Sunday, March 3, 2019

Gossip Is More Than Just a Good Idea

Gossip is a very dangerous tool. We should be more wary of the gossiper and not the gossip they're trying to relay to you. - John Lydon

The propensity for a huge range of members of society to gossip opened up conduits between the lowliest and the mightiest, the weakest and the most powerful.
 - Fiona McHardy, "Gossip was a powerful tool for the powerless in Ancient Greece"

gossip, n. 2. light, familiar talk or writing

Gossip sucks, mostly. It's purpose is to spread rumors about people who are not present, and is frequently used to hide your own dirty laundry behind someone else's.

But as a social media concept, it's amazing.

Most social media platforms allow you to access anything and everything. You can find people that you have no connection to, stalk them, harass them, bully them, and there's little they can do about it (blocking, sure, but setting up a fresh account is a two-minute job at worst, so getting around blocks is literally child's play).

If you're a burner, you might be called a tourist for this sort  of behavior, which is one of the gravest insults in that culture.

But a social media platform run on gossip is a different matter.

Gossip means that you can only share information with people you know. and they can only share information with people they know. It creates, by necessity if not by design, a decentralized network of people. There's no master list where you can search for people. If you want to get to know someone new, you either have to be introduced by someone who knows you both, or join a club.

Clubs are typically topic-specific, at least in the material world. You go to join to meet people who suit a certain set of criteria, have a common interest. Social media clubs are no different, but on recently-minted social media networks, that common interest can be as broad as wanting to meet more people.

scuttlebutt: n. 1. Nautical b. a drinking fountain for use by the crew of a vessel

The "old water cooler" is the typical place to spread gossip, if you were a 1990s office worker in the US. It was so common it has literally become cliche. That location-specific means of sharing rumor has largely faded with the changes in work culture, but the concept remains in our sitcom culture.

If you've followed any ham radio forums or participated in the culture itself, the connections they make with people are largely driven by two properties: connecting with friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, so on and so forth; and shouting out into the silence and the void and hoping someone who cares hears your cry.

The former is once again a social platform built on the concept of gossip, and the latter is little different from "joining" a club, reaching out into the pool of people who can hear you, and hoping someone out there is interested in answering you back.

I talked about this back in January.

Scuttlebutt is more than just a ship's water cooler. It's also a social media platform, one I've been a member of for a few months now, and some of my words have been interesting enough that they've been gossiped about and repeated through the channels. It's my Wiggin Effect all over again (and the reason I released an update to the post). I've stopped feeling like an imposter, and started feeling like people are actually listening; I've stopped feeling like a tourist, and started actually making connections with people. And they're not just listening, they're participating with me in my discussions.

This is what I long hoped for with my blog, but never came to fruition. And if you've been reading my posts as of late, you've seen that I'm mirroring (not just hotlinking) my blog over in the "Scuttleverse."

That doesn't mean that one day I might leave this platform and domain (though I might have to anyway, what with Google's habit of shutting down services), but I feel less conflicted about closing down the commenting option. The discussions I've tried to start, whether in reply or defiance to my claims or questions, or merely friendly banter, are happening... somewhere else.

They're happening on Scuttlebutt.

And that's one more reason I want you to join me.

Mirrored on
Mirrored on Scuttlebutt
ref: %tYDhppQ9zOM2xp4DojdGcfpk1TB/uceyVE3wrxFn6hg=.sha256
You can find all my posts mirrored on my tumblr, which has hardly any activity but serves as a backup in case the Blogger platform does go belly up without warning.

You can find my most recent posts mirrored on Pillowfort, which currently requires an account to view, though there is a guest account available on the log-in page.

You can find my most recent posts mirrored on Scuttlebutt, which requires downloading appropriate software, I recommend Manyverse on Android or Patchwork on PCs. Then you have to join a pub that I'm a member of ( or organic design), and then you can find my posts under the #dreamclassier tag. (I know that sounds really complicated, but it's how the system is designed to work, by gossip.)

Generate enough interest, and I will host my own pub. I already want to, there just isn't enough interest yet for it to be worth the effort and the money. I spend enough time talking to myself as it is.