5 #hardtruths and 2 new pledges @#50

On February 18 on my blog I pledged:One month later, I have written the first 50 posts … phew … it hasn’t been easy! Over those many posts, while keeping my eye on the daily, shifting fake fixations that are definitive of this disruptive, dangerous, confusing time, I also tried to express a set of interlocked truths that might help clarify some of the relations between digital expression, media infrastructures, contemporary art and politics, and opportunities for resistance. The first #50hardtruths found me thinking about, while also trying to enact, effective modes for truth-sharing, trust-building, complexity-enhancing and resistance-producing that would begin about and within digital culture and then potentially move beyond it.

But, during the first phase of the project, I only shared these #50hardtruths on my blog, and then via Facebook and Twitter. As hard as it was to write so many truths in such a short time, those platforms made them easy enough to share, at least a little. But, in many of these truths, I observed and wrote about the limits of these very platforms for honest or at least meaningful or useful communication. By this I mean, specifically, meaningful for our psyches as human beings and useful for social change or activism; and by this I am referring, particularly, to the use of Facebook, Twitter, and their kin, what with their structuring logics of neoliberal production, consumption and corporate ownership; their valuation of the quick, the superficial, and the viral; and their pretense of community, engagement, and participation camoflauging experiences of isolation, distraction, and commodification. Given the goals and values that were emerging from the project and its focus on effective digital media literacy, it became increasingly clear to me that I was enacting a highly self-reflexive process that engaged in and suffered from the very constraints it hoped to critique. Now, limits are often useful for learning (see my “video-book” Learning from YouTube, where a similar set of corporate constraints taught my students and I a good deal about teaching, learning, writing, reading, classrooms and more).

As one response to the learned limits of this project, I decided to seek the assistance of the technologist Craig Dietrich to build it a better digital home, one that might more honestly or effectively hold its #100hardtruths-#fakenews, particularly given the five digitally self-aware beliefs and visions I have learned from the project thus far, expressed as five new truths below. While this fix lives online, it begins to move outside some of the very troubles of social media that lend it, and all we do here, so easily to the shallow, the immediate, the isolated, and thus what might be or at least feel false.

As I move forward, I hope to engender other processes within even more radical logics and platforms toward even more effective forms for digital media literacy. I will enumerate some of these methods as a new pledge at the conclusion of this post. But here’s an easier one to begin, adding the parenthetical oxymoron “(#offline?!)” as a revelatory tick or trick to the halftime truths that follow—one that might help us to momentarily think outside this box—to consider how do, could, would these digital truths play forth in the “real” or “true” world? And to be very clear, my vision of the real world understands it is a mixed-reality where internet and world are one. Hence, my five hardtruths @50:#100hardtruths-#fakenews will end on April 29, 2017. At that time, I will begin a different kind of work, transforming the website into a digital media primer for specific learners in real-world communities and settings through the production of curricula and events. But before that, over the build of the final 50 hardtruths, I will engage in two new, even harder digital practices that I hope begin to work slightly past the logics of corporate social media.

@50, I hereby pledge:The first of my shared-hardtruths, #51, will be by my friend, the scholar and curator, Eve Oishi. I invite anyone who reads this to contribute, and I also invite you to meaningfully respond to or use any one of my #100hardtruths-#fakenews, or your own, in your world.

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