Forged Factoids: Social Media, Social Software etc


Forged Factoids: Social Media, Social Software etc
Irfan erdogan, june 2019

Lets ask ourselves about the rights we have now that other people died for before; and rights some others are denied.
But nobody died for social media: It is the most functional mind and behavior management by-product of the capitalist war industrial complex.

What I kindly want from you students is this: Let’s question together by reflecting our thoughts on our own ideas and the daily organized life;… and participate by expressing your opinions.
Couple weeks ago, a journalist working for an alternative media called me for an interview. His concern was that lately the number of foreign blogs, web journals and journalists in Turkey are increased. He wants to get rid of them.
One of the main problem of media professionals (academics, intellectuals, politicians in Turkey and in Trump’s world) is this: they want freedom of speech for their own selves, but they cannot stand those who criticize them.

I will start with brief conceptual explanations of social, social software and social movement under the title of struggle over meaning. Then, I will talk about some important issues related with social software and social movements. While doing so, I will also provide brief explanations related with Turkey.


1.     Appropriation and struggle over meaning  

a.   Social: when the term “social” is used, it automatically excludes political, economic and cultural. Actually, social includes everything related with life in society. So, we cannot keep politics, economics and cultural out of social. In my speech, whenever I use social, please include everything in daily life.
     (show slide 3) His word about Obama indicates dirty politics in the USA.

b.   Software: It simply refers to the programs in computer mediated communication technology. It includes a set of instructions to operate technological gadgets and execute specific tasks. Software is a finished product and lets us interact with a device to perform tasks, access other devices, play games, and connect and communicate with others.     
 
(SHOW SLİDE 4) Nothing can be used without a software in social media.

(SHOW SLİDE 5) Now social software.
We put “Social” and “software” side by side, We get “social software”. At first glance, it looks meaningless and absurd to say “social software.” You can say “computer software or cell phone software or machine software.”
Concept of “social software” is a magical construct to create fantastic fancy image in a person’s mind.
Stupefying bedazzlement by impressive words that makes a person as if he/she is thinking and saying something magnificent. I call it, ignorance that fancies itself as knowing something that is most profound.  
  
Definitions of “social software” are related with the running and/or using internet hardware. Examples of social software include, for instance, instant messaging, email, internet forums, web blogs, chat rooms and the likes. Are they “softwares”? for instance, is “internet forum” a software?
“internet forum” is an organized platform. It has its organizer, its hardware, its software,  its participants, and goals of everyone involved in it..
None of the above means “software”. İnstant messaging, email and chatroom activities in cyberspace are not “social softwares”; they are communicative actions that are realized through internet. Furthermore, communicative action per se (such as sending and receiving messages, encoding and decoding, construction and deconstruction) is not communication. “Chat rooms” refers to organized space, not software.

To me, concept of “social software”, just like virtual reality and cyberspace, is cleverly forged to disguise the mechanisms of control that are applied through tools of promotion and marketing of material and immaterial products.
Mystical, magical, enchanted and fascinating concepts are used in mind, interest and behavior management, in order to create kind of ignorance that replaces the facts, reality, logic and knowledge.
Software, just like other commodities, is a social product that is appropriated by the private owners.

c.   Social media:

“Social media” is another cunningly forged and widely accepted concept. This concept breaks the rules of scientific categorization (just like the other ones); Social media is a subcategory of a conceptual unit. What is the name of the unit? What are the names of the other sub-categories beside social media? I donot know. ASK THEM!!

 Is it non-social media?
Are there sub-categories of a conceptual unit such as social media, cultural media, economic media and political media? Scientific category requires mutually exclusiveness that is based on a theoretical definition of a unit.
Let’s look at the next slide:

SLİDE 6:  talk about it! ASK….


Definitions of social media are mostly invalid, because excluded and included indicators mostly are based on invalid reasoning and invalid indicators. 

In fact, social media includes all kinds of media in human life, because you can exclude nothing from social if it is part of the human relations.

(SHOW SLİDE 7: Talk about it.  
Let’s look at the slide:
1.     Which one is not social media?
2.     It says “the evolution of communication” Is it the evolution of communication?

NEXT SLİDE 8: (Talk about it):

The department I worked was named as “Public Relations and Promotions Department”. What is wrong with it?
Then, problem is with conceptual level of scientific grouping.

NEXT SLİDE 9: Talk about it.


(SHOW NEXT SLİDE: 10: Talk about

(Talk about it): What makes a communication two or one way is not the mechanical flow of communication; it is the nature of the relationship of communication:

A boss says something and worker answers; worker ask something and boss answers. Perfect instant two-way flow that spells democracy, horizontal communication, dialog.
Right?
Wrong, because there is an organized power relations. Talking or conversing does not mean dialog.
    
(SHOW NEXT SLİDE: 11 and talk about slides….
Up till slide 20 (e. social movements)

Other forged factoids about social media:

·       Bottom-up and side-to-side communication, not just top-down information transmission.
·       Dialogue and conversation rather than monologue
·       Content is produced and used by produsers
·       No or few gatekeepers restricting access and flow

(SHOW NEXT SLİDES UP to slide 20   


d.        Social movements: (SHOW slide 20)

Social movements sound like an umbrella term that covers all kinds of movements. This is a misconception, because we live in a world of strategically forged and widely circulated products that play mind, interest and behavior management roles. That’s why, I learned that if a book like “Four theories of Press” or writers/scholars like MCQuail, Giddens, and Habermas are put in wide circulation all over the world, we should ask ourselves: “Why are they widely circulated? Let’s give an example in order to find the answer to this question: I am using Giddens as typical example.
Please pay attention to the way the social movements is framed:
(SHOW NEXT SLİDE 21) (defining social movements slide)
“Social movements are collective attempts to further a common interest through actions outside of established institutions.”

Let’s see the implications and outcomes of this kind of social movements:
They mostly cultivate wrong ideas and images.

a.     Concept of “collective attempts” in fact is not collective attempts of all or for all people, but collective attempts of a group.

b.     Concept of “Common interest” is not the common interest of general public, but common interest of a certain group.

c.     Concept of “furthering common interests outside of established institutions” means non-institutionalized activity in which some people voluntarily engage. It sounds like pluralistic and/or post-modern society or new social movement society.

This kind of conceptualisation has very functional implications and outcomes: because if a group wants to further its common interests thru action outside of established institutions, it means that their action is directed to other people or other groups. Namely, It means that this kind of social movements serve the ongoing dominant policy of “divide and set them against each other.” It is an effective supplementary policy to the policy of “hiring half of the working class in order to coerce and kill the other half, if necessary”.
Let’s continue: according to Giddens-like mind management propaganda, social movements operate primarily following areas in contemporary societies:

(SHOW NEXT SLİDE 22)

1.     Democratic movements:  democratic movements that work for political rights. (a) This kind of approach reduces social movements to democratic movements”; namely to the movements that are functional to the dominant system, or are legitimized or accepted as legitimate by the existing legal order. Then, if it is against Trump, it is Against America. Contrary to this kind of representation, social movements include any and every kind of movement.  (b) democratic movements are defined as movements that work for political rights”. This kind of definition, too, limits the political movements to “work for political rights”. Namely, others are either not worthy to mention, illegal, dangerous, disruptive, subversive or anti-democratic.)

2.     Labor movements: Labor movements that work for control of the workplace.  (This description of “labor movements” limits the struggle to the control of the workplace. It represents the labor movements that are functional to capitalist system and work for personal interest of the small ruling groups that run the labor unions. It is not a proper description of labor movements; rather, it is normalization and propaganda of labor unions such as the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Let give two examples how the idea of the control of the workplace works: I was kicked out of the job because we slowed down the assembly line when the management speeded up the assembly line from 40 units to 50 units a day, in a factory in West Lafayette, Indiana. Our union, CİO, did not do anything about it; but, few months later, sent us mail, threatening us that we should pay union dues. Other example: My AFL member union in NY helped my employer to fire me, because I organized the work place and unionized it, as a result, the vice president and few others in the union lost the kickbacks they used to get (it was one hundred dollars cash gift a year to the vise president). Here is another feature of this kind of Labor movements: According to the AFL union book, you cannot be a union member if you are a communist.

3.     Ecological movements: It is defined as “ecological movements that are concerned with the environment”. (Here the ecological movements are narrowed down to sole concern about environment.   

4.     Peace movements: that work toward peace. (here, the international problems are reduced to war;..and betterment of life on earth is reduced to peace movements. The rest is ignored or de-legitimized).   

5.     New social movements:  They are mostly based on extremely functional identity politics. Surely, not functional for me.
   

We like it or not, there were, are and will be micro, meso and macro level organized or unorganized reactions and movements. The problem is not the very existence of such movements. Problem starts with propagating the idea that defines and imprisons social movements within the confines of reactions that are functional to the culprit system. These kinds of concerns focus on problems at a symptoms level and recommend “aspirins” as solution. Aspirin deals with symptom, not with the causes of symptom; so, it not only perpetuates the system that creates problems and symptoms, but also, it helps the system to expand: Think of a spiral that extremely functional for legitimizing and expanding industrial practices. The same industries pollute the rivers and provide the technological means for water treatment plants.     

“Social” in social movements, misleads us and excludes especially political, confines the opposition within, for instance personal civil obedience and activities of non-governmental organizations. I do not consider some NGOs as the part of struggle for better human life on earth: They are mostly the functional structures for the prevailing order of domination and, if they are presented as some kind of alternative organizations, they generally represent the nicely forged alternatives that justify and promote the existing structure of relations.

(SHOW NEXT SLİDE 23)


2.     Social software and social movements
The title sets the frame: We will talk about social software and social movements within the framework of social software. It means that we will talk about  domination and struggle over internet and/or cyberspace in Turkey with specific reference to social software.
I am not going to reiterate a history of internet software and social movements in Turkey. We can find various versions of it in internet However it is necessary to provide a very brief evaluation:
We cannot talk about the development of internet software in Turkey, just like in most countries, because web/internet software are produced and controlled by certain countries. Who produces software for facebook, twitter, email, chat and the rest? Some large corporations. The dominant practices in production and control over software do not permit others beyond use of the software.       
Regarding social movements: Historical development of social movements in every country has a long and bloody past and it still continues. Turkey is not an exception.
if we start with Ottoman Empire, social movements have a long and violent history full of human sufferings. İf we start with Turkish republic, the establishment of the republic was the first important victory gained against Euroepan imperialist Powers right after the Soviet revolution. In mid 1960s, socialist/communist movement in Turkey, especially among students, picked up speed. In a few years, revolutionary labor union movement also gained strength. 1970s were the times of widespread struggle, including limited armed struggle in the large cities and some rural areas. In 1960s and 1970s, our concern as revolutionary youth and concern of some labor unions were to get rid of the capitalist-like system of production and production relations, and establish a system of production and distribution that is based on socialist economy, politics, culture and life. We could not use mass media. Mass media were not for us and not with us. Ours were less words and more action.
In order to save Turkey from the mounting social movements, the army, supported by the Western interests, took over in 1980. As they did it in Latin America and elsewhere, Jails were full of with youngsters. There were widespread of torture, unaccounted murders and missing persons.
 The history of oppression and coercion tells us how the ruling forces with the support of security forces, academicians, researchers, intellectuals and media, used and advanced the ways and means to deal with the ever growing opposition. Historically prevailing method is the justified coercion and killing by weapons, hanging and covert operations. Physical individual and mass elimination never accomplished much, mainly because the roots of opposition and struggle are imbedded in the social system itself: The existence of opposition and struggle are undesired and unwanted byproducts of  the daily production relations of the existing structure of a society. It means that you have to change the system in such a way that it will not produce dysfunctional outcomes. Realizing this fact of organized life, the ruling forces learned, advanced and applied some of the classical methods besides coercion and torture: That is “divide an set them against each other”. At least few methods are used by the ruling forces against the opposing movements (I will call them alternatives): (when I say ruling forces please include not only organized forces of coercion, but also formal educational structures, especially universities and old and new media of communication):
(a)  creating their own controlled alternatives: These alternatives are put forward in order to place  fake oppositions in place of genuine ones. This kind of control is geared towards the control of the ideas, interests, attentions and behaviors. Social media are full of such alternatives, especially in the form of blogs. Once, I was a member of an environmentalist group in internet until I realized that it was a fake environmentalist group. Another ones are News groups that are supported by some rich people or by intelligence agencies.
(b)  Infiltrating within the genuine alternatives for at least few purposes: (1) distrupting, (2) spying, (3) occupying the top positions or getting close to the top positions in order to control the daily, short term, mid term and long term agendas, policies and activities of the opposing groups. (4) provocation for (a) illegal decisions, illegal activities, engaging in activities that divert the organizational policies and daily agendas from their original purposes.
(c)   Funding, supporting, promoting and widespread distribution of some alternative (reformist) ideas, products and organizations that are actually functional to the interest of ruling systems and ruling relations.                     

In 1980s, neo-liberal politics and practices all over the world, including Turkey, were initiated: These politics came up with very aggressive policies of liberalization, coercion and control mechanisms. These policies also included mind and behavior management through newly defined and circulated  ideas such as democratization, civil society, public space, liberalization, pluralizm, end of ideology, ldentity politics, feminism, post-modernism, post-structuralism, death of grand theories, death of author, consumer independence,  and many more fancy factoids. Social movements presented as practices of non-governmental organisations and collection of people.  When the internet and web arrived to Turkey, prevailing policies and practices of domination and struggle extended to the new media. Every new media tricks that were applied all over the world were copied and used by the political and cultural power holders and their paid personnel in Turkey in order to thwart, marginalize and demonize social movements in the cyberspace.
  
Prevelant organized structures that use the web in Turkey are formal and informal theological schools and teological cults. They stand for (a) reactionary forces against the infidels and heretics, (b) against communist demons and (c) placing god’s rule and god’s state by overthrowing an heretic or secular system. In 1992, the capitalist West killed the demon, that is Soviet Russia. Throughout the history, the ruling forces always needed demons as means of keeping the masses scared and ready for demon bashing and killing. They cannot feel safe without having demons. So, they created their own functional demon, that is Islamic terrorists. The new demons are tightly controlled and used wherever needed.
In Turkey other NGOs that are active in cyberspace are trust foundations. They include all private schools and private universities, and charitable foundations that are organized mostly for tax evasion, money laundering, larceny, theft, and meeting political and economic ends.

Sure, in Turkey, we have political parties, labor unions, voluntary associations, nonprofit organizations and professional associations, including media associations. They are also in internet. Whenever they feel that it is good for their interest, they organize and participate in social movements.

In Turkey, probably the best organized ones are theologic groups/sects and present ruling political party. They can mobilize large number of people in a short time by using the web.

The web, especially instegram and twitter are vastly used by youngsters. But their uses do not constitute social movement.

However, the potential of sudden transformation to political protests and other social movements definitely exists. This potential is extremely high among the right wing youngsters as compared to others, because they are tightly organized.

In 1980s, moving away from social class based movements that focus on emancipation from the dictatorship of capitalist class domination has planned, orchestrated, started, promoted and funded. Disassociated, dispersed, micro-level, gender and ethnic based social movements emerged and cleverly named, for instance, “new social movements”. Most of these social movements can be considered as “functional alternatives to the interest of ruling forces.”

Neo-liberalism created its own neo-fascists and neo-conservatives, Post-structuralism, post-positivizm, post-modernism, post-industrialism, glocalism, and gender and minority based theories are widely supported and promoted to sustain and advance the image of pluralism and democracy under the widespread neo-cold war attacks of global capitalism.

Under the ever expanding false-images and factoids world, ideas of class struggle are declared outmoded and obsolete and newly forged discussions on democratic public space, identity politics, civil society with elected popular civil dictators are made contemporary social, political and cultural fashion of contemporary world. This fashion found its most effective communication and distribution channel: İnternet. Internet is stripped off being a war machine and economic marketing tool; and presented as means of realizing participative democracy, creator of knowledge society, enabler of new and uncontrolled free public space of pluralist debates, and many more exaggerated and mostly fabricated attributes. I will repeat this: The valid and important thing is not the attributes, possibilities and potentials of an instrument. The important thing is existing dominant nature of production, nature of use, nature of actual outcomes, and nature of distribution of material wealth created in internet. Here is my most general conclusion: The mediated communication by new technologies has extended ongoing dominations and struggles to the cyberspace. The rest generally is the similar euphoria and promotion that has been used for every new medium.


3.     Positioning ourselves within “computer/internet mediated communication” and within social movements:



Recenty in turkey, a peasant woman among the ultra-right crowd who forced the main opposition party leader, Kılıçtaroglu, to take refuge in a villager’s house, was screaming “burn that house! Why didn’t you still burn the house! Burn it!” She is an uneducated villager and position herself within a movement and political party. She represents the historical organized reality of general public: They are deprived of material goods, but are granted many immaterial values. They only have gods, nation and abstract values to protect against each other.


Now, let’s see, where we actually stand in cyberspace and social movements:  

(SHOW NEXT SLİDE 24
   
1.     Organizing phase

We, as individuals can produce a software, only if we know the computer language. Next step is to put this software in use. At this stage, we should establish our own software production and distribution organizations, if we have the means to do so.

In organizing social movements through internet, we have at least two choices: 1. to participate in an existing movement or 2. start a new one.

2.     Production and distribution phases

“Social software” sounds like software produced by social; produced for social;  not economic, not political, not private, not for private interests, belongs to everybody. Let’s give an example: Let’s think about the google, facebook or instegram: We are talking about structures that are organized for organizing and producing hardware and software for certain private purposes.

Organizations are formed to produce services or material goods. Or both. Let’s position ourselves within the production phase of software first, and then within social movements.

I do not and cannot decide on the nature of software; where, how, when and under what conditions to produce them, to distribute them, and to share the benefits/wealth created, because I do not own or control the means of software production. I do not work as VİP at a software production company. So, I am outside of the software production phase.

Here another question rises: Do I or not defend the software freedom, rights and  benefits of the producing powers as against those who struggle for having access in decision making and software production.
Because I cannot decide on the nature of the software, I cannot manipulate the software beyond the structured and defined framework of use.

Now, let’s talk about, production phase of social movement: The only and foremost producers of the social movements are ruling structures; they produce the cause for the social movements; there would be no opposition and movement if they did not create the poverty, exploitation, coercion, environmental destruction and so on. They are the primary culprits. The producers of poverty, unemployment, injustice, racism and justified murder perfectly know that oppositions are inevitable.

So, what is our position in social movements:

(a) We, part of general public, can be hired to protect the system from some of US and from THEM and coerce the participants of a demonstration. (THEM, indeed, most of the time are some of US defined as enemy).

(b) We can be active participant of a demonstration or also participant of organizing the social movement.
           (c) We can participate by viewing television news and participating by placing ourselves on the side of the ruling forces or on the side of demonstrators.
(d)  We donot give a damn about anything beyond our own personal life.

Namely, we reproduce the ongoing practices of domination and struggle by positioning ourselves, even if we say “we do not care about anything”.

Can those who engage in social movements produce software? It requires knowledge of the computer language, You can learn it. If you learn it, can you create software? Yes you can. Producing a software has no meaning, if you cannot put it in use in cyberspace. Can you do it. You can to a certain extent. However main question is: can you use it for widespread use in internet? I donot think so, because well established organized entities either buys you out, or kicks you out or makes you remain at the very marginal level.
However, you can use your software in clandestine operations or to communicate with your own social environment. if you are the part of organized struggle like Redhack in Turkey, you can produce your own software and or manipulate the exisiting softwares for the sake of struggle. (Readhack is a Turkish Marxist-Leninist computer hacker group founded in 1997).

No technological tool on circulation can escape from being object of domination and struggle. Namely, regardless of the nature of ownership of a technological medium, there are always relations of control concerning the production, distribution, use, actual and potential outcomes to varying degrees.
The dominant structure makes it better, practical and a lot more pragmatic to use their existing services and programs. In short at the organizing and production phases of software for the sake of struggle and social movement, You, as an anti-establishment person, have little chance to establish software production organization, unless you have necessary finance or financial support  to start and sustain production.

3.     Software use phase

Social software is in fact refers to software of computer, cell phone and web based technologically mediated communication tools. Software is the coded language used to run the means of communication. For us, as users of internet and web, software is the finished-product of technological domination. We learn “how to use” these finished products in order to complete the process, reach our own personal goals of buying, diversion, free time activity, playing, listening, watching, connecting and, as a final outcome, to reproduce the conditions of domination and struggle.
I finish here and open the discussion with my question.
Internet was developed in order to solve the problem of the linear communication structure in a war. The solution was the web that broke the dependency to the linear connection. Here is my question: Does an American internet user have a web that is not dependent on linear communication?
I am breaking the customary rule of interaction and asking the question.
Thank you for listening.
       
References
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