Absences and Presences in the Era of Radical Transparency – the MyGR6 Censorship List Deconstructed
Courtesy of Grand Rapids social media maven Laura Bergells (@maniactive), there’s now a screen capture of the full list of words/phrases banned by the MyGR6 contest entry form. Or, at least, this was the list banned when the contest originally debuted earlier this week. Mark L. Curtis (@Mark_L_Curtis) observes that the site appears to have switched to a paid service for content filtering.
Some of the words banned are to be expected; profanities, racial slurs (although the list there was disappointingly incomplete; virtually no terms for Hispanics were included which is a bit of an oversight given the racial tensions in West Michigan over the burgeoning Hispanic population). Some seemed intended to block spam from marketers. Some were bizarre (geek? nerd? prosumer? phone?). The rest were primarily focused on criticisms of Amway (such as):
- wire fraud
- house of cards
- quixstar sucks
In the radically transparent now, what one seeks to obscure about oneself is often times of more interest than anything one reveals. Just as Wikipedia Scanner shone a light on the dirt organizations ranging from the CIA to Diebold were trying to hide, and the McCain campaign attacked the Obama campaign in 2008 with website edits caught by Versionista, an absence can be as illuminating as a presence. If anyone wasn’t aware before, the dirty laundry list for Amway is now codified in the script.
Laura joked that she has a T-shirt that reads “Take a Screen Capture; It’ll Last Longer.”
It’s actually a very prescient observation.
Here’s the thing: the ability to discover these absences is only going to increase as our technological capacities improve. Some day soon, someone will release an app for Facebook that allows users to see hidden conflicts based on friends with similar friend networks who aren’t connected to each other. Or, how about an app that looks for conspicuous absences in your Foursquare check-in history (hinting at when you’re trying to keep a low profile)? A tool that monitors tweets for missing attributions (outing plagiarists)? A widget that compares different lists of contacts to see what contacts are missing from what lists (perhaps catching an unfaithful spouse hiding the digits of a lover)?
There are myriad ways to tap into the steady deluge of data flowing through the Internet every second.
Something to think long and hard about.
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"...and you shall have no pie."As my parents tell it, when I was an infant my first word wasn't a word - it was an entire sentence. Very little has changed.
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