf Reply:

    Zuck is the king of the Last Men, perhaps.


    Grotesque Body Reply:

    Last Men don’t have a king, they have a Rabbi.


    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 at 5:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Fascinating point about New media interring the old admin.


    Grotesque Body Reply:

    Old journalism = turning into mitochondria.


    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 at 6:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • Virtual Media | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 at 8:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    that is how time travel begins. next time they put this thing on … and disappear.


    Posted on February 24th, 2016 at 2:41 am Reply | Quote
  • Kgaard Says:

    If you want your case for gold $10,000, this is it: People just drop out of the physical world, hang out in their house, put on VR goggles and work/play/jerk off/never leave home. Industrial production falls 2-4% every year. The Fed must print to prevent deflationary vortex.

    Office rents go down because why rent office space when you can just create a virtual office inside everyone’s VR goggles?

    Etc etc etc.

    This is actually the thing that constantly nags at me.


    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    How does that send gold to $10,000?


    Kgaard Reply:

    In order to keep nominal GDP growth positive and not have a debt-collapse vortex, the Fed would need to do unsterilized intervention (ink-money printing, helicopter drops etc). They would have to manufacture CPI in Washington to offset persistently weak economic activity. Gold’s role is to capture that … to offer a benchmark of the real value of money …


    admin Reply:

    A “debt-collapse vortex” is exactly what is needed to clean out the sty.

    Kgaard Reply:

    I’ve never ascribed to that view. What you end up with is not a clean sty but an empty one: All the smart people leave as your country struggles through a never-ending depression. Look at the brain drain in Portugal — all the young people split for Brazil, Angola, Namibia etc. This is what grinding deflationary depression does. It’s hopeless. Your only option is to leave.

    admin Reply:

    You don’t really think that’s the Portugal story? Collapse asset values down to the level where price discovery re-ignites, and you have an economic boom (based on something real).

    Kgaard Reply:

    But that’s not how these things tend to play out: In a long-running depression you so fundamentally transform the genetic make-up of the populace that whenever the rebound comes it’s a different set of people doing the rebounding. When I go to Lisbon I always find it kind of sad. There are still historical museums and so forth detailing how these guys dominated the world. But they have been on a slide for 400 years. The people there today look bad. I saw this unfold real-time in Buenos Aires: Between 1999 and 2014 the physical attractiveness of portenyos collapsed. Never ending depression has that effect.

    TheDividualist Reply:

    Managers dislike telecommuting because it messes with their heady power/status trip. Ultimately if a competitor can afford 10% lower prices because not having an office that may motivate them to allow it, but they will probably try everything else first, like hiring cheaper people because most office work is trained-monkey level anyway. So I find it more likely that the current requirements of having college degrees are going to be released first if this leads to lower costs but keeps the power/status trip of having all the minions in one place.


    Posted on February 24th, 2016 at 2:42 am Reply | Quote
  • Aaron Says:

    Did I read that correctly? Did Batman just unmask himself? Is Pax Dickinson Duck Enlightenment?

    Also, there been a good deal of schadenfreude about twitter’s falling stock prices coinciding with it’s corresponding increase in censorship. It has the feel of karmic justice to it. While I agree with the basic sentiment, I don’t see anything that would remove twitter from it’s entrenched monopoly position. While the company isn’t any good at making money, it could be probably be run on a much smaller staff and turn over it’s censorship functions to NGOs (Or is this happening already? Who signs the checks of the twitter politburo, i.e. the TSC?). This is just one layman’s opinion, but twitter looks like it is going to a problem for the foreseeable future.


    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    As Duck Dickinson pointed out in his post-mortem Radish interview, the politburisation of Twitter is a structural problem of their business model. It pertains to every ad-funded opinion medium: in terms of ad revenue, some opinions are more equal than others. Reddit and Facebook are under the same pressures.

    That’s why I’ve been saying for a while that alt right needs to find a way to make businesses which are robust to this failure mode (“I don’t mind personally, but the advertisers don’t like it.”)

    It’s hard with social media, though. You have to go where the people are, and the people are on Twitter. That advertisers occasionally veto small groups as bad for business is not an exploitable structural weakness of Twitter. Only small groups will be purged; large groups are never bad for business. That’s why I found admin’s observation about interment and the phasic nature of social media to be so helpful. Applied to Twitter, it captures the idea that whatever comes after Twitter is going to contain Twitter within of itself, as general relativity subsumed Newtonian mechanics.


    Grotesque Body Reply:

    “That’s why I’ve been saying for a while that alt right needs to find a way to make businesses which are robust to this failure mode.”

    Natural resources?

    Nobody cares whether the CEO of the company they buy oil/petrol/gas from is a white-skinned heterosexual racial realist shitlord, they just care about how efficient and cheap the product is.


    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    Actually, I think they do – or could be made – to care about such things.

    “Fair trade petrol”. “Justice gas”. It could happen!

    But seriously, I work in oil and gas right now, and you will be hard pressed to find a more PC corporate environment than, say, Chevron or Shell. These large multinational energy companies are all in on the rainbow flag and female boardroom quotas. The corporate intranet of the supermajor that I work for is so full of poz that it’s actually parodic. LGBT networks within the company post articles, receive corporate funding for their events, and etc. If I were to post a single critical comment under a single intranet news item about one of these groups, no matter how moderately worded, I would fired before end of business the same day.

    This isn’t just about the political views of the higher-ups (though it is about that). It’s also about legal liability. It is defacto illegal in this country to be an employer or manager of people while holding negative views about a protected group. Evidence of such views could be used in a court of law against you or the company you work for in a severely damaging tort case. But that is a different failure mode.

    Grotesque Body Reply:

    That’s quite disheartening to hear. I have a relative who is in the mining industry and would have expected based on his no-nonsense demeanour and the culture he lives in that it would be fairly impermeable to SJWism.

    If what you say is true, then I suspect the problem is industry-independent – all economic sectors are susceptible to being co-opted by rainbow agendas, and those that initially aren’t (as with, say, Chevron or Shell in better times past) will become saliently ‘problematic’ to SJWs, who will then concentrate their behaviour in trying to bring it to heel (I think this is what happened with tech and programming, and the military, but those more familiar with these areas than myself might have a more nuanced account).

    If, as the case may be, there’s no particular industry in which one can make ‘businesses which are robust to this failure mode’, a goal that you correctly identify as crucial but which might in fact be unachievable, then how do high-IQ politically incorrect males avoid being subordinated to Cathedralist HR manager types?

    If no niche sector is inherently safe, the answer might be to go in the opposite direction, drawing on the exposition of anti-loyalty here:

    The alt-right (as much as I’m aware it’s excoriated by our host) then might maximise its survival not by clustering in any particular sector (although this is an idealisation; alt-righty types in fact can be expected to tend towards trades and STEM for obvious reasons) but by maximising domain independence, securing the ability to ‘vote with their feet’ and abandon pozzed organisations for those that are relatively less pozzed, might thereby outmaneuver top-down progressivism, which vitally depends upon the loyalty factor in imposing its policies. Maximal possibility of Exit renders Voice impotent, or at least knocks it off its perch?

    I suspect it is in some way naive to believe this can be put into practice without retaliation from the Cathedral, but this still seems to me a better stratagem than trying to find a special sector that is not vulnerable to progressivism, which looks like a Quixotic task if not even energy and natural resources is safe.

    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    At the grunt level, out in the fields, I suppose there is little poz. But in the corporate culture, including R&D where I work, the poz is strong.

    One form of company that is resistant to poz are small private companies with a total employee count well below the Dunbar limit. Then individual personalities in key roles of authority can affect corporate culture. It’s only the systemization of culture that drives towards PC conformity.

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    @Kwisatz Haderach

    In the olden days, if, say, England went to war against France, the English government might issue “Letters of Marque and Reprisal”, authorizing private citizens to outfit warships and make war against French shipping.

    The US government does essentially the same thing, except (1) it is making war against its own citizens, (2) the war is fought in civil courts instead of on the high seas, and (3) instead of calling them Letters of Marque, we call it “civil rights legislation”. Oh, and (4) there is an additional degree of indirection, in that the attacks are directed against employers as proxies instead of directly against the target population.

    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:


    That’s a fascinating way to conceptualize it. And speaking of privateering – there was a business model robust to PC.

    Posted on February 24th, 2016 at 1:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • fek Says:

    i had to make a meme of it


    Posted on February 26th, 2016 at 8:02 am Reply | Quote
  • noitsbecky Says:

    The only way to fight evil would be to make the cost of evil too high.


    SVErshov Reply:

    or burn it to the ground, then burn ground, and then burn burners and then … wait a minute it seems endless or at least recycling itself


    Posted on February 26th, 2016 at 12:57 pm Reply | Quote
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