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Self, Words, The Word & Language Itself

Today I would like to tie together a few loose ends again, picking up one from last week, another from maybe a few months ago and perhaps a couple more along the way.

Last week, I described an odd sort of dichotomy that can arise if someone views words separately from the persons who are using them (see “People and Their Word(s)“), and now I would like to delve a little deeper into this phenomenon.

Rather than meandering off along millions of possible tangents related to the contextual nature of language use, I want to pick out one single gem that occurred to me this morning. This is the notion of how many people juxtapose their own words versus the context in which their words are published (i.e. made public) to the world (i.e. “in real life”) around them. Their words are their intellectual property, the real world can react to them in some way … but otherwise they are actually (viewed as) unconnected. I sense a strange hunch of absurdity lingering on some horizon, but I can’t really put my finger on it (yet).

More directly, I notice that the act of publication is interpreted to be separated from the mere expression (of words, language, whatever). Anyone has complete freedom to express anything they want in their own, closed off space (such as a person’s own skull, housing the brains which are simply thinking thoughts). Spoken words may be mumbled in a low voice or quietly scribbled down as private recordings, not intended for anyone else’s eyes or ears.

Indeed, insofar as self-publishing is sometimes deemed invalid, the invalidity of the self-published publication underscores the intellectual separation of speech acts (or acts of expression) from actions of publication. Knocking on a publisher’s door seems to be in a sort of distasteful limbo or purgatory state, a window of opportunity, a stage apparently made for a heroic appearance by an undisclosed literary agent of some sort, a quasi-transitive chemical catalyst which magically sparks a wonderful and exciting transfer of ideas to take place (or, perhaps even a transition of state from ideas into money?).

You may say “that was in the ‘good old days‘ of intermediaries” — and I would mostly agree (yet I might not be so inclined to call them ‘good’). Now that we have had a couple decades worth of disintermediation (I have my doubts though — especially considering the market capitalization of the likes of Google and Amazon), how are the roles of the past intermediaries to be managed now, and in the future? [1]

In my opinion, these intermediary marketplace organizations are overdue for extinction. There is no justification whatsoever for me (or anyone) to visit the Wizards of Google or Amazon or Facebook or Microsoft or whatever conglomeration of corporate yet completely meaningless intellectual properties. I might as well be searching for an Eldorado in some vast swampy quagmire filled with crocodiles and quicksand.

For people who feel that is too extreme, please consider the questions I raised at WordCamp Europe (see “Social Business Regulation: Introduction & Socio BIZ Rule #1“) — I feel that is one of the more measured, reasonable paths for those who feel too strongly challenged without some intermediary involved to assist in hand-holding.

Ultimately, though, I feel that every author will need to build their own marketplace to engage directly with their audience. The only platform needed is their own language (which the author actually shares with their own linguistic community — however large or small). What do you think? [2]

[1] Today, these actions and processes are by and large regulated by the algorithms of huge conglomerate organizations … which are mainly designed to maximize profits for those very same organizations. A few years ago, two nobel-prize winning economists published a neato book about the implications (mostly so-called “externalities”) of such marketplace organizations (the title you need to get in case you want to read the book is “Phishing for Phools”).
[2] You may notice that I have (so far) not delivered a very large number of links to previously published but nonetheless “loose” threads (well, besides my WordCamp questions mentioned above). Some additional resources include: “Linguistic Empathy & Community Boundaries” (which also refers back to “Natural Languages & Linguistic Empathy — a First Essay on the Impact of Phenomena such as Presence, Awareness and Focus on Social Cohesion“), and you may also want to check out “Literacy = ! { an on-off switch }” … and / or maybe even all of the previous chapters! (see the “Social Business” wiki page 😉 )
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By New Media Works

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