Silence, delirium, lies?

Caroline Bassett


One way to undermine social media monopolies is to refuse to contribute to the communicational economy they are based upon: don’t generate exploitable signals, stay quiet — and ask how this might be developed as a common response. Given the naturalized assumption that ‘more communication’ will automatically produce ‘more freedom’, suggestions, like this one, that are based on doing less of it might provoke hostility. However, in the case of the social media industries, communication is cultivated not in the interests of freedom, but in the interests of growth; social media wants to capture more of you through your transactions. Moreover, through this process communications are not made ‘more free’ but tend rather to become less open — certainly in the sense that they are commoditized. With this in mind, this paper asks if a media politics might be generated based on the potentials of silence, on speaking in tongues — and on relying on the resources of metaphorical language rather than on learning to speak or write in ways more amenable to code.

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