Most things are ignored, actually.


A silly story from CNN: “Survey: 71 percent of tweets are ignored:”

Ever feel like you’re talking to a brick wall on Twitter? That might be because 71 percent of tweets get absolutely no response from the world. Toronto-based social media analytics company Sysomos scanned 1.2 billion messages that were sent in August and September 2009 to try and get some idea of the kind of conversations that are going on.

They discovered that more than seven in every 10 tweets sink without any kind of reaction from the world. Of the remainder, just 6 percent get retweeted, and 92 percent of those retweets occur within the first hour. Multiplying those probabilities together means that fewer than one in 200 messages get retweeted after an hour’s gone by. Essentially, once that hour’s up, your message is ancient history. That leaves 23 percent of messages that get an @reply. Drilling down, Sysomos found that 85 percent of replied-to messages get just one reply, 10.7 percent get two, and just 1.53 percent get three replies. Similarly to retweets, 96.9 percent of @replies are posted within an hour of the original tweet.

It’s not clear how the company treated messages that were both replied-to and retweeted. The company also commissioned an animated visualization of the data. In this video, the spiral represents time, with the size of the blue dot representing the number of retweets and replies to that tweet. Following one dot over time, you should see it slowly grow as it gets replied-to and retweeted. Continue reading

Adjuncting is the Future?


Here is a rather cynical, but amusing (if not simultaneously depressing and horrifying) take on academic (capitalist) life (unless of course it’s merely intended as some sort of satire, then it’s even more amusing to me):

I recently defended my dissertation in English at a land-grant institution in the Midwest. Our department’s national reputation plunges every year as the new hires get weirder and their expertise more esoteric. Ph.D. degrees from our department, unless you’re female or a minority, don’t provide much value in the marketplace. Even if you do fit into one of those desirable categories, you’re probably screwed and headed to a $40,000-a-year job — much less if you get one of those stunningly low-paid, visiting-professor gigs.Most professors in my department express nothing but contempt for both graduate students and undergraduates. In a recent faculty meeting, professors lamented that the number of graduate students in the department had dipped below acceptable levels. Faculty members faced the prospect of canceled graduate seminars and the horrific likelihood of having to teach two (count ’em!) undergraduate courses a semester. Tsk, tsk. Literary scholarship as we know it might cease to exist, plunging the world into postapocalyptic chaos. Meanwhile the casualty rate of the department’s graduate students on the tenure-track job market approaches that of the British at the Somme. Continue reading

Friday: Strategies of Complete Avoidance


It’s Friday and I’m avoiding grading some essays.  So here’s some required reading for you. First, a great newish group blog with Nick from Accursed Share, Taylor from Fractal Ontology and Naught Thought called Speculative Heresy that has served only to distract me this morning, but in the best way possible:

Speculative Heresy: (in their own words)

A website devoted to the exploration and discussion of the speculative heresies surrounding non-philosophy, speculative realism and transcendental materialism. Along with original commentary on the issues of speculative realism, we also aim to provide a central place from which to keep track of the evolving English speculative realist community. This includes conferences, articles, books, programs, and CFPs, along with any other notable events. If you have a relevant event which you would like to be featured on this blog, or want to reach us for any other reason, feel free to email us at: speculativeheresy [at] gmail.com.

As I’m neither much of a transcdental materialist or a speculative realist, I’ve been reading the posts on Laruelle with some interest because I have this suspicion that his Non-Philosophy verges either on nonsense or brilliance, but my reaction is always the same: “like, ok dude, take another bong hit.”  Speaking of bong hits, Carl over at Dead Voles has an interesting post called “What’s Left of Philosophy?”  and Kelty’s linked post on Savage Minds is worth checking out as well, if only for the ongoing cabaret of disciplinary boundaries the comments following the post continually reinact.  Continue reading

Cultural Intertia, Spirals of Rage


A good friend of mine has been a working artist for many years and is now in the process of applying to MFA programs. Of course, such applications involve a portfolio of one’s work and the usual personal statements. Today, he sent me this question posed by the U of Berkeley (most egregious aspects are in bold):

In an essay, discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how you might contribute to social or cultural diversity within your chosen field; and/or how you might serve educationally underrepresented segments of society with your degree.

You may place a maximum of 8000 characters in the text box below.

Good grief! For some reason this question has sent me into a spiral of rage! Continue reading

Concept of the Model, Silly Blurbs


Continuing with my Badiou kick, I noticed that Badiou’s The Concept of the Model was just recently published in English. Here is the book description from Amazon:

The Concept of Model is the first of Alain Badiou’s early books to be translated fully into English. With this publication English readers finally have access to a crucial work by one of the world’s greatest living philosophers. Written on the eve of the events of May 1968, The Concept of Model provides a solid mathematical basis for a rationalist materialism. Badiou’s concept of model distinguishes itself from both logical positivism and empiricism by introducing a new form of break into the hitherto implicated realms of science and ideology, and establishing a new way to understand their disjunctive relation. Readers coming to Badiou for the first time will be struck by the clarity and force of his presentation, and the key place that The Concept of Model enjoys in the overall development of Badiou’s thought will enable readers already familiar with his work to discern the lineaments of his later radical developments. This translation is accompanied by a stunning new interview with Badiou in which he elaborates on the connections between his early and most recent thought. “This book is indispensable for those seeking to understand Alain Badiou’s philosophical project, and for anyone interested in investigating real points of contact between the analytic and continental traditions.” – Ray Brassier, Middlesex University

Does that phrase in bold not seem like it was simply stuck in there at random? What, I naively ask, does May 1968 have to do with this particular text? Nothing on the face of it. I look forward to the next generation of French thinkers, to whom May ’68 is not such a “watershed” moment. It’s getting a bit monotonous.