Opinion: The Hermeneutics Of A Hermit Of The Real

Social media and Facebook have been in the news lately. As someone who may seem a bit of an anachronism to some but who nevertheless tries to keep up with the complex conundrums of popular topics, I have been wondering recently what the attraction is of it all.

So here are a few questions from the reading and writing realm to the media-savvy.

What’s the difference between a Facebook/social media group and a comments page in a newspaper? If social media are in the public domain, how private can public be? How do advertising companies have access to a Facebook/social media group? How are complex online social interactions used for marketing purposes? What would they be selling? Are the media companies themselves somehow ‘socializing’?

How do opinions become data? Is it tick-box surveys or ‘likes’ or algorithms? I heard a discussion on the World Service recently about the need for the ethical regulation of algorithms. Computers don’t understand context and without context most text is nonsense. Context changes meaning. Marcel Duchamp put a urinal in an art gallery and called it art.

Surrealism plays on improbable juxtapositions.

Are tweeters becoming experts at writing haikus? Would your life be different without social media? Who protects your online privacy and who is gleaning information about your life, harvesting it for political or commercial gain?  Many people in the world have no access to computers. There is another world out there. You could spend more time in it. Or, with big online followings, are we all gurus now?

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