For my social media breach this week, I initially knew that I wanted to use Twitter as my medium. It seemed like the best candidate because of the fact that, unlike other forms of social media, it allows the least amount of content to be released at a time. Facebook and Tumblr arguably allow the most, images, long blocks of text, links, embedded videos, etc. Instagram allows picture and video sharing. But Twitter is mainly used only for short bursts of text, which is limiting in itself. This limiting factor seemed intriguing to me.
Something else that intrigued me was the interaction of bots with social media. The automation and lack of control over the posts is chilling and strange, considering we expect genuineness in most social facets. But the fact that we use the invention of the internet to socialize and still find computers and automation around us influenced my breach.
For my breach, I decided to start a twitter account and create tweets using Apple’s predictive text feature. The text based content that Twitter allows and automated content from Twitter bots were both inspirations for the account. It is not completely automated, of course. Part of my involvement in the breach is curation. Sometimes I allow the first word to be decided by the predictive text, but I also start it at times. I also curate what word is going to come next, as I am given three choices. The end product is sort of a collaboration between me and the technology; it gives me the content and I present it.
Some of the results were poetic, while others were funny and strange. I had something to do with that, due to the fact that the word choices relied on me. But the choices that the iPhone gave me were also strange by themselves at times. I also experimented by only choosing the first or second options given to me, forming an abstract sentence only informed by it’s own doing. In this case, I am allowing the technology to speak completely, giving it a platform.
The project also reminded me of “Technorealism and the Accident of Art” from Rosa Menkman’s book The Glitch Moment(um). By transforming the use of a feature introduced to aid, art is created through accident and glitch. In forcing this process through another method, we are able to create art in this form.
This can be considered a breach for several reasons. Twitter is a platform for people to share their thoughts in about 120 characters or less, shared unwittingly with automated robots that tweet content. This account is a bridge between content composed by technology and the content being curated by a real person. It is also a breach of communication, weaving together nonsensical phrases and sentences because it is what the technology assumes we are going to say. It is an attempt of technology trying to predict and know us better than we do ourselves.
This account is an ongoing project. Follow at https://twitter.com/tweetpredictr
The glitch moment(um)
In-text: (Menkman, 2011)
Bibliography: Menkman, R. (2011). The glitch moment(um). Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.