#33: speed matters; there is safety in the slow
March 6, 2017
Today’s internet seeks, supports, and succeeds via virality. The pursuit of virality for media content on the web is understood as a truism and a good, as self-evidently powerful, as the natural pursuit of the habitat.
“Viral marketing depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of recipients forward something to a large number of friends, the overall growth snowballs very quickly. If the pass-along numbers get too low, the overall growth quickly fizzles.” marketingterms.com
Of course, virality is also a pre-condition for fake news. When ideas move fast—in their production, reception, or pass-along—we give up the time necessary for research, verification, contemplation, and action.
Given the internet’s fundamentally unhealthy imbrication of views, brand, market and celebrity, we must demand and produce sustaining environments that counter acceleration.
- The Slow Writing Manifesto, Mark Sample
- Slow Food International
- The Art(s) of Slow Cinema, Nadine Mai
- Learning from YouTube, Alexandra Juhasz. In my many years of thinking about and spending time in YouTube, I found myself immersed in the same contradiction of the fast/slow rendered here: i.e. I demand the slow in a fast form of and format for writing (in the video-book I call this “a plea for long-form in short-form”). In the example from the book that I link to here, “Hildebrand on Joanie 4 Jackie (March 31, 2009),” I discuss the early VHS video-sharing project (by mail) of Miranda July, Joanie 4 Jackie (itself just recently moved to the internet, but with great depth and context, thanks to the work of Astria Suparak and others, allowing it to be one of those rare internet places that I’ve been referring to in this project that uses the space to construct depth through material). I wrote in 2009, when things were much less fast then they are today: “While at first look these VHS chain letters seem to be a dead or dying form ‘given the ease, access, and cost of sharing video on the Internet,’ I realized that what they will always have over YouTube is the actual, small community that can only be created by the painstaking and careful act of choosing to attach your work to an object that already has a community built onto and within it. The VHS chain letter permits the safety of the slow through the space of the movable box.”
- Joanie 4 Jackie, Miranda July
- #100hardtruths-#fakenews: a primer on digital media literacy