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The Twittering Machine

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In surrealist artist Paul Klee’s The Twittering Machine, the bird-song of a diabolical machine acts as bait to lure humankind into a pit of damnation. Leading political writer and broadcaster Richard Seymour, author of Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics argues that this is a chilling metaphor for our relationship with social media.
Former social media
Paperback, 226 pages
Published August 29th 2019 by The Indigo Press
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David M
What we call addictions are misplaced devotions; we love the wrong things.

We keep {our smartphone} close, charged at all times. It is as though, one day, it’s going to bring us the message we’ve been waiting for.

Not alarmist but deeply melancholy, this book is the best thing I’ve yet read on the subject.
Ivar Dale
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mind-expanding stuff. Makes you want to quit social media.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant essay on what we are really doing when we scroll through social media feeds. Seymour gets into the philosophical side of the proliferation of 'writing' through smartphone technology, and even 'writing' our data as we scroll and scroll, and the creative/metaphysical nature of words. Social media and the data behemoth is described as the 'twittering machine' that we feed our lives into, with its constant need to consume our time and attention as its fuel. It is designed to be ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I dunno. Some interesting stuff here about, say, how the thing you’re addicted to is not the explanation for the addiction, and about how you slide into a certain kind of relationship with a technology. But I found the prose a bit ‘guffy’ - too many ‘in a sense’s and ‘if x is a y, then maybe z’. Not to my ‘concretist’ tastes, I guess.
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the ideas under this book, which the author describes as an essay. The clever approach to references gives confidence that the foundations on which the conclusions are based can be verified, but the text is not littered with footnote markers.

Key points for me:

The twittering machine (social media and more generally digital communications between people) has been consciously constructed as an addictive time sink.

The whole three ring circus - celebrities, influencers, presidents, trolls,
Shona Tiger
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Maybe 3.5. Quite interesting; occasionally a little shrill :)
Sølvi Goard
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really needed this now.
Ivan Monckton
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting, but dense and intense with far too many “as *** puts it/said/writes” and very little in the way of solutions to all the problems outlined.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'Scapegoating the social industry evades the question of why people are drawn to it in their billions. What problems does it appear to solve?'
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Northern Irish Marxist writer and broadcaster, activist and owner of the blog Lenin's Tomb.

Seymour is a former member of the Socialist Workers Party.

He is currently working on a PhD. in sociology.