The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
(PM Press, 2011)

Cory Doctorow interviewed by Terry Bisson

On staying on top of information flows…

With a little help from my friends. As a culture, we have gone from a deterministic method of consumption of media to a probabilistic one.


Now what happens is that I can’t even read all my RSS feeds or e-mails or tweets, much less the novels or events they are about. But the good stuff bubbles up anyway because of reflagging, retweeting, whatever you want to call it. That’s what I mean by probabilistic.


It is the only way we can have an adequate navigational apparatus for negotiating the sheer volume of material available to us. Without it, there would be no movement from inside your first orbit of social and cultural contacts, no line to the million who know a million others from a million different walks of life, the cross-pollinators who gets [sic] a little bit of information from here and send it there, and connect us all. Without them, the conversation would die. These are the people who are essentially making sure that whatever is locally good for you bubbles up to the top of your pile. They are as important to the future fecundity of media as bees are to the future fecundity of plants.

The stochastic pre-cursors of Johnny Appleseed.

Many books and films have been based on the life of Johnny Appleseed. One notable account is from the first chapter of The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan. Pollan states that since Johnny Appleseed was against grafting, his apples were not of an edible variety and could be used only for cider: “Really, what Johnny Appleseed was doing and the reason he was welcome in every cabin in Ohio and Indiana was he was bringing the gift of alcohol to the frontier. He was our American Dionysus.”

Let us raise a glass of applejack and re-broadcast. Sharing the abundance under conditions of attention scarcity.

And so for day 2709

This entry was posted in Booklore, Reading. Bookmark the permalink.