Unity In the Face of Divisiveness

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DARK SOCIAL | Warren Ellis

“Dark Social” is the notion that people share “content” via private/secure messaging apps, one-to-one or one-to-select-group.  That social sharing activity can’t be measured in any useful way.  There is no freely-available prosumer tool to quantify the sharing of a link.  Hence, they call it “dark social.”  When you hear someone say “dark social,” they’re bemoaning the inability to get click reports off of actual conversation.  Because when you see someone on the street head-down in their phone and dabbing away at the screen, they’re not cut off from the outside world.  They’re talking to people. Fuck your Black Mirror narrative – they’re just more interested in a window to their friends and family than they are in you peering at them in judgement.  And all that action of being engaged in a life of having your loved ones in your hand all the time and being able to show them things and talk about it?  That’s Dark Social now.

Warren Ellis on today’s MORNING, COMPUTER post.

Why Do We Write?

#WhyDoWeWrite?

No writer worthy of being read, and expecting to be read, writes in a vacuum, however. We write with the anticipation of a reading audience, no matter what that number of unsuspecting souls may be.

Quoting myself from October 9, 2016.

Advice from Warren Ellis, Internet Jesus

In this week’s edition of his newsletter, Orbital Operations, writer of all trades and legendary Internet Jesus Warren Ellis offered the following bits of sage advice for us all to perform our own lifehack in these unprecedented times. Take heed, if you want to survive.


“If you’re on social media, make your account private, and use it to be social. Use it with your friends. 

If you rely on social media for news, do this. 1) Don’t use Facebook for news. I mean, just don’t. Facebook’s values are not your own, and they have their own rules for what you get to see. So just don’t. 2) Twitter has a function called Lists. So go to a Twitter account, press the little cog icon on the right, and select Add Or Remove From Lists. Create a list, and you can add people to it without actually following them.

The term “attention economy” seems to be making a comeback in 2017. Your attention is valuable. Also, the confusing and scattering of your attention is valuable. Overwhelming you into making bad or unfocused choices is valuable. Take back your attention.

And for god’s sake, stick a passcode on your phone this week. Six is okay, I’m told eleven is better. And turn off Touch ID before you go through an airport – that’s a thing I keep hearing.

(Addition to last week’s notes: favcleaner will wipe out your entire Twitter likes history, slowly. It will post to your account once – just delete the tweet.)

Find your news. I read The Guardian, BBC News and Foreign Policy every morning, as well as Politico and Axios daily newsletters, and I recently bought access to The Washington Post and put Reuters on my home screen.

Find your people. Do it offline. If you’re worried, turn your phone off before you leave the house to go to a meeting, and don’t turn it back on until you’re well away from the meeting place. Or leave it at home entirely, and carry a burner with a removeable battery.

Change your goddamn passwords and don’t buy any of that IoT shit.

Also, this.

“Trump administration officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose all websites and social media sites they visit, and to share the contacts in their cell phones. If the foreign visitor declines to share such information, he or she could be denied entry”

This isn’t unexpected, and the ground has already been laid for it, in the updated ESTA and in the questioning of journalists at customs in the US over their LinkedIn accounts last year.

Sorry to be such a huge downer, but these are times for protection.

Come and sit by me. I have whisky, and I like fires.”


Do yourself a favor and subscribe to the Orbital Operations newsletter here.


Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE and the “underground classic” novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN, as well as the digital short-story single DEAD PIG COLLECTOR.  His newest book is the novella NORMAL, from FSG Originals.

The movie RED is based on his graphic novel of the same name, its sequel having been released in summer 2013.  IRON MAN 3 is based on his Marvel Comics graphic novel IRON MAN: EXTREMIS.   He is currently developing his graphic novel sequence with Jason Howard, TREES, for television, in concert with HardySonBaker and NBCU, and continues to work as a screenwriter and producer in film and television, represented by Angela Cheng Caplan and Cheng Caplan Company.

He’s written extensively for VICE, WIRED UK and Reuters on technological and cultural matters, and given keynote speeches and lectures at events like dConstruct, ThingsCon, Improving Reality, SxSW, How The Light Gets In and Cognitive Cities.

Warren Ellis is currently working on a non-fiction book about the future of the city for FSG Originals, serialising new graphic novel works like TREES and INJECTION at Image Comics, and developing and curating the revival of the Wildstorm creative library for DC Entertainment.

A documentary about his work, CAPTURED GHOSTS, was released in 2012.

Recognitions include the NUIG Literary and Debating Society’s President’s Medal for service to freedom of speech, the EAGLE AWARDS Roll Of Honour for lifetime achievement in the field of comics & graphic novels, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire 2010, the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and the International Horror Guild Award for illustrated narrative.  He is a Patron of the British Humanist Association, an Associate of the Institute of Atemporal Studies, and the literary editor of EDICT magazine.

Warren Ellis lives outside London, on the south-east coast of England, in case he needs to make a quick getaway.

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via Warrenellis.com

Quotes | Bob Thurber on Writing

Bob Thurber (Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel; Nothing but Trouble), one of the finest writers in the English language (and a personal acquaintance), has been a literary mentor of mine for over fifteen years now. I recently stumbled across some more sage writing advice from him over on his Goodreads page.

“Remember . . . keystrokes are hammer taps. Get words on paper. Don’t worry about connections, character or plot. Work for an hour. Promise yourself an hour. Do nothing else but move your fingers. Make coarse shapes. Follow any emotion that pops up but never impose emotion, never fake it, and don’t make up your mind or your heart ahead of time. Understand you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why you’re here. Rough it out. Anything goes. You can decide later what any piece of text looks like, what it might mean. Don’t stop. Don’t question. Don’t quit. Don’t stop to read what you wrote. Move your fingers. You mind will have no other option but to keep up. Remember that writer’s block is merely the cold marble waiting for the chisel to heat up.” ― Bob Thurber

“The first thing I check once I’m inside a story is the emotional weather. Is there a storm coming? What’s the temperature, and how powerful are the winds? The difference between walking on water and sliding one’s ass across slick ice is only a matter of degree.” ― Bob Thurber

He’s right, of course. On both topics. Thurber has been (and will continue to be) a frequent topic on this here blog. Historically he’s been a major influence on my short story prose, particularly my microfiction, which I really need to get back to myself. Reading his words always gets the gears turning in my head.