Saturday, September 24, 2011

Why and How I am Leaving Facebook

My Facebook Page 24th September 2011

I have been a Facebook user since August 2007, when I began investigating it as a real time social text. Four years later I have so had enough. The upcoming changes in the form of Timeline is not the same program I signed up for in 2007.  

When I signed on to Facebook in 2007 it was defined as "a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them." Now, with the implementation of Timeline, Facebook is defined by its founder as “[A]ll your stories, all your apps, a new way to express who you are.” Anyone familiar with the architecture of Facebook knows that it is far from simply 'expressing who you are' on the platform. Who I am on FB is formed by Facebook itself. If I contribute 'all my stories, all my apps and express myself' on FB, I see myself as losing those contributions to the vast database of the program. Plus with Timeline I am now part of an information flow in real time, the nature and perimeters of which I do not control. Suddenly friends-of-friends are within my feed and I am, I presume, within theirs. There is little time or space available for my own self-expression in FB now, because if I even just throw a pebble in the pool, it returns to me as a Tsunami of unknown origins. The entire equation of FB has changed. the analogy used by the Napperville Sun is today ancient history:

"To users, Facebook will no longer be a bench by the side of a river where they sit and watch an endless flow of ephemera float by and then disappear."

I prefer the village square or Agora analogy myself, where I once could go to share with a group of people whom I actually knew, and we could talk, share links and catch up. The circle I once had on Facebook seems to be possible today with Google+, or at least that is what I am hoping.

Added to the expanse of contacts and information I am exposed to on the 'new Facebook' is the somewhat sinister promise of the Timeline interface, which is described by one commentator as,
"Your Facebook presence is now intended to be durable. In 2029, when your firstborn son’s holographic avatar is going off to lunar robot fighting school, you can rewind your Timeline to 2011 and show him what you were up to in the week before he was born."
as well
"Facebook's updated Open Graph will make the social network far more "sticky." Zuckerberg said users will have the ability--thanks to Timeline and a new addition, Ticker--to see what a friend is doing, like watching a movie on Netflix or listening to a song on Spotify, and engage in that same activity from within the social network. The Facebook CEO said he believes the improvements will help create "a completely new class of social apps" that will let users share every single facet of their lives on the social network." - (Cnet) Facebook Changes Creeping Out Some Customers

To me this sounds like a total nightmare scenario.The week before my son was born was and are my memories, my images and mine to explain to him should I choose to do so. Facebook or any other web platform (that I do not control) has no place in the representation or explanation of that period in my life. Futuristic fantasies do not convince me otherwise. Added to this is the intrusion of Facebook cookies;

"Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit. The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interactions." - Logging out of Facebook is Not Enough

However, I have a real problem in that the contacts I have gathered in my four years of using Facebook represent a large percentage of the entire number of people I actually know. I have real people in Facebook; friends and family. People I do not see, that are scattered around the globe. Many of them are very important to me. So I am busy exporting as much of the information in my account as I can. First the email address of my friends, all 397 of them:

Go to and click the Facebook icon. A log-in dialog should pop-up, just sign-in with your Facebook credentials and within seconds, you entire Facebook address book will be available inside your Yahoo Mail Account. Once the import is done, click this link to download a CSV file with the email addresses of all your Facebook contacts to your desktop. You can then import the CSV file into Gmail Contacts, LinkedIn, your phone address book or any of the social sites where you want to connect with your existing Facebook circle. If Yahoo! is unable to import your Facebook Address book, open your Facebook page and choose “Application Settings” under Account. Next remove the “Yahoo! Contact Importer” application from your Facebook profile and try the steps mentioned in the video again.

I have a Yahoo mail account so this was easy. I now have all my FB friends in my Gmail account. I now have to find those of my FB friends who are on Google+ via their email addresses. This is time consuming but not impossible.

You’ll find instructions to download the data in your Account Settings page. Once you’ve logged into your Facebook account click Account and then choose Account Settings from the drop-down menu.

On the first page of settings (cleverly titled Settings) you should notice a new option beneath Language that says Download a Copy. Click on it to lodge your request.

I did not receive an email notification that I could download a copy of my account and I had to log back in to Facebook and click on Download a Copy again where I got this message:

Another way to export the data related to your friends on Facebook is with the Facebook Friend Exporter plug-in for Google Chrome

Facebook has been doing everything it can to prevent the Chrome plug-in from working and I did not have much luck with it. However other people say it works and the advantage of it is that it exports not only emails, but phone numbers and photos as well.

To download any of your Facebook photo albums with ease, all you need is Fotobounce - it's a free Windows-only utility that would help you manage photos in your Facebook and Flickr accounts right from the desktop.

The links and collections of videos, audio and comments I have collected on Facebook seem to be doomed to oblivion. FBexport is one of many programs that functions as a web scraper, and it claims to be able to extract the following:

Using a web scraper to retrieve you data from Facebook will get your account closed permanently as it breaks the terms of use agreement. Section 3.2 states the following:
You will not collect users’ content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission.
The problem with having your account closed and not deleted, as is the aim if you wish to discontinue your relationship with the Zuckerberg Empire, is that a closed account is still in existence and the contents of it remain the property of Facebook. This is a tricky situation. But if you are deleting your account anyway this may be a stylish way to go out. Just make sure you know when you want to be banished from the land of Facebook and understand that everything in your account still exists on the servers of Facebook. I hope to be exiled by the end of next week but I will not be leaving anything behind when I go.

Finally since publishing this post yesterday I have been getting a lot of traffic from Facebook itself. In directing the link here FB publishes the following warning:

The propagation of fear is the last resort of the wicked. Censorship is built into the architecture of Facebook and this is another reason why I am closing my account.

To delete the Facebook account follow the link here and then the instructions.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Workshop between Umeå and Wollongong


A three-day collaborative workshop between the University of Wollongong (Australia) and Umeå University on social media in research and learning begins in HUMlab on Monday 27th September. Seven guests researchers and teachers from University of Wollongong, as well as Deakin University in Australia will be attending the workshop. The workshop is an open forum for discussion around a number of themes related to social media. The goal of the workshop is to develop further research and teaching collaborations by showcasing the work going on in each university and finding common areas of expertize and interest. The workshop is sponsored by Umeå University, the Faculty of Arts and the University of Wollongong.

The program for the workshop:


The Twitter hash tag for the workshop is #SocHUM

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Snow Witch (Wonderful Machinima)

A Japanese ghost story adapted from Hearn's "Yuki-Onna"(Kwaidan). Two woodcutters, an old man and his young apprentice, Minokichi get trapped in a snowstorm in the forest and take refuge in a hut. That night, Minokichi is forced to make a bargain that will later be forgotten. Filmed and edited by Michelle. Sets designed & built by Michelle & Kheri. Huge thanks to gToon for the audio production, Simon Taylor the narrator and additional sound design by Overman. The music is by Tilopa (album Out of the Blue) and is available from . Special thanks to all the custom content creators! (Filmed entirely in the Sims 2, October 2006) Winner of Best Story at the European Machinima Festival '07.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gamification: Know Thy Enemy

'Gamification' has entered my life world (to use the parlance of the practitioners) several times recently. I was so struck by the latest prick of Gamification this evening that I spent some time thinking about it. I Googled and watched a video where a follower presented her vision of a world explained through: “the use of game play mechanics for non-game applications (also known as “funware”)"

Gamification offers a form of aesthetics that anchors beauty and taste within a dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. In gamification there is the dialectic cycle of life-play-completion. Combined with this structure is the supposed 'revolution' of transmediality. "A transmedia story unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole." (Henry Jenkins, "Searching for the Origami Unicorn"). Transmediality is a revolution within the appropriating culture that destroyed the earth mounds of the Americas, the barrows, earthworks, stone circles and cromlechs of Western Europe, the sonic ball-courts of the Maya and the Borra rings of Australia. In these contexts, the play/story dialectic is meaningless. In the enacting of myth in ancient ritual space and the place of meaning opens up before the initiated (i.e. the literate) in the embodiment of their socialized being. As the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud said, "The whites are landing. Cannon! We have to submit to baptism, clothes, work. I've received the coup de grâce to my heart." (A Season in Hell).

Avoidance of gamification offers us the space of play and the control of place. We are instead living the story rather than playing the game. A game is a set of rules and a goal at its bare minimum. It may require a story but it is not a necessity. The game becomes the manual for action and understanding for the collective of players. It claims space and anything that follows its rules and moves through that space is made part of the game. ‘Gamification’ – game-ifying life, just commodifies the dream once more. Smooth space is striated and ordered according to the game. Games can be revolutionary, educational, violent, cathartic, even spiritual. But the gamification of life is not about the seriousness of games. It is about 'funware'. Consuming your way to a shallow happiness. Ian Bogost sums it up very well with "Gamification is bullshit".

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Ben

Happy birthday Ben, 6 years old today. A boy who lives in a time of his own......

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Snoop Dogg on Chatroulette?

This evening I was playing Mudhoney's second album, Mudhoney and dancing my way around Chatroulette. Suddenly I was face to face with Snoop Dogg. I managed a short conversation with him:

Connected to a partner.
Partner: play my music damit
You: snoop
You: hows it going man
Partner: play snoop dogg
Partner: chilling
You: sorry about u getting busted in Sweden
You: such a bummer
Partner: that was a roumor
You: ahh
You: i read it in the paper
Partner: still smoking mann
You: good on you
Partner: plz play snoop man
Partner: buy my cd's
You: playing it now
You: got spotify
You: and you are on it
Partner: yeah promotion
Looking for a partner...
Reconnecting to random server...
I am not the first to meet Snoop on Chatroulette either.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Katerina Karoussos

This is a documentation of the presentation Katerina Karoussos gave in HUMlab via Skype following her residency on the HUMlab Island in Second Life. While not the best video, it does give a good account of the main points.

Philosophy, the Body and Virual Worlds

Katerina Karoussos has created a video "NOETIC GRACE - FROM IMAGE TO IMAGO" during her Yoshikaze residency on the HUMlab Island in Second Life:

Until later this week it is possible to view the video and documentation from the residency in Second Life, please go to,

The following is the slide show from her presentation at RL HUMlab, Umeå University.
As the manager of the HUMlab project in Second Life, I would like to thank Katerina and Sachiko Hayashi, the curator of the Yoshikazi Up-in-the-air residency. This residency has expanded the perimeters of the project. From next week we will be welcoming another artist into the project and I will announce that on this blog shortly.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Folk of Digital Primitive (Berlin)

On Sunday 8th July 2012 (I am planning ahead) I will present a lecture in the Sonic Lecture Series at the Centrum Gallery for Contemporary Culture in Berlin.
"Centrum will be hosting a monthly Sunday afternoon event called Sonic Lectures from September 2011. The idea is that we listen to a selection of music that broadens our understanding of music and its context. We are looking for contributions from individuals who are interested in telling the story of a particular area of music. The ‘lecture’ would be in the form of a collection of music played (DJed if you will) but the theme of each event will be set in advance (through our promotion) and at the event through hand-outs or projected information about the theme and each track. We’d like a variety of themes to draw on, and these may focus on a particular type of music at a particular time/place, or a development in music at a particular time in many places, or it could be a very personal take on a reoccurring event taking place in music across both time and place. We’re more interested on new arguments/insights rather than something that fits with the traditional narrative."
My lecture is titled The Folk of Digital Primitive:

The Internet in the last decade has produceed a global network of music made by low-fi, at home, DIY groups and released on CDRs by tiny music labels. Bands such as The Jewelled Antler Collective, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood, My Cat is an Alien, Birchville Cat Motel, Avarus, Black Forest/Black Sea, Fursaxa, 6majik9, Kemialliset Ystävät, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Keijo & The Free Players, Pelt, Wooden Veil, Doktor Kettu, The Anaksimandros, and The North Sea have plied their sounds on labels such as Foxy Digitalis, Secret Eye, Manhand, Music Your Mind Will Love You, VHF Records, Fonal Records, Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, and Hashram Audio Concern. My sonic lecture will chart the rise to nothing of the noise ethnopunk trance folk vision of this unamed and untamed musical genre. From personal experience (I am a founding member of the group 6majik9 and the Music Your Mind Will Love You collective among other disgraces) I want to twine a sonic tale between the intersecting Internet communities of these bands, the sounds they make and the creative arts model they represent. This is not an urban avant-garde but a diffuse collection of people who came of age in a world were the image knows no boarder and sounds are free. Many live outside the major centres (New Zealand and Finland being two centers of the genre) but communicate and publicise their work via the Net. Dowloading, uploading, forums and streamed media have created a global network of digital primitives who play the sort of folk music that few dreamed of 20 years ago. However, the present day bone and electricity groups follow in the footsteps of such luminaries as the Sun City Girls, and The Flower Travelling Band, to name but two.

I have not been in Berlin for many years so I am looking forward to visiting the city and presenting this insight into a musical movement that is very dear to me. The Centrum Gallery looks very cool as well.