Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, January 05, 2015

State of the Blog

In May 2014 Amor Mundi had its tenth birthday. I can't say that I had such a thing in mind when I started this blog, but Amor Mundi has turned out to be my most sustained and consistent intellectual effort at this point, apart from teaching. It's strange to contemplate the mountain of archive I've accumulated and scaled in all this time, to consider what it amounts to, what it is good for, what it took me from, where it is going.

2013 was the first time in the history of the blog that I had posted less in a year here than the year before, but in 2014 I posted even less than in 2013. I suspect that the greater energy I have devoted to microblogging via twitter accounts for some of this. I have often used twitter as a spring board, sounding board, being bored, and also a promotional space for Amor Mundi and so the relations between my twitter and blogger accounts have been more collaborative than I would have expected.

A few days ago I posted a list of the most widely read pieces here from last year. Although half of the energy I expend here goes to making sense of and venting frustration over politics, as usual almost nobody was the least bit interested in this material (after all there are a million people saying the same sorts of thing generally) and it is pretty much only when I ridicule Robot Cultists or techbro venture capitalist skim-and-scam artists that readers perk up. Not only were most of my most widely read posts skewering techno-utopian scams, but frankly such pieces were almost the only ones that attracted hits in the hundreds. Despite that, I was pleased that stuff I wrote in the midst of what was a personally fraught battle of adjuncts like me and my colleagues for union representation received a lot of attention, too. That was an important part of the year as I lived it, and it was nice to see it registered retrospectively in the life of the blog as well.

The single most widely read piece from last year was the forum page I created in connection with the Existenz volume on Posthumanism to which I contributed an essay myself. Since that remains the piece of anti-futurological critique I am proudest of writing, I was pleased other people have paid some attention to it as well. I was also very pleased that people read my extended elaboration of themes from the short essaylet I was asked to write for the New York Times "When Geeks Rule" forum -- mostly because I thought the piece that appeared in the Times itself ended up being pretty vapid and disappointing, but with more room to roam in I could get at what really mattered to me on the topic.

This year, as with last year, some of my posts were also published at the World Future Society, where somewhere between twice and twenty times as many people gave them a looksee. I should probably post there more, but I always feel a bit uncomfortable doing so, despite the encouragement I have received, because my whole unfuturist schtick feels a little like an asshole move directed at explicitly futurist-identified folks.

One general development I will note by way of conclusion is that while my readership has remained relatively stable over the years -- as an academic I am quite comfortable with the idea that reaching a modest number of minds can make a difference that makes the effort more than worthwhile -- I do get the feeling that my sympathetic readership has grown quite a lot. In the early days of the blog I think the majority of my readership were Robot Cultists who liked to read me to get mad and post endless variations of "I Know You Are But What Am I?" in the Moot -- they always reminded me of those weird liberals who get off on getting mad at Fox News -- whereas nowadays more people who read me seem to be kindred spirits, either because so many people have been burned by techno-utopian scams and plutocratic fever-dreams there are more folks around who just enjoy the release of a good rant on such topics or because they find it clarifying (as I do myself) to connect the ugly prevailing unsustainable and plutocratic tendencies in corporate-military consumer-complacent techno-fetishistic neoliberalism/neoconservatism and the weird pathological extremities of these tendencies playing out in the techno-transcendental sects of the Robot Cult's transhuman eugenicists, singularitarian Robot God warriors, techno-immortalist and nanosantalogical wish-fulfillment fantasists and inane greenwashing geo-engineers.

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