Saturday, 10 November 2012

Social killed Semantic

The meme killed the fact. The web will not only tell you what ever you want to know, but the social web will tell you what ever you want to hear.
The meme killed the fact 

A great deal of the early hype around the Internet saw the web as a information distribution network.  That the web would provide accurate information to people anywhere in the world.  This viewed the internet's positive economic and social benefit in reducing educational costs, informing consumers and promoting innovation.

This view stressed the need to define the web as a system of semantic statements.  It aimed to create things like triple stores that would contain the information held by the web.  That is it would extract the truth in the web.

But the meme killed the fact.  

Meme's don't need to be true and memes that contradict can co-exist.  The social Internet is a bucket of memes and not a collection of theorems.  Unlike facts memes can contradict each other.  Meme's invite but to not demand. They even plead and pander.

Today every fact that can be imagined, every world that can be wanted, can be found as a meme on the web.  What ever you want to be true there is probably already a hashtag on twitter.  There is a community full of people who hold the it is true.  There are blogs and groups on Facebook that will convince you that what you want to be true is true, which is not hard to do.

This explains the webs relatively poor ability to see the outcome of the 2012 election.  People were getting trapped in the bubbles constructed of memes they liked and excluding memes they don't like.  Through Facebook, Twitter and blogs people got a filtered view of the world that confirmed to their world view.  For Republicans this meant the world was full of highly energetic Romney supporters who would hand the GOP a historic victory.  The election came as a strange moment of reality principle crashing in the vast fantasy that the web has become.

That is why democracy is so critical now.  Post-modernism is wrong, deeply wrong.  Science, democracy and law are now not nullified by the flood of media narratives, they are more important now than ever.  We need rational, universal discourses to prevent our culture from collapsing in to the chaotic foam of bubbles that the Internet by itself would degenerate into. 

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