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Chris Poole on self expression online
October 18, 2011 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Google and Facebook would have you believe that you're a mirror, that there is one reflection that you have, this one idea of self. [They believe] that what you see in that mirror is what everybody else sees. But in fact we're more like diamonds, you can look at people from any angle and see something totally different. - Chris Poole, AKA Moot, founder of 4Chan and Canvas, from his speech at the Web 2.0 Summit on self-expression through social networking.

Canvas is a SFW web community with a remix feature that lets you play with images without firing up Photoshop. Note: it requires a Facebook account to sign up.

It will be dangerous, take this with you!

Also, the video says that Poole is the founder of about.me, but I don't think that's true.
posted by The Devil Tesla (53 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Canvas is a SFW web community

Until he hits the LULZ switch on the backend and every picture turns into goatse or helicopter.
posted by kmz at 2:41 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


actually here on mefi we're more like snowflakes
posted by nathancaswell at 2:43 PM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


It is so odd that the founder of a board devoted to Lollis, hentai, racism and pictures of distended orifices is speaking more sense about privacy on the internet than the founders of real powers like Facebook, Google and so on.

Historians of the future are going to have problems with this. How is Jason Scott going to archive it ?
posted by sien at 2:58 PM on October 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


Comment from Youtube: "Is that Sigourney Weaver?".

I admit it: I schnorked.
posted by everichon at 3:05 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's even odder that, after all that, he still requires a Facebook account to sign-up for Canvas.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:06 PM on October 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


I liked this. Dude is a good speaker.
posted by silby at 3:11 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


At last, social networking catches up with poststructuralist continental psychoanalitic theory. This is straight out of Deleuze & Guattari. The new approach should be built on a thousand platforms, and named Visage/libr(e).
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:13 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


You mean like Diaspora?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:17 PM on October 18, 2011


Not me. I try to change when I switch networks but I end up the same.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:19 PM on October 18, 2011


How is Jason Scott going to archive it ?

I am not the only archivist!
posted by jscott at 3:37 PM on October 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Privacy is a huge concern, and I think moot has the right idea. I wont even touch facebook, and I have no idea why I have google + profile.

Yet I am concerned with privacy issues with google, as I lock down everything to minimal needs on my android, I use other search engines at times, and utilize proxies just to breakup the stream of information I constally use.

I fear the day that the internet becomes like driving a car, needing ID. Yet I am always amazed at the ingenuity of people to get around such hurdles.
posted by handbanana at 3:42 PM on October 18, 2011


Google and Facebook would have you believe that you're a mirror, that there is one reflection that you have, this one idea of self. [They believe] that what you see in that mirror is what everybody else sees.

"google" and "facebook" are not things that "believe."

The entire argument is based on a giant straw man.

Let me rephrase so he gets it right: Some people might be encouraged to think of you as only what you present on social networking sites.

That's not the same thing as the damn boards of google and facebook sitting around going "why there's only one way to think of people and that's the way we present it."

People get what they want out of social networking sites. That's fine. The idea that somehow these companies "think" things about us is laughable. You cay decry the social effects of these sites. That's fine. But you can't say that "companies" want us to do anything.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:43 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sorta believe in the opposite of privacy. I want to project my personality as widely as possible to find like minded people.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:45 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: I am not the only archivist!
posted by feckless at 3:46 PM on October 18, 2011


But you can't say that "companies" want us to do anything.

Their services are set up in such a way as to enforce a certain theory of identity. To the extent that those services are near-ubiquitous, sure, you can absolutely say that they "want" us to do something.
posted by downing street memo at 3:47 PM on October 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think Moot is a pretty cool guy. eh supports freedom of expresion and thought and doesn't afraid of anything.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:49 PM on October 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


Ironmouth: companies can, and sometimes do, have dominant ideologies. Facebook, around this issue, clearly does. You can see this in public statements like this NY Times editorial. Zuck has made similar statements. Friends of mine who work there, as far as I know, also agree. Obviously each and every employee does not necessarily buy into exactly the same set of beliefs, but Facebook as a corporate entity, and the key decision-makers within it, believe very strongly in one "real" identity. Anonymity is seen with suspicion at best. Their product decisions reflect this. As far as I can tell these are genuine beliefs & not cynical, although obviously corporate interest plays a strong role.

Google is a different matter -- it's pretty clear that there is internal disagreement, to say the least, on identity issues.
posted by feckless at 3:54 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


in fact we're more like diamonds

Expect more mining in the future. It will be secretive and questionably legal.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:55 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


in fact we're more like diamonds

Boy, you can tell he's Gen-Y, can't you?
posted by entropicamericana at 3:57 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree. Some of us are warchildren and others have polar bears on our butts.
posted by bonehead at 3:57 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Boy, you can tell he's Gen-Y, can't you?

Maybe in that comment, but his postmodern-ish attitude toward identity strikes me as surprisingly Gen-X.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 4:03 PM on October 18, 2011


How is Jason Scott going to archive it ?

I am not the only archivist!
posted by jscott at 3:37 PM on October 18

I think at this point, good sir, you've very nearly become the commodity/verb junction that has or will soon come to mean one and the same (like Frisbee® or Kleenex®). As in:

Yes, but how is Jason Scott® going to archive it ?

and then: Yes, but what of the Jason Scott®?

before finally just: Great Scott®!
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:07 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


But are we like Sybil?
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:09 PM on October 18, 2011


But are we like Sybil?

Eponysterical?
posted by Oxydude at 4:13 PM on October 18, 2011


Only eponysterical if you're my mom.

So,uh, hi mom?
posted by item at 4:22 PM on October 18, 2011


Google and Facebook would have you believe that you're a mirror

Meanwhile, MySpace would have you believe that you're a tiny speck of lint in a swirling vortex of internet failure.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:24 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, MySpace would have you believe that you're a tiny speck of lint in a swirling vortex of internet failure.

MySpace made me feel awesome. My MySpace blogs are tales of girls and bands and all that fun stuffl
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:28 PM on October 18, 2011


MySpace made me feel awesome
my blog told of bands and of girls
they all said "THANX 4 THE ADD!!!!!!"
like a banner of awesome unfurls
advertisements, they danced all around me
and those sparkly GIFs, animated
but then it all ground to a miserable halt
and my LOL soul...?

decimated.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:49 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Obviously each and every employee does not necessarily buy into exactly the same set of beliefs, but Facebook as a corporate entity, and the key decision-makers within it, believe very strongly in one "real" identity.

A single Op-Ed about trolling does not a corporate culture make.

Let's get real. This dude is projecting an entire value system onto other companies so he can get you to use his product.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:01 PM on October 18, 2011


I'll never badmouth 4chan again. I'm impressed by his comment about hacker cons using handles because it's the name they chose for themselves rather than the name their parents gave them, which strikes me as highly illuminating.

We should not need this discussion of anonymity online as a protective measure. Instead, humans should simply reinitialize their identity whenever necessary, vaguely like taking a new name upon coming of age.

There would obviously be police who tracked back through people's aliases, much as they've always done, but all our social services should also support name change more fundamentally.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:08 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is so odd that the founder of a board devoted to Lollis, hentai, racism and pictures of distended orifices is speaking more sense about privacy on the internet than the founders of real powers like Facebook, Google and so on.
Is it? If you think about it makes perfict sense. Moot's bussiness model relies on internet anonymity. What would 4chan be like if everyone had to use their real name? (In fact, Korea actually has laws like this, that real names are required on all message board posts).

Also, Google+ is actually built around the idea that you can have different 'presentations of self' for different people, but it doesn't work nearly as well as being able to use psudonyms.
People get what they want out of social networking sites. That's fine. The idea that somehow these companies "think" things about us is laughable. You cay decry the social effects of these sites. That's fine. But you can't say that "companies" want us to do anything.
Well, google is made up of people and they have thoughts. Likely, they want the real name so they can use it as a database key to keep track of everyone. It has nothing to do with ideology, it's all about marketing. On the other hand, as other people have mentioned, Zuckerburg seems to have an ideology he wants to cram down everyone's throat. Whether that's true or if it's just an excuse for their datamining is impossible to know.
posted by delmoi at 5:25 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


the hypothesis of the self is beginning to crack
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:34 PM on October 18, 2011


the hypothesis of the self is beginning to crack

Siddhartha Gautama pretty much nailed it 2600 years ago, actually.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:37 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought it was interesting how the video's description doesn't mention 4chan at all.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:46 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


A single Op-Ed about trolling does not a corporate culture make.

All you have to do is look at these corporations responses when they find a user that is not using their legal name to understand that this is exactly the case.
posted by inparticularity at 7:39 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


About.me is an AOL thing
posted by infini at 10:49 PM on October 18, 2011


He pretty much articulated why I actively use Twitter and have all but abandoned my fb account. Twitter resides at this really unique intersection of person/persona. I'm me, but a different (larger?) version of me. It seems like a way better medium to explore expression than fb, which burdens your identity with all kinds of noise.
posted by quadog at 11:28 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


A single Op-Ed about trolling does not a corporate culture make.

But policy is policy, and facebook's policy is single identity. We can quibble about teleology, but I think that the phrase "facebook wants you to have a single identity" is clear and pretty damn near indisputable. It's their policy.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:16 AM on October 19, 2011


gimme the mic cause i’m taking my life
in an unexpected new direction
i could care less about your breasts
or that your daddy never gave you very much attention
i’m the same as i used to be but i’m
doing my best to make a good impression
i don’t wanna go on but i don’t wanna belong
in this condition

did you know that i’m your biggest fan
i just wanna thank you for the add
can i introduce you to my dad
posted by LogicalDash at 4:39 AM on October 19, 2011


Perhaps 4chan users could start using pseudonyms for their victims when they googlebomb people, issue death threats and attempt to ruin lives and reputations in other ways.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 5:09 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or they could find a way to automate all of those things so they can do them more often.
posted by Peztopiary at 5:26 AM on October 19, 2011


Ironmouth:

Zuckerberg,
“You have one identity ... The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly ... Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

Ummm, I don't know how else you can parse that, and Zuckerberg has a lot of sway on the company.
posted by codacorolla at 8:33 AM on October 19, 2011


I don't know if he's the one to coin the term, but "prismatic identity" is a perfect way to describe the mechanism for how privacy is a free speech issue.


I wish he hadn't said that we're like diamonds. It's just something that can be made fun of without actually addressing his point.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:49 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those of us who are not dependent on fb and G+ to publish have the option of having multiple identities. I consciously and openly keep at least three going, each with different views on the world and different concerns. Some of them even have fb or G+ sock puppets. Most people don't have the option though. Canvas isn't it, but moot might be right when he says there is a market niche there.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:09 AM on October 19, 2011


Regardless of Zuckerberg's opinion (I wonder if I'm older than his mother?) on what constitutes integrity (what a nasty underhanded trick imho) most of us cannot but help portray a different persona or identity to our families, our friends, our colleagues et al

While I don't do this as consciously as stonepharisee mentions above, I do find that I express myself differently based on the audience and of course the medium. To expect anything different would imply monolithic or one dimensional and simplistic personalities, which I imagine few of us possess, if we are as human as we claim to be.
posted by infini at 11:36 AM on October 19, 2011


Zuckerberg's opinion represents the strange modernist bent of many techie people with what is inherently a postmodern and decentered technology. I seriously don't understand it.
posted by codacorolla at 11:56 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I understand it. It's called money. It just happens to be the belief that makes money right now.
posted by spicynuts at 12:58 PM on October 19, 2011


That has to be part of it, but so much of this is true-believer stuff. I guess money is a powerful influence, but it might also have something to do with two roots of our modern technology: utopian-fix-society counter culture silicon valley of the 60s, and paranoid ideologically driven military industrial complex of the cold war.
posted by codacorolla at 2:00 PM on October 19, 2011


Google+ to Support Pseudonyms
Google+ will soon support pseudonyms and other forms of identity, says a Google executive.

During a conversation at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, SVP of Social Vic Gundotra revealed that Google will eventually support other forms of identity. While Google started with only allowing users to sign up if they used their real names, it will be adding features that will “support other forms of identity” in the next few months.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:16 PM on October 19, 2011


I understand it. It's called money. It just happens to be the belief that makes money right now.

From a corporate point of view, it's called having a single view of the customer. Instead of having a different customer key / identity for the various things you might do, the idea is to be able to relate it all back to the one single customer key. Considering that Zuckerberg's business model is apparently selling targeted advertising, it makes sense for him to want all your stuff lumped together under a single identity - it makes his value proposition to the advertisers that much more powerful.

I wish he hadn't said that we're like diamonds.

He means that we're multifaceted (you'd probably know that a facet is one of the cut sides of a diamond). It's a kind of metaphor for a metaphor; awkward & clunky.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:07 PM on October 19, 2011


The idea that somehow these companies "think" things about us is laughable.

To the large extent that corporations are like giant amoeba (with humans as corpuscles), the idea that they "think" is indeed laughable. The corpuscles have been borged, the hive rules, and they just expect everyone plays.

But, the idea that they have to either learn to think or be left behind in the dust like Ozymandius, that idea is not laughable. Successful corps eventually realize 'our way or the highway' is the laugh. They feed on us with our consent. Which is always retractable. Because life -not their theory of it- is multi-dimensional.
posted by Twang at 11:29 PM on October 19, 2011


But, the idea that they have to either learn to think or be left behind in the dust like Ozymandius, that idea is not laughable. Successful corps eventually realize 'our way or the highway' is the laugh. They feed on us with our consent. Which is always retractable. Because life -not their theory of it- is multi-dimensional.

Are you implying that there is life beyond how I present myself online and on Facebook? Than why do I record every aspect of my life on Facebook?


From a corporate point of view, it's called having a single view of the customer. Instead of having a different customer key / identity for the various things you might do, the idea is to be able to relate it all back to the one single customer key. Considering that Zuckerberg's business model is apparently selling targeted advertising, it makes sense for him to want all your stuff lumped together under a single identity - it makes his value proposition to the advertisers that much more powerful.


I dunno... I liked this idea even before I discovered Facebook. I liked having one big shining personality that was always there on the Internet, so if people wanted to find me they could.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:32 PM on October 19, 2011



From a corporate point of view, it's called having a single view of the customer.


in order to.......make money.
posted by spicynuts at 5:28 AM on October 20, 2011


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