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The Digital Past – The Web 2.0 and Orwells Claim to Power

Societies are anxious to preserve the linear streaming of time since it grants   
controllability by making (historic) events predictable – maybe even governable in theOrwellian dystopic sense: “then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’” (Orwell „1984“/ Zack de la Rocha „testify„). Thus, unidimensional trajectories promote and even “justify” authority. The changes for a whole field of studies and education are imminent as pointed out by @eisenmed. But the issue reaches a lot deeper and will liead to a perception of history writing, i.e. making altogether. An issue also recently adressed by the spackeria.

The narrative structure of the Web 2.0 challenges monochratic strategies of
timekeeping by introducing a polychrone conception of time.  E.T. Hall locates polychrone
societies on the African continent and in parts of Asia as well as in southern parts of Europe,
thus polychroneity is strongly linked to non-whiteness. A key feature of polychrone persons is
a high distractibility. Therefore polychrone speech acts are very often subject to interruptions
and digression. According to Hall they consider time commitments an objective that is to be achieved – if possible.
The Web 2.0 tells its stories in a polychronic way, since it transgresses time and space and through its many diverse communication approaches blurrs linearity leaving information chaos. Those who use the web 2.0 do refuse to submitting to „supremacist“ ways of timekeeping within society. The Web 2.0 as a story telling device that chooses interdependencies as common style is characterized by digression and spontaneity. The idea of the web 2.0 ways of storytelling is very well illustrated by the motif of invisibility occuring in Ralph Ellisons „Invisible Man“

„It was a strange evening. Invisibility, let me explain, gives one a slightly different
sense of time, you’re never quite on the beat. Sometimes you’re ahead and sometimes
behind. Instead of the swift and imperceptible flowing of time, you are aware of its
nodes, those points where time stands still or from which it leaps ahead. And you slip
into the breaks and look around. (IM)

It is at this point that the static (web 1.0) gatekeepers loose track of information formation – From their point of view temporal construction should not be a variable but a constant. In this respect monochrone reading expectations and polychrone time signature collide and bear witness to the temporal autonomy of the Web 2.0, which is free to stretch and lapse time according to its users wishes. “Time was as I was,
but neither that time nor that „I“ are any more.” (IM 37). The users temporal autonomy
is strongly mirrored in his information gathering behaviour – The Web 2.0 deliberatly switches into „stream-of-consciousness“ mode, which spits out thoughts and information at a random level, regardless what the users wish for linearity.

Embedded inbetween anachronic information-streams,  time seems to pass linearly. Events are
narrated in a chronological order, but since the immediate temporal experience of information suggests a non-linear perception of time, the users retrospective view on
past events is harshly contradicted and subject to serious doubts. The users own distance
to the alleged monochrome puts him on alert and the gap between information and recipient
widens. The progressive junction from polychrone to monochrone mirrors the users wish
to observe also the rules of  readership. The reader finds himself in between two
worlds – a polychrone and a monochrone world. Being introduced to the in-between, the reader is offered an exemplary glimpse into the webs confusing reality, its cultural
meaning and inclusiveness and his own unfinished web-strategy.

Since monochrone audiences / readers /users are used to time being a
administrative feature that organizes narratives linearly, they will be intimidated by the
webs “tentative” perception of time. The web 2.0 use of time becomes a golden “threat”,
because the vagueness of nature-time challenges the predictability of events. The exact dating
of past (history), present and future according to perceived seasonal changes (synchronized to
the apparent motion seasons) becomes impossible. The webs bias to structure
its story in accordance to „real“-time undermines the chronometrical ground work of the gatekeeping
hegemony. Past, present and future are no longer subject to monochrone strategies of locating,
defining and interpreting. The monochronic people have to subordinate to the polychronic
perception of time that the skilled user of the web 2.0 starts implementing.

3 thoughts on “The Digital Past – The Web 2.0 and Orwells Claim to Power

  1. You’re so awesome! I don’t suppose I’ve read anything like that
    before. So nice to find somebody with some genuine thoughts on this issue.
    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that’s needed
    on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

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