Digital media has done away with the very thing that created our sense of history: imperfect memory. The process of creating a historical narrative (or any story, for that matter) involves discarding an enormous amount of information. It’s like chipping away at a big block of marble until you’re left with a captivating statue. Forgetting is a feature, not a bug. It makes us feel like we’re moving forward through time, rather than standing still or running in circles. My grandmother and her ancestors knew this all too well. Artful forgetting, editing, and curation allowed them to craft narratives that helped their children understand the past and orient towards the future. The internet has undercut these time-tested practices of inter-generational knowledge transfer. It’s like an all-knowing god without any rituals of forgetting or forgiveness.

Faced with the inhuman prospect of total recall, we feel our only recourse is to turn to algorithms that help us sort through it all. But the algorithmic black boxes that power our media platforms work very differently than the memories we were born with. Our memories evolved to surface emotions, stories, and information from the past that might help us survive. We don’t have complete control over what we remember and when — there’s a subconscious system that “finds” old memories and “projects” them onto our mind’s eye.

In many ways, social media’s recommendation algorithms are an externalized version of this mysterious inner search process. But they’re not optimized to help us survive; they have a financial interest in prolonging our state of timeless confusion. Even the visual design of these platforms seems hell-bent on disorienting us: content that was published yesterday looks the exact same as content that was published a decade ago. In digital environments, there aren’t many signs of “decay” or the passage of time.

https://aaronzlewis.com/blog/2020/07/07/the-garden-of-forking-memes

Aaron Z Lewis, The Garden of Forking Me…

The Slow Media Manifesto

The first decade of the 21st century, the so-called 'naughties', has brought profound changes to the technological foundations of the media landscape. The key buzzwords are networks, the Internet and social media. In the second decade, people will not search for new technologies allowing for even easier, faster and low-priced content production. Rather, appropriate reactions to this media revolution are to be developed and integrated politically, culturally and socially. The concept "Slow", as in "Slow Food" and not as in "Slow Down", is a key for this. Like "Slow Food", Slow Media are not about fast consumption but about choosing the ingredients mindfully and preparing them in a concentrated manner. Slow Media are welcoming and hospitable. They like to share.

  1. Slow Media are a contribution to sustainability. Sustainability relates to the raw materials, processes and working conditions, which are the basis for media production. Exploitation and low-wage sectors as well as the unconditional commercialization of user data will not result in sustainable media. At the same time, the term refers to the sustainable consumption of Slow Media.

  2. Slow media promote Monotasking. Slow Media cannot be consumed casually, but provoke the full concentration of their users. As with the production of a good meal, which demands the full attention of all senses by the cook and his guests, Slow Media can only be consumed with pleasure in focused alertness.

  3. Slow Media aim at perfection. Slow Media do not necessarily represent new developments on the market. More important is the continuous improvement of reliable user interfaces that are robust, accessible and perfectly tailored to the media usage habits of the people.

  4. Slow Media make quality palpable. Slow Media measure themselves in production, appearance and content against high standards of quality and stand out from their fast-paced and short-lived counterparts - by some premium interface or by an aesthetically inspiring design.

  5. Slow Media advance Prosumers, i.e. people who actively define what and how they want to consume and produce. In Slow Media, the active Prosumer, inspired by his media usage to develop new ideas and take action, replaces the passive consumer. This may be shown by marginals in a book or animated discussion about a record with friends. Slow Media inspire, continuously affect the users' thoughts and actions and are still perceptible years later.

  6. Slow Media are discursive and dialogic. They long for a counterpart with whom they may come in contact. The choice of the target media is secondary. In Slow Media, listening is as important as speaking. Hence 'Slow' means to be mindful and approachable and to be able to regard and to question one's own position from a different angle.

  7. Slow Media are Social Media. Vibrant communities or tribes constitute around Slow Media. This, for instance, may be a living author exchanging thoughts with his readers or a community interpreting a late musician's work. Thus Slow Media propagate diversity and respect cultural and distinctive local features.

  8. Slow Media respect their users. Slow Media approach their users in a self-conscious and amicable way and have a good idea about the complexity or irony their users can handle. Slow Media neither look down on their users nor approach them in a submissive way.

  9. Slow Media are distributed via recommendations not advertising: the success of Slow Media is not based on an overwhelming advertising pressure on all channels but on recommendation from friends, colleagues or family. A book given as a present five times to best friends is a good example.

  10. Slow Media are timeless: Slow Media are long-lived and appear fresh even after years or decades. They do not lose their quality over time but at best get some patina that can even enhance their value.

  11. Slow Media are auratic: Slow Media emanate a special aura. They generate a feeling that the particular medium belongs to just that moment of the user's life. Despite the fact that they are produced industrially or are partially based on industrial means of production, they are suggestive of being unique and point beyond themselves.

  12. Slow Media are progressive not reactionary: Slow Media rely on their technological achievements and the network society's way of life. It is because of the acceleration of multiple areas of life, that islands of deliberate slowness are made possible and essential for survival. Slow Media are not a contradiction to the speed and simultaneousness of Twitter, Blogs or Social Networks but are an attitude and a way of making use of them.

  13. Slow Media focus on quality both in production and in reception of media content: Craftsmanship in cultural studies such as source criticism, classification and evaluation of sources of information are gaining importance with the increasing availability of information.

  14. Slow Media ask for confidence and take their time to be credible. Behind Slow Media are real people. And you can feel that.

Stockdorf and Bonn, Jan 2, 2010

Benedikt Koehler
Sabria David
Joerg Blumtritt


Source: http://en.slow-media.net/manifesto