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smartly defining one’s medial sphere

gary e. davis
May 19, 2018
This is § e of “3: Fake views exploit the appeal of valid drama.”

Dear teen whom I admire and enjoy...

Maybe being attentive about what’s “pushed” your way and what you choose is easy—or seems so. Inasmuch as you’ve most always been attentive about things, then being casual about new stuff isn’t much risk of being misled. We can un“Like” and un“Follow” what’s unreliable—though, for many persons, so many sources have been tagged that cleaning up one’s sphere of inputs can be incredibly boring.

But what about all those “Friends” you really don’t know? Who is really a friend, such that they know not to share and retweet junk? They know what’s likely genuine, what’s likely valuable, and what’s likely true? Right.

Good communication is the key to the garden of happy friendship.

Yet, imagine that everyone who has “Friended” you wants to actually spend time with you: walking regularly, something to eat, a cappuccino, whatever; and you intended to make time with every one of them. Who would have time for one’s own life? In fact, good friends don’t need lots of friends. Being well is not about quantity of connections that can be claimed.

Maybe many “Friends” should be told something like: “Though I’m glad we’re connected, I need to limit my news feed. So, I hope it’s OK if I can’t keep up with all the good things you want to share. And thanks for not sharing junk.” In other words, you’re having their “shares” hidden because they’re frivolous or too casual about what’s interesting. If there’s a really important issue to share and pursue, a true friend can send a private message, and you can unhide their “shares” on your news feed for awhie.

And: “Sorry, I’m not a ‘Follow’er. But I’m glad we’re connected.” If it’s important to them that you Follow, they can take time to say that.

But who’s “really” a friend, who’s not, gets complicated. Limit your connections to intimates, family, and real friends? Don’t include persons with whom you share just a few interests (having solidarity with their times)? Don’t include just anyone who’s crossed your path or will cross your path, and whom you’d be embarrassed to face by not agreeing to their “Friend” request?

Is that what it’s all about? Embarrassment?

Get over it.

Besides, not having time for acquaintances in actual life isn’t undone by phony “Friend”ing.

Dear adult person, we know “I’m my life, beyond you, before you...”

So, to and for each of us, that’s admirable. As mere acquaintances, of course. In solidarity, re: an issue, a project, a time, we are just that—merely and rightly. In friendship, there’s good appreciation of the difference between (1) each with and for the other; and (2) each going her, his own way. It’s obvious that an interpersonal relationship can be a vital part of one’s life without yet being deep friendship (or not about to become that). Wonderful, that we have what we’ve made. Even in deep friendship—especially here—the difference between “us” and one’s separate self is good—is beautiful, because that entertains us, enriches us, renews us.

Likewise with texts, to a degree, because we want Meaning. We want to be appreciated, like a poem or drama reaches out to us, even reaching into us, intending us. “I am here for you”—for you, because it shows itself, it speaks to you, because you personify its appeal as belonging here.

Philologically, the difference between phenomenal (“surface structure”) presence and implicature (personification, “deep structure”) is in play. Reading (or witnessing) instills an interpersonal relationship, just as one does by speaking (“illocutionary aspect”), which has a speaker, presumed of texts, too. The text speaks. Receptiveness initiates an interpersonal relationship (pretended by a reader/listener/viewer) that implies a personal{self] difference (presentation{author]) analogous to one’s own [self}personal difference, i.e., being a life distinct from the world of a given relationship.

feeling you are with me: dramatic appeal for one self

Market solicitation plays into that self/[inter]personal difference: making appeals that can feel to reach beyond one’s online persona (or beyond customer presence) to one’s self. We want to be touched by the moment. We want our attention to be held by the drama. As if the difference dissolves, and one’s self can trust being genuinely received.

Unfortunately, playing into that is common marketing. “We are here for you.” Maybe, probably not—and usually for only as long as the sale isn’t yet made (or the warranty asserts producer liability; or the law requires persistence of pretense in explicit terms of behavioral expectations).

In responding by one’s own initiative to something that is appealing apart from any solicitation, that something mirrors one’s emotional valuing. Feeling is emotional valuing. Value in the appeal shows as emotion evinced.

So, potentially questioning the value of something is implied just by its evincing emotion. For persons, there is no emotion without value (which is probably true for all animals, each in its own way. But inarticulate animals can’t articulate value and differentiate it from emotion—can’t choose values apart from feeling appeal “of” something—or aversion).

A living fact of feeling implies a value claim about its emotion. Is the feeling due to self-chosen value? Or is the value chosen by the other? Trusted other? Fine. Authoritative other? Fine.

Yet active reception and passive reception are worlds apart. One can “own” the feeling. One can enown feeling through attentiveness about value, searching for decided value, preferring deliberately.

“Desirability bias” (being inclined to accept information that pleases) can be annuled through enowning your values, integrity, and identity—enowning the Project that is your life, made of so many projects, challenges, endeavors, and tasks. The Project-ivity of one’s life can prevail over emotion in terms of all the little preferences that make a day. One can prefer feelings; and manage emotion accordingly through selecting what’s worth one’s limited time—graciously, if that’s relevant.

Whom do you think I am?”

It pertains to texts just as it pertains to interpersonal relations.

A bizarre aspect of the early Internet was the innocent use of avatars in online interaction, because anonymity was a protection of privacy, that allowed for control of personal consequences. But the phenomenon models the emergence of its reverse by Big Data: One gains an online persona that likely has little relation to one’s worthwhile life, which is derived by the aggregate of one’s action, relative to a given membership (or IP address—across memberships).

Inasmuch as one’s activity—online, with “friends”—has been frivolous or casual—or attentive or deliberative—avaricious marketers (like “needy” friends) know your derived avatar (or style with “friends”) as what you’ve unwittingly “written.”

Never in the evolution of humanity has there been such a thing as an identity defined by the gods who consider their databases of personas to be proprietary; and chase you across vast stretches of virtual territory for the sake of being “here for you.”

The currency of The Game is postures of reliability. Simulating reliable accuracy (or product) through the professional posture (“Frame”) is the medium (“medium is the message,” i.e., medium as self-legitimizing Frame) of normal business—for reliable, good business, too. Duplicitous business needs reliable business to associate itself with; and to mimic. High end marketing takes no prisoners (and has sharp legal consultation to keep things cool).

An antidote to fakery by media sources—as well as by “friends”—is mature capability to expect genuine accountability. We know which media are reputable. (We know what true friends are.) New media must prove themselves, relative to normal journalistic editorial standards, just as new “friends” prove over time, in terms of stable values (genuineness, ethicality, reliability) that your scarce free time is well spent with them.

Relative to online media (dropping the analogy of “friends”), astute attention to news and views values fact checking of a given story (or product) from a questionably reliable, questionably ethical medium.

Google News (or the like) groups several versions of an emergence in one spot. Am I going to read the version from Reuters or a source I’ve never or seldom heard of? It’s troublesome to take time to compare sources or chase down facts (e.g., FactCheck, Snopes, PolitiFact, Consumers Union, Better Business Bureau, etc., etc.). But often, good sources make mistakes; and deserve to hear about it publicly (e.g., through their Facebook or Twitter pages). Unwitting conveyance of junk is going to happen, like bad hair days. Good media value consumers being astute about the difference between phony use of “fake news” valuation (to deflect from genuine news’s implications—hell-oo, Trumpland) versus a medium’s genuine interest in discerning fake news.

Indeed, spreading viral truth against fakery channels noble power. Maybe I’m being a little excessive here, but—for what it’s worth—statistical research shows that

“Users who share accurate information have more followers... than fake-news sharers. These fact-guided users [are] also...more likely to be verified. In short, the most trustworthy users can boast every obvious structural advantage that Twitter, either as a company or a community, can bestow on its best users...” (source B).

The Good of the Order never gets enough Good* reason for confidence about choices, never too much attentiveness, never enough deliberate care. Good thinking remedies “selective exposure” (preferring information that confirms preexisting attitudes) and “confirmation bias” (viewing information consistent with preexisting beliefs as more persuasive than dissonant information). [*I have a sense of goodness that warrants capitalization.]

If one has a good sense of others’ genuineness (in life, then facing online media) and gives astute attention to what truly matters, one can thereby validly feel “I am good reason to stand for whom I am.”

Next: Section 3f: “systemic disabling of fake views

    Be fair. © 2018, g. e. davis