Algorithmia by dixē.flatlin3

giphyMore than a decade has passed since I embraced social media with open arms. It feels like it has been a part of my life forever, but of course it has not. Earlier, as I opened a browser on my computer, I realized that I really did not have a website in particular I wanted to visit.

I gave up on Facebook (FB) long before it became the ruler of Algorithmia- the land of the lulled, content feeding masses. I disliked it solely on the fact that it required users to conform through abject banality. There were absolutely zero modifications allowed to the profile, thereby creating a false sense of inclusion. Fucking fake as fuck in my eyes, but whatever. It came, it saw, it manipulated users into believing they were a part of a larger, global community. When really everyone’s been mostly talking shit to the people they never liked in high school, because hey, we’re all old now, right?

As FB became the dominate online destination, I noticed the subtle manipulations in the feeds. I went so far as to conduct the research for an academic-style article to address how transparently evil FB was. The numerous FB sanctioned experiments conducted on users were never secret, not really. There were cookie crumbs that individuals could have followed to find the truth, but as the oft quoted movie line goes, “you can’t handle the truth!” This was during the early days of the 2016 American presidential campaigns. Early 2014 would be my best estimation, although I could refer to the creation dates on the original outlines, but I digress.

I came back to this article outline every time there was a ridiculous headline regarding the erosion of privacy, or a blip about the collection of behavioral data, or massive data breach. But I could never bring myself to finish the piece because it was glaringly obvious that the average user had no interest in the numerous ways they were being tracked and manipulated online. In fact, they were totally cool with it as long as the echo chambers they’d safely secured themselves in stayed full of the sweet, sweet smell of confirmation bias.

The election cycle came and went, a reality TV star became the 45th president of the United States, and the echo chambers have remained. Hell, they not only remain, they have become the norm. Thanks to algorithms, users are guaranteed to feed their favorite biases daily! No contrary or transgressive thoughts will ever pollute their online shopping experiences. Because that’s what social media has become: The planet’s largest collection of shit you don’t need, served up on ADHD satiating platters of click-bait.

As the rock stars on the social media global brand management teams continue to quantify the amount of clicks a rousing hashtag can bring, I’ve decided that there is not much I want to view on a computer anymore. When it comes to social media, mobile content is key. I don’t want to think, I just want to be fed content. Let the algorithms amuse me, I don’t need to think for myself.

The machines know best, right?

 

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Beer Run by dixē.flatlin3

Beer Run by dixē.flatlin3

            Time to get my creativity flowing again.  I have been busy with academic writing, which has its own rewards, but can be less than satisfying.  So, let’s talk about beer runs.  You remember those, right?  You’re at a party and suddenly there is no more beer, and that simply has to be corrected as quickly as humanly possible?

            This was a common occurrence during my formative years, and because I had a car, I was often the one called upon to assist in these emergency situations.  Of course being female also meant I was often times a necessary implement in procuring the alcohol.  We called it ‘pimping beer’, which essentially meant I had to stand around outside and ask adults, usually males, to purchase it on our behalf.  This particular evening though being female was not part of the equation, only the car.

            I have accepted that my main role within the crew of guys I hung out with was as their designated get-away driver.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back I can see that is what I did.  I believe that the statutes of limitations have expired for most all our juvenile delinquent activities, at least I hope that they have.

            To say that I ran with a rowdy crowd is a polite way of admitting that I was a borderline hoodlum.  This particular evening a group of skinheads had shown up to the party we were at.  At some point during the festivities I was called upon to assist with a beer run.  I didn’t see this as unusual because as I have mentioned, it was one of my regular duties.  After we had all loaded into my car, I noticed that it was too late to purchase alcohol, and I mentioned this to my passengers.  There were two guys from my normal crew, and two from the one that had shown up.  One of the bald guys told me not worry about it because he knew of a place that he could still get beer from.  I followed the directions he gave from the back seat as we drove along the deserted streets.

            Eventually we pulled up in front of a closed liquor store.  I was somewhat confused as the two bald guys told us to wait in the car, and got out.  They casually approached the front of the store, picked up a huge cement ashtray by the entrance, and threw it through the glass double-doors.  Of course I immediately went into shock because it was apparent I was now a part of something that was more than just a beer run.  As my friends and I sat in my car in a stunned silence, listening to the sound of the alarm going off, we didn’t say a word to each other.  As quickly as the bald ones had entered the store, they came back out the door, throwing a keg through the doors to make more room for their exit; however, one of them got cut by the glass on their way out.

            The sight of blood in my car was nothing out of the ordinary.  In fact, I had grown accustomed to it and the smell barely bothered me anymore.  I immediately took off once they had loaded their booty into the back of my hatchback.  The boys were all chattering, the bald ones laughing, but my pals were a bit more vocal with their ‘what-the-fuck-just-happened’ thoughts.  I stared straight ahead, completely silent, and drove.  Making sure to obey the speed limit, use turn signals, and not miss a single stop sign.

            I don’t remember how the evening ended, I believe someone needed stitches, but I cannot be sure.  Several of my crew came out to assist me in cleaning up the blood that was throughout my car.  I believe they realized that I was rather upset with what had happened, but did their best to console me.  We all had a good laugh over the fact that no one had a tap for the keg that had come flying through the front doors.

            I learned a very important lesson that evening, and it is one that I have never forgotten:  Whenever someone says they need to make a beer run, always make sure that they can still legally do so before offering to drive them anywhere.

BeerRun1

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