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The Information Superhighway


Johann Hari's recent Independent article on the economic situation in the UK has been garnering a lot of attention via Twitter. However, this recent change to the Strategic Defence and Security Review, an article published by a traditionally conservative newspaper, is slightly more important in my opinion. I suppose, much like the CCTV culture we live in, it'll be accepted and allowed to be implemented with little protest.


Years ago I set up a Twitter account, mainly because I knew it could interface with a web page - the idea of being able to update information on this or any other web page from a mobile telephone was hugely tempting. As it is I also used my phone to download this web to a PC, and will upload it via the phone as well. However, the richness of twitter means that information regarding what's happening around us is available almost immediately. As well as being able to send text messages to people in far away places for nothing (if you're on the net) or very little (if you're not), it provides a portal for information that the user can customise in much the same way we hoped portals would work back in the last century.

Back then I thought that I could use this page as a portal to everything I'd access on the web. If that were the case there'd be things like permalinks and little nav bars down the side pointing to the most recent flavour of the month - and I'd be using wordpress, most likely. But I don't want to give any more money than necessary to my hosting service, and so I'll do without the SQL backend that would make that possible. Thinking about it, there'd be only two links that would have remained since the turn of the century - the BBC News site and Fark.


For me to realise that most conservative thinkers seem to be very scared. In the last couple of years I've witnessed a lot more flame wars as the number of public forums has increased. And I'm not just talking about Fark. Fark now uses a political analysis tool in each vaguely political thread, which beautifully fails to take sarcasm into account. I didn't see the correlation when I used Usenet - I think the cohesion offered by a topic that everyone is interested in meant that the only trolls would come via crossposting. However I recently supported a piece of independent work by a chap called Mitch Benn on YouTube. The piece was about the BBC, a resource that I've used since I was a child, and so while the flames about the Beeb's lack of independence and crap recent programming were to be expected, the 1980s throwbacks of Daily Mail quotes about the BBC culture of support for socialism and communism were a little surprising. Obviously the writers of those comments were attempting to wind up other posters, but the fear of a socialism that these writers were showing was amusing, and reminded me of Hunter S. Thompson's FEAR - something that pervades you the more you imagine it.

I think I also assumed that these people writing were worried that Britain would end up like North Korea or China. My pity came from thinking that we're closer to Cuba than either of those two, and that if they had any knowledge of media manipulation we're edging closer to Italy's surreal Berlusconi-ism. I'd also like to think that rather than having a go at people expressing their opinion, they'd take their concerns to the BBC Trust which is there to prevent non-partisan shifts by the beeb. But then, I guess trolls are so virtual that the idea of contacting a real world institution would be like them crawling out from underneath the bridge when there's no food on offer.


This is the (valid!) web page of David Santorum and Nuisance Graphics / Fresh Cant Designs in the year of 2010.