So Much for Free Speech on Facebook!

Today, when I signed in to my Gmail account after having signed out, earlier, something I rarely do, Gmail sent me to a page where it asked me for my phone number to enable more security for my account. I’d like to provide the exact wording of the request but I’ve failed to replicate the process, even though I’ve tried several times. In any case, I’d declined and skipped directly to my email.

Later, still annoyed by Gmail’s asking to me to provide my telephone number, I posted the following on Facebook:

Funny how venues like Google, Facebook, etc. will sometimes ask for more information from you in order to ensure the security of your information.
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Fyodor Dostoevsky predicts social media / in The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

“Oh, we love to live among people and to inform these people at once of everything, even our most infernal and dangerous ideas; we like sharing with people, and, who knows why, we demand immediately, on the spot, that these people respond to us at once with the fullest sympathy, enter into all our cares and concerns, nod in agreement with us, and never cross our humor.”

wittgenstein, emoticons, & the death of email

yesterday, i was schooled by my friend austin choi-fitzpatrick. apparently, email is dead. email is “so 2006.” according to choi-fitzpatrick (wtf? i’m citing him like he’s the fucking scholar he is), email had it’s heyday from 1996-2006. now, email is a dead form. for him, email is only his inbox: subject headings, nothing more. for him, it’s all about facebook, text messaging, etc. we, as humans, reduced to 140 characters or less as our mode of communication.

this morning, i read wittgenstein’s notes & lectures on aesthetics, psychology, & religion. wittgenstein argues that language is not universal; however, physical reactions are. he talks, at length, about the inadequacy of words such as “beautiful” or “lovely,” that “beautiful” comes to represent not what is beautiful but an interjection. he argues:

would it matter if instead of saying ‘this is lovely,’ i just said, ‘ah!’ & smiled, or just rubbed my stomach? as far as these primitive languages go, problems about what these words are about, what their real subject is, don’t come up at all.

whereas i get wittgenstein’s point–words like beautiful or lovely are at times empty, they come to mean much less than what we mean them to mean–i don’t think we could simply substitute a grunt or a physical action. and i agree that words like “beautiful” never conjure up the same thing to any two people, that does not make the word itself–or words in general–obsolete. after all, facial expressions, gestures, etc. can be just as misleading, if not more so, than words.

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