Bookmarked The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones by an author (Scientific American Blog Network)

The show did indeed take a turn for the worse, but the reasons for that downturn goes way deeper than the usual suspects that have been identified (new and inferior writers, shortened season, too many plot holes). It’s not that these are incorrect, but they’re just superficial shifts. In fact, the souring of Game of Thrones exposes a fundamental shortcoming of our storytelling culture in general: we don’t really know how to tell sociological stories.

Zeynep Tufekci argues that the reason why so many fans are complaining about the last season of Game of Thrones is because the storytelling style changed from sociological to psychological.

The overly personal mode of storytelling or analysis leaves us bereft of deeper comprehension of events and history. Understanding Hitler’s personality alone will not tell us much about rise of fascism, for example. Not that it didn’t matter, but a different demagogue would probably have appeared to take his place in Germany in between the two bloody world wars in the 20th century. Hence, the answer to “would you kill baby Hitler?,” sometimes presented as an ethical time-travel challenge, should be “no,” because it would very likely not matter much. It is not a true dilemma.

Tufekci explains that this is the same reason we have problems talking about historic technological transition.

In my own area of research and writing, the impact of digital technology and machine intelligence on society, I encounter this obstacle all the time. There are a significant number of stories, books, narratives and journalistic accounts that focus on the personalities of key players such as Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Jack Dorsey and Jeff Bezos. Of course, their personalities matter, but only in the context of business models, technological advances, the political environment, (lack of) meaningful regulation, the existing economic and political forces that fuel wealth inequality and lack of accountability for powerful actors, geopolitical dynamics, societal characteristics and more.

Maybe this is a part of what Douglas Rushkoff touches on in his criticism of storytelling.

Bookmarked Twitter>The Novel? @tejucole>Teju Cole? (Meanjin)

Teju Cole joined Twitter in 2009 but didn’t really take to it until 2011, when he was beginning work on a long nonfiction book about his native Lagos. While researching in Nigeria he began to tweet as part of a project he titled Small Fates, an imprecise translation of the French faits divers, referring to compressed news items, typically just a single sentence in length. Cole suggests that the original faits divers influenced the writing of Flaubert and later Gide, Camus, Le Clézio and Barthes. On his website, Cole mentions twentieth-century French journalist Félix Fénéon as a master of the form.

Sam Twyford-Moore discusses the creative use of Twitter by Teju Cole to tell short stories and describe situations. This is seen to be in contrast to longer forms of writing. I was reminded of the #ShortStories that pepper my feed in Mastadon. The discussion of ergodic versus canonical writing was also interesting. This seems similar to discussions of commonplace books.

Social media and the internet could now be seen as our workbooks, where we can test out ideas that we later refine in print or book form. I have drafted and conceptualised several essays in the comments section of other people’s literary blogs (an essay on the Wire published in this journal originated in a thread on James Bradley’s City of Tongues blog). But I want to suggest here that Twitter can be the work as much as the workbook, recalling video-game academic Espen Aarseth’s useful distinction between ‘ergodic writing i.e. writing still emergently based in evolving energy, and canonical writing e.g. unchangeably published’.

I capture this difference by having two spaces: Read Write Respond and Read Write Collect. I like like the way Ian O’Byrne captures this difference:

On this website you’ll find a trail of my digital breadcrumbs as I consume, curate, and create. I’ll archive all of the things I’ve read online. These could be bookmarks to visit, videos to watch, photos, and quotes that inspired me.