Die hervorragende, hauseigene wissenschaftliche Fachzeitschrift des MIT, das Journal of Design and Science, hat seine sechste Ausgabe der Auflösung der Realität im Digitalen gewidmet und untersucht in einer Reihe von Artikeln und Repliken auf diese Texte, wie Propaganda im 21. Jahrhundert neu erfunden wurde, welche Rolle Verschwörungstheorien heute spielen und wie diese neue Irrealität das Sozialgefüge zersetzt –> JoDS 6: Unreal.
Die Ausgaben des JoDS werden ständig um Texte ergänzt und ich gehe dqvon aus, dass auch diese sechste Ausgabe des Magazins um weitere Artikel erweitert werden.
There is a style of propaganda on the rise that isn’t interested in persuading you that something is true. Instead, it’s interested in persuading you that everything is untrue. Its goal is not to influence opinion, but to stratify power, manipulate relationships, and sow the seeds of uncertainty.
Unreal explores the first order effects recent attacks on reality have on political discourse, civics & participation, and its deeper effects on our individual and collective psyche. How does the use of media to design unreality change our trust in the reality we encounter? And, most important, how does cleaving reality into different camps—political, social or philosophical—impact our society and our future?
QAnon and the Emergence of the Unreal by Ethan Zuckerman: Ethan Zuckerman delves into how the conspiracist community surrounding QAnon represents a hazardous new form of participatory civics and digital storytelling.
Unreality and Social Corrosion: Masha Gessen and Ethan Zuckerman in Conversation: A discussion on the role of Unreality within politics as narrative, negotiation, and loneliness.
The Effects of Participatory Propaganda: From Socialization to Internalization of Conflicts by Gregory Asmolov: A look at how propaganda has been rewired for the digital age and how this new, “participatory propaganda” mediates conflict, manipulates relationships and creates isolation, both online and offline.
On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Bot: Pseudoanonymous Influence Operations and Networked Social Movements by Brian Friedberg and Joan Donovan: An exploration of what happens when politically motivated humans impersonate vulnerable people or populations online to exploit their voices, positionality and power.
Besonders interessant finde ich diesen Artikel über die Meta-Verschwörungstheorie QAnon, die von Ethan Zuckerman als neue Form eines partizipativen Spiels beschrieben wird, in dem es nicht wirklich um Fakten oder Politik geht, sondern um Geschichtenerzählung. QAnon als neue Form des digitalen Who Dunnit?, aufgejazzt mit Real Life-Hintergründen und lautgemacht per Twitter-Verstärker.
Most commentary on the QAnon phenomenon is so quick to denounce the absurdity of the community’s obsessions that it fails to consider what’s interesting and novel about the movement. A laudable exception are the three authors behind QAnon Anonymous, a Patreon-supported podcast that “chops & screws the best conspiracy theories of the post-truth era.” QAnon Anonymous suggests we understand QAnon as fan fiction: “QAnon has a canon, but the canon is basically this coded language of the drops. The tapestry of the story is done by these amateur researchers…it’s decentralized storytelling, like thousands of different fanfic threads going on at once with very little to chew on at the center.” While we might think this lack of a strong canon would present an obstacle to the strength of QAnon, it actually serves as a strength.
Much as there’s a robust online community extending the narrative of virtually any TV show, movie or beloved work of fiction, QAnon’s bakers are taking the narrative sketches offered by Q and extending them into a rich and detailed fantasy world. While there’s ample fan fiction about well-loved stories like the Harry Potter series or Star Trek, many fanfic aficionados choose to extend flawed texts, fixing their shortcomings and amplifying their strengths. It’s far more fun to write fanfic for a bad show than for a perfect one, and the narrative put forward by Q on 4Chan and 8Chan is deeply flawed. It is filled with events that haven’t transpired and predictions gone wrong. What is perhaps most remarkable about QAnon is how resilient it has been to obvious setbacks, including the inconvenient truth that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama have been arrested.
The QAnon Anonymous team considers QAnon to be “an improvisational game” where the players compete, “looking for an interpretation that will go viral within the QAnon community.” As a result, QAnon bakers are not only co-authors of the narrative, they’re proselytisers, both for the broader conspiracy and their particular interpretive frame. […]
Participatory media and the new normal
The participatory advocacy that QAnons are engaged in is a phenomenon that’s grown increasingly common as news media and participatory social media have become inextricably intertwined. […] This media landscape is the new normal. Its key characteristic is not mis-, dis- or malinformation. Instead, the key feature is that every assertion has a point of view behind it and is supporting someone’s agenda above other possible agendas. Each story reported or ignored, each fact marshaled or forgotten is weaponized. In such a world, Donald Trump’s complaint that the media fails to report on the successes of his presidency is not merely whinging. It is the reason why the media is his most potent antagonist and the “enemy of the people,” because the reality they report is in direct conflict with the one he is selling. The conflict between Trump’s reality and that of the mainstream media leads to the sense that we are no longer arguing a partisan battle over the interpretation of a common set of facts, but over facts from our own realities that both represent and lead inexorably to our own point of view.
I have started to think of this clash of realities as “the Unreal.” I don’t mean to identify a singular unreality—Trump’s, QAnon’s, or anyone else’s—but to make the point that what’s real to you is unreal to someone else. Like conspiracy theories, this is not a new phenomenon. Questions of whether we can share a common reality or whether we will be forever separated by our perceptions and interpretations are the subject of timeless debates in epistemology and phenomenology. What’s different now is that these debates have escaped the philosophy classroom and are now infecting every news story and online discussion.
Like the cognitive process of apophenia, the social mechanisms of conspiratorial thinking are rooted in reality. It’s the pattern that’s non-existant. But the pattern gets written into collective consciousness through repetition. The more that it is repeated, the more people feel the need to self-investigate. And once you are looking for patterns, it’s not hard for the collective hive mind to think that they exist. While schizophrenia may be an individual cogntitive disorder, networks of people can also produce collective delusions with devastating effects.
The power of QAnon is not in its factual evidence, but in participants’ desperate desire to find meaning and power in society. While teenagers are embracing Escape Rooms to feel the rush of piecing together clues, a subset of adults are scouring social media to build a coherent framework around contemporary politics that connects the dots in a fashion that is legible to them.