27 July 2010

Hyperreality, Pseudo-events and the Future of Awareness - Part One

Some of my recent blog posts have mentioned my Twitter experiments.  One of these experiments involves the categorization of "followers". 

Before I began, I did not know who any of the followers might be or how I would categorize them.

Here is a link to my earlier post called New Media and Social Media

I began my main Twitter account, @camaggicom, by following a few Twitter accounts of journalists.  Then I followed some of the Twitter accounts they follow, and who follow them.  This was done in a mostly random way.

Journalists were chosen because I wanted to ensure that at least a few of the Twitter accounts I followed were of people who had an interest in public policy issues, whether in Australia or elsewhere. 

Gathering useful information about public policy has been a side benefit of the experiments.

My main interest, however, has been to see who might follow my main Twitter account, and to attempt to assess why they might do so.  

Interestingly, some of the first "followers" of the account were comedians.  I do not know what this might say about considerate awareness!

The name of my first Twitter list was therefore "amusing".  The second list I began was called "uncertainty", mainly because I was uncertain why some followers had chosen to follow my account.  Those particular early followers appeared mainly to be promoting a commercial product or service of little relevance to me.

I soon changed the name of the "amusing" list to "absurdity".  This was because the comic followers were mainly interested in political satire and I felt "absurdity" to be a more appropriate word to describe their reflections on political life than the word "amusing".

The next problem I faced was one related to the difference between knowledge and opinion.  

I observed that even by mainly putting philosophical questions into my Twitter feed, it was difficult to keep my own opinions separate (and private) from the knowledge I wished to gain.

My hope was that I could also develop a list of especially knowledgeable people from amongst the "followers". There were a few I categorized as this quite early and placed them in an "experience" list.

Several politicians and journalists also became "followers" and I placed them mainly in a "politics" list, rather in the "experience" list.  I will allow you to form your own conclusions about my decision.

I also began a "philosophy" list, hoping that people with philosophical insights and interests might follow my Twitter account and perhaps also contribute to this blog.

My final list was called "society", where I placed all the followers who did not quite fit appropriately into the categories of any of the other lists.  I then decided that I had enough lists, and perhaps even too many.

You may be wondering what most of this has to do with the title of this blog post.  One reason for the title is that I am interested in perceptions.

Perhaps, for example, people would be concerned or annoyed about the Twitter listing I gave them or their organisation, but I have not yet received any indication of that.

Observing and documenting other people's perceptions of social media will be topics for later blog posts.

After two or three weeks of using Twitter, I decided that the "experience" list and the "absurdity" list needed to be removed.  One reason for this was that some of the other lists were growing quite large and those two were still very small.

A list called "diversity" was needed, I thought, to separate some of the people from the "society" list into a separate category, and to add a few from the "uncertainty" list to the "diversity" list.  My reasoning for this will become clearer in future blog posts.

Following the "followers" I was not already "following" had also been part of the initial plan, at least for most of those who did not fit into the "uncertainty" category of my listings.

I hope you are following this blog post quite well and are not confused.

If you follow my main Twitter account, and you do not seem to be mainly interested in trying to sell me something, then I will probably follow your account in return.

After making the lists mentioned above, I felt it was time to be more selective in the people I had been "following", as my previous post on the topic has mentioned.

Over the past two weeks I have reduced the number of Twitter accounts I have been following, including some of those who have followed my account, mainly because journalists and others interested in the news appear mainly to say similar things and frequently repeat what I have already heard elsewhere.

I do not want my Twitter account to be boring, either to myself or anyone else.

The experiments are continuing and I look forward to your comments about them.

25 July 2010

Resources for Thinking Well

My observations of social media appear to indicate that opinions often take precedence over wisdom.  Considerate Awareness Magazine and A Picnic in True Freedom are intended for people with more interest in wisdom than opinion. 

22 July 2010

The Art of a Good Mind

You may be aware that there is currently a federal election campaign happening in Australia. 

I would be interested to know about examples of considerate awareness that you have discovered in election promises of various candidates, wherever you are in the world, in any election.

During an election campaign, what do you think it means to think well?

18 July 2010


Is it usually more important to have questions than answers?


I am interested in why people think and act as they do, and why they use particular verbs and adjectives to describe events and experiences.  This especially applies when considering the way journalists and politicians communicate with the public, and with each other.


Is honesty more about truth than trust, or vice versa?

News and Peace

Which is more important:  The future of news or the future of peace?

Being Considerate

Under what circumstances may it be possible to be both considerate and wasteful?


Why is it important to recognise that reflection is not a competitive pursuit?

A Successful Society

Can a successful society be accurately define and measured?

Past and Future

Do most contemporary philosophers discuss the past rather than the future?

13 July 2010

New Media and Social Media

Over the past couple of months, I have been researching the topics of new media and social media.  An experiment has taken place on this blog, too.  Have you noticed it?

If you have found the frequency of questions here more than usually overwhelming on a few days, then that may be because I have experimented with a similar format to a Twitter feed. Please be assured, though, that the original frequency of questions will soon be resumed!

You are, however, still welcome to comment on any of the blog posts here.  I would also suggest making a comparison between the Wikipedia article on new media and the one on social media.  I'd be interested to know about your observations.

Wikipedia - New media

Wikipedia - Social media

My experiments have also been conducted on Twitter itself.  Initially, I planned to develop a Twitter feed by following 1000 Twitter users.  Those chosen mostly have an interest in media, politics, philosophy and/or psychology. By the time I reached 900, I realised that I cannot possibly follow that many in a useful or informed way.

07 July 2010


I hope you have the courage to explore and reflect upon this blog in an informed way.  Perhaps you may discover more about your inner and outer worlds in the process.


How philosophical, ideological, dogmatic, erratic, wise or otherwise, are your ideas?


Is understanding beyond the limits of certainty?

Philosophical adventures

What has been your most interesting philosophical adventure?


How do you relate to uncertainty?


How do you relate to absurdity?


Should dignity ever have a price?

Good Policy

Does good policy require good questions?

Ideas of Quality

Are most good thoughts deep ones too?

Influence and Insight

Is it more important to be influential or insightful?


I like to publish interesting responses to my blog posts.  How would you define an interesting point of view?


How do you know something instinctively?  Is it only a culturally conditioned response?

06 July 2010

Good Thinking

Is good thinking more about philosophy, psychology or health?

Good Questions

How do you tell when a question is good?

Open Minds

How do you recognise an open mind?


Do true friends often discuss philosophical issues?


What does philosophy mean to you?

Thinking Well

What does it mean to think well?

02 July 2010

About Philosophy

Why is philosophy important?

Important Questions

What are the most important philosophical questions and who should answer them?

Useful Answers

Who are the philosophers (if any) who have provided the most useful answers to your questions?

Philosophical Questions

Which philosophical questions do you find the most challenging, and why?