freedom and control in social media

From Deleuze via Glen Fuller:

“Control is not discipline. You do not confine people with a highway. But by making highways, you multiply the means of control. I am not saying this is the only aim of highways, but people can travel infinitely and ‘freely’ without being confined while being perfectly controlled. That is our future.” — Gilles Deleuze, Two Regimes of Madness, pg 322

(Yes, I have finally and for the first time in my life reproduced a Deleuzian quotation longer than the word ‘assemblage’)

From a longer post by ideant that is well worth your time:

This is the paradox of social media that has been bothering me lately: an ’empowering’ media that provides increased opportunities for communication, education and online participation, but which at the same time further isolates individuals and aggregates them into masses —more prone to control, and by extension more prone to discipline.

And a sneak peek from something much more prosaic that I said in a conversation with Georgina Born last month, which will be published soon in a new initiative of M/C called ‘M/C Dialogues’:

So there’s a sense that at the design end you’re creating an open, configurable system that the users will come along and do anything they like with, but on the other hand, that ‘anything’ seems to be taking quite a similar shape over and over again.

Kind of obvious, but worth unpacking in the light of ‘control after decentralization’, as Galloway puts it.

5 thoughts to “freedom and control in social media”

  1. In Deleuze when you can no more control the world by stopping/slowing it you have to control directions. The couple of modern control seems to be speed/direction. Nice works from Virilio on this.

  2. I know what you mean about citing Deleuze. My dissertation relies heavily on his work, and I find myself struggling to find “useful” quotes, and instead relying on a lot of the secondary literature. I was just reading a similar critique of Deleuze over at Larval Subjects (see 10th paragraph, starting with “Finally, any analysis of this concept should be based on close textual reading…”). I disagree with Sinthome, and I find Deleuze a very rich territory to ‘deterritorialize’ in all sorts of directions… but he is certainly hard to quote!

    Thanks for the link to my post. I have subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading more of your work.

  3. That really is a kick-ass quote. The minute I read it on Glen’s blog, I knew I would reappropriate it for my current mini-chapter on Deus Ex. I think it perfectly encapsulates the ‘constrained freedom’ the player feels in a game that leaves her a lot of choices, but ultimately leaves her no chance but to play along …

  4. I also just saw that Alexander Galloway uses that quote in his new book “Gaming. Essays on Algorithmic Culture.” Funny how all of a sudden it pops up everywhere.

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