I posted this on the course twitter as one of my favourite pieces of long form journalism on cyberculture. Re-reading again I think I’ve managed to spot an example of reflexivity in information systems. Roughly defined by Hayles in How We Became Posthuman, reflexivity is when the conditions that create a system get incorporated into the system itself. It formed the secondary narrative of cybernetics.
So, where is it in the article?
“Lilley and Greenfield had figured out an array of tricks both obvious and not, some technical, some thematic. They found text converted into an image performed better when the second sentence was the longest; a post with a high ratio of notes to comments was a sign a community cared deeply about a subject; typos weren’t always bad, because you have to share a Facebook post to comment on it, and people shared typo-marred posts to make fun of the mistake. Lilley and Greenfield interacted with followers as well. ”
The creation conditions of the tumblr posts e.g. 2nd sentence length in text to image conversions, gradually was incorporated into their system calculations for creating further posts. Thus, reflexivity.
Does that sound about right? Feel free to correct me through comments.
Also I just wanted to flag some brilliant tumblr meta-quotes about modern internet culture:
“a darkened auditorium with 264 silent people in the seats. on the stage, me, sitting on a stool, lit by a spotlight, the only light in the theatre. i hold up a photo of my cat, 10 people applaud, two or three hold up photocopies of the same photo, the rest do nothing, watching, waiting”
“two types of chats
group chat: lol look at this meme you pieces of shit
private chat: i don’t know anymore. im hoping that someday i’ll just know what to do. sorry for complaining and thanks for always listening to me”