Sideswipes: Sharing Is The New Delete

In a world dominated by product announcements that aim to bring technology ever closer to our bodies and into our lives, the thing to notice is which of the companies making technology today is cognizant of the fact that technology is -- above everything -- a means of accelerating the act of sharing. From trains to cars to sms, technology has always produced ever better means of finding one another to share things, faster and faster.

Technology connects two points in order to share some kind of information between them. In some configurations, the user is able to choose the route of the information. The user may be able to choose the degree of permanence of the information, as we see in Snapchat, or the centralization of its source like we see in Maelstrom by BitTorrent. In other configurations the route is preconfigured. But to deny -- or attempt to deny -- sharing of any sort is a grave misunderstanding of what is occurring at the fundamental level of technological invention and progress.



The recently deleted project Unindexed is a worrisome clue about where Google's head is at these days in this regard. Unindexed was "a website that continuously searched Google for itself over and over. The moment it found itself in the search results it would irrevocably securely delete itself, making the precise instant of algorithmic discovery the catalyst of destruction. Visitors were encouraged to post contributions to the site. …They were then invited to share the site with others, bearing in mind the impact their method of sharing would have on the eventual discovery of the URL by Google search bots." Google destroyed the project after 22 days.

That a private project created by an individual artist can cause Google to flip on the destroy switch tells us volumes about how the corporation feels about the public experimenting with ways sharing might function in a world of accelerating technologies. And yet sharing is the new delete. Reblogging is the new destroy. Stopping sharing is like stopping the ocean's tides.  

The project, Reblogs, is a fantastic demonstration. It is a tumblr of individual images that have been shared through reblogging. The images flow from blog to blog forming recursive loops of images that have become part of a collective consciousness through sharing. Limiting or destroying this or any other exploration about how we share things is to deny that the fundamental nature of technology is to produce an act of communication at speed, which always implies sharing of some type.

Companies that deny this fact willfully limit both communication and the collective development of culture around the world. It is a sideswipe of cultural evolution by technological politics that have to do with control over both the technology that is created and how it can and will be used. And that should make us Reblog like hell.

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